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Top 5 states for locum tenens physicians

Top 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. Temporary contracts allow locum tenens docs to travel the nation and experience different geography, landscapes, patient populations, and cultures on a regular basis.

Each year, articles are published on the most physician-friendly states. These pieces tend to rank states based on salary, job opportunity, and cost of living. However, those metrics may not encompass all things considered in the locum tenens lifestyle, which allows doctors to focus on earning top-dollar for a few months, and then shift their priority to, say, being near the mountains during ski season or near the beach while the surf’s up.

Here we offer five lists ranking the top states for locum tenens, based on five top priorities cited by locum tenens physicians: salary, physician density, locum tenens opportunities, best state to live in, and affordability.

Working locum tenens in Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana

Top-Earning States for Physicians

According to the Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2018, the 5 states where physicians earn the most are primarily in the Midwest, with a scattering in the Northeast and out west:

State Annual salary
Indiana $334,000
Oklahoma $330,000
Connecticut $329,000
Wisconsin $327,000
Nevada $323,000
locum tenens in Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Most Locum Tenens Opportunities

Well-established staffing agencies, like Weatherby, typically have contracts available in all 50 states on any given day. Although the exact number is always changing, these five states tend to have abundant offerings at all times. Check the job listings often.

locum tenens in Vermont
Peacham, Vermont

Highest Quality of Life

If you’re seeking locum tenens opportunities with an eye toward finding somewhere new to settle down — perhaps to start a family or settle into retirement — you may want to consider the top picks from CNBC’s Best Places to Live in America, which factors in housing costs, school rankings, cost of living, healthcare, job opportunities, and a clean environment, as well as crime rates, tourist visits, and inclusiveness.

State Quality of life score out of 300 Points
Vermont A+ (268)
Hawaii A+ (264)
Minnesota A+ (252)
North Dakota A- (223)
New Hampshire B+ (225) tie with Washington
Washington B+ (225) tie with New Hampshire
locum tenens in Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio

Most Affordable States

Since money is always a factor, our last top 5 list focuses on affordability. U.S. News & World Report looked at cost of living (prices of different goods and services) and housing affordability (how expensive home prices are in relation to the median family income) to determine which states are most affordable.

State Overall Rank Cost of Living Rank Housing Affordability Rank
Ohio 1 11 1
Indiana 2 7 3
Iowa 3 12 2
Michigan 4 8 5
Nebraska 5 13 4

With all the above factors in mind, locum tenens physicians are free to explore their options, 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 because of the physician shortage, which means you can be more selective in where you want to live and practice.

If you’re looking to relocate or practice in a new state, try it out there first with a locum tenens assignment through Weatherby Healthcare. Give us a call at 954.343.3050 or view today’s job openings.

About the author

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Lisa Daggett

Lisa Daggett is well-versed on the topic of locum tenens staffing and was a regular contributor to LocumLife, Healthcare Traveler, and Travel Nurse magazines. She served as associate editor of RN Magazine and as an editorial assistant for Business & Health.

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