Top 8 Highest Paying States for Locum Tenens Physicians
One of the many benefits of working as a locum tenens provider is that you’re not limited to just one city, one state, or even one part of the country.
These temporary contracts allow locum tenens physicians to travel the nation, while experiencing different geography, landscapes, patient populations, and cultures on a regular basis.
Every year, articles are published on the most physician-friendly states, ranked by salary, job opportunity, and cost of living. However, those metrics do not likely encompass all things considered for those pursuing the locum tenens lifestyle, which allows doctors to focus on earning top-dollar for a few months, and then shifting their priorities to say, being near the beach during the summer, or in the mountains during ski season.
If you’re looking to maximize your earning potential as a Locum Tenens Physician, Medical License Pro has identified the top eight highest paying states for physicians, with a few additional reasons you may want to entertain taking a position in each state.
While the pay rates for individual assignments and specialties may vary, here are the highest paying states for locum tenens physicians:
1. Lousiana Locum Tenens Positions
The Pelican State is known for many things, albeit not all of them are positive. It does, however, offer so much more than people think, particularly considering its rich and distinct culture. From Mardi Gras to its ethnically diverse history to being one of two cities ranked in the U.S. News list of “Best Places to Live,” the state has its fair share of surprises (and alligators) for locum tenens physicians.
With such diversity in population, language, and culture, some locum tenens physicians in Louisiana might feel like they are living in a whole different country. But one thing holds true – whether it’s the heavy Cajun influence of the southern bayous or the African influence found in the central and northern regions – the music never sleeps. Celebrations of life and continuous festivities transport its people to a simpler time and place.
The state’s low cost of living is due to the high local production of agriculture and food as well as petroleum. This makes the Pelican State an attractive area for both families and businesses that are looking to keep expenses low. If you are considering becoming a locum tenens physicians in Louisiana, here’s what makes the pay rate so great in the pelican state:
2. Tennessee Locum Tenens Positions
If music is your thing, then consider taking a locum tenens assignment to Memphis. You can have the privilege of walking in the footsteps of some of music’s royalty – including Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. The locals will help you experience some true southern hospitality while introducing you to their famous Memphis-style barbeque, and one of the largest urban parks in the country. The upscale suburb of Germantown also offers plenty of options for outdoor enthusiasts, plus locally-owned restaurants and boutiques.
So what are some other reasons you should consider a locum tenens position in Tennessee?
Similar to Louisiana, there is a shortage of medical residency programs in Tennessee: approximately 200 graduates left the state to finish their training. Research shows that residents tend to stay in the state where they complete training. No surprise then that 18% of people in 111 areas in Tennessee do not have access to enough doctors. Locums physicians in Tennessee can earn 109% of the national median — with excellent barbecue and music as a bonus.
3. North Dakota Locum Tenens Positions
Why work a locum tenens position in North Dakota? This ruggedly charming northern state is teeming with opportunities for physicians, and was once ranked the “Happiest State in America” by Gallup for quality of “life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities” (via Business Insider).
So what drives the demand for locum tenens physicians in North Dakota? Unlike some rural states across the United States, North Dakota’s population has grown due to oil-driven economic booms, resulting in workforce shortages state-wide.
The need for health care workers is a concern in 75% of 36 North Dakotan communities, according to a survey identifying health needs assessments. The healthcare shortage includes doctors, specialists, and nurses, with needs concerning mental health, substance abuse, obesity, and financial viability of hospitals. Locum tenens physicians looking to explore the Great Plains could earn upwards of 108% of the national median.
Remote patient monitoring makes it easier for patients and physicians to maintain close communication, while recording and transmitting a patient’s medical data automatically, generating a regular report for the physician. In some cases, this medical data is transmitted to a team of health monitoring professionals who are responsible for flagging any warning signs and sending them on to the physician.
4. South Dakota Locum Tenens Positions
South Dakota is a wild state, known for the Black Hills, abundant wildlife, low population, and unspoiled natural beauty. It probably won’t come as a surprise to most that it treasures its vibrant culture, rooted in Native American and frontier history. But with it’s business-friendly economy and growing career opportunities, South Dakota offers more than just a great view of Mount Rushmore.
More and more people are choosing to relocate to South Dakota to take advantage of a lifestyle that balances professional success with personal fulfillment. In fact, there are a lot of reasons why relocating to the Rushmore state is a smart move for locum tenens physicians, starting with the increase in pay rate.
As a result of the growing physician shortage, South Dakota is also struggling. This is compounded by a set of familiar factors: an aging population with increasing longevity and a lack of residency opportunities for new doctors. Like many rural towns in America, the rural areas in South Dakota are expected to be the most affected by these shortages.
Simply put, there aren’t enough post-graduate training positions in South Dakota, particularly in primary care, general surgery, and obstetrics. If you are a physician practicing in one of these high-demand fields (or if Mount Rushmore is on your bucket list), becoming a locum tenens physician in South Dakota could be up your alley, and reward you with a pay scale that’s 114% of the national median.
5. Nebraska Locum Tenens Positions
At first look, Nebraska may seem like just another Midwest state to flyover, with its expansive miles and miles of corn. While it might not be called the Cornhusker State for nothing, it also offers more than you might think to those considering a locum tenens position in Nebraska.
For starters, it has a thriving metropolitan center that’s been named one of the best places to live in the U.S. News. Omaha may have more cattle than humans (this is true), but it also has a rich history built from generations of agriculture and good ol’ fashioned hard work.
As an added bonus for physicians in Nebraska, no matter where you choose to practice in the state, you can always find affordable housing and locum tenens positions.
In Nebraska’s urban centers, hospital campuses are growing and urgent care facilities are abundant. However, in the state’s expanse of rural communities, finding a physician can be much more challenging. Of the 93 counties in Nebraska, 13 of them are completely without a primary care physician. Overall, there is a general shortage of physicians practicing pediatrics, obstetrics, and gynecology as well.
These shortages in Nebraska and other rural areas are likely attributed to the fact that more often than not, there is only one practicing doctor per county. Imagine the pressure that brings for physicians being on call 365 days per year. This is one example of why the flexibility of locum tenens is an attractive alternative. Plus, locum tenens physicians in Nebraska get paid 115% of the national median.
6. Utah Locum Tenens Positions
Moving to Utah could be the best decision you’ve ever made as a locum tenens physician. A recent study ranked Utah as the second happiest state in America, bested only by Hawaii. In other words, Utah is the happiest state in the continental US! Utah is known for its high quality lifestyle, low crime, and beautiful landscapes.
Utah is also more affordable than its neighboring state Colorado, but offers a similar climate and access to stunning mountains and scenery. Utah is attracting many new residents who are drawn to its landscape, economy and quality of life. If you want to join the wave of locum tenens physicians in Utah, here’s what makes the pay rate so great in their state:
Utah has been ranked one of the fastest growing states in the nation, while simultaneously ranking 4th from the bottom in the number of primary care physicians per capita. In Utah, there is an average of 2.1 doctors per 1,000 people — much lower than the 2.8 physicians per 1,000 people nationally. This shortage is attributed to Utah’s high birth rates, longer life spans, and the retirement of Baby Boomer doctors. Basically, there’s a lot of work to be done in Utah and locum physicians are rewarded with an earning potential of 118% of the national median.
7. Delaware Locum Tenens Positions
Delaware’s scenic beauty, low taxes and affordable housing make this tiny state a wonderful place to live, work and play. Whether your interests lie in hiking, sailing, bicycling, or exploring miles of picturesque shoreline, Fresh-air pursuits in Delaware abound . Also, for those who love to spend their dollars shopping, the area is unparalleled, thanks to some of the region’s biggest outlet centers. For those who love to pursue cultural interests in their off-time, performance arts and cultural attractions are readily available to feed the mind and spirit.
So what is it that drives up the pay rate dollar for Locum Tenens physicians in Delaware?
In Delaware, both the population and the doctors are aging at an alarming rate. Nearly 40% of physicians in Delaware are over 55; with a third of them potentially retiring in the next 10 years, according to a report conducted by Delaware Health Care Commission.
At the same time, the population in Delaware is expected to rise 30% by 2030, while the number of residents over 60 will skyrocket 43%. Baby Boomers are flocking to Delaware to enjoy low taxes, seasonal amenities, and the convenient proximity to major cities. Locums physicians in Delaware can enjoy all the same benefits, while getting paid 116% of the median!
8. Missouri Locum Tenens Positions
As the largest city in Missouri, Kansas City offers plenty of opportunity for locum tenens physicians and plenty of fun to be had on your days off. KCMO, which it is often abbreviated as, is known for its sports, music, and arts scene—and of course that world-famous barbeque!
Home of alot of famous folks (including Chuck Berry, Sheryl Crowe, Dick Van Dyke, and Jon Hamm), delicious food (St. Louis-style pizza and Kansas City barbecue), and natural wonders (like the Lake of the Ozarks, with more shoreline than the coastline of California), Missouri has a lot to offer those considering a locum tenens position.
The Midwestern state is also centrally located, making it a breeze to travel to a host of other destinations. If you are considering becoming a locum tenens physicians in Missouri, here’s why the pay rate is so great in the “Show-Me” state:
Rural areas make up a large portion of Missouri, creating more than a few challenges when it comes to health care. For every 1,776 people in rural Missouri, there is only one primary care physician, compared to one doctor for every 962 residents in urban areas. Missouri’s shortage of residency programs only compounds the issue: only 21% of medical residents remain in Missouri to practice medicine. On average, Missouri is the highest paying state in the country for locum tenens physicians — 119% compared to the national median!
Interested in a Locum Tenens Postion? What Happens Next?
With all the above pay rate and lifestyle factors in mind, locum tenens physicians are free to explore their options in many states, using temporary contracts as a way to test-drive new locations and see where they fit best. For better or worse, physicians are in demand right now due to an increase in physician shortages, which means you can be more selective in where you want to live, play, and practice.
Traveling to different cities and states will also mean that you have to do your due diligence with your credentials and licensing. Each state has a different approach with locum tenens physicians, with some that accept locum tenens credentialing, while others may not.
To make this process easier, reach out to a professional licensure company like Medical License Pro! We will be able to assist you with your new license application or your license renewal for the various states you might find yourself working in a locum tenens position.