You’re done with residency. Now what?

Finally. After all the 80-hour weeks and missed holidays, you've successfully become a doctor. What comes next? Sign a contract for a permanent position? You certainly could, but you should know there's another option. It's called locum tenens, and we’ll help you decide if it’s right for you.

Where would you like to start?

Why do practices value locum tenens?

  • Chance to test drive potential recruits
  • Vacation coverage or other relief for full-time docs
  • Seasonal fluxes in staffing needs
  • Weekend call coverage or shift work

You have options.

Locum tenens means options. You can work locums as a fellow and, in some cases, in the last six months of residency. You can work locums full-time, part time, or on the side. It’s your choice.

Locum tenens

Permanent position

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Your questions, answered:

Can I do locums if I’m on a H-1B or J-1 visa?

The short answer is yes! With the right help and guidance, physicians on visas can work locum tenens by setting up their own corporation. Check out this blog article that explains the process in more detail, written in partnership with experienced immigration attorney Ann Badmus (Badmus & Associates).

Is it easier to work locums right out of residency for certain specialties?

There are many different locums opportunities available to new physicians across all specialties. However, specialties such as Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Hospitalist, Emergency Medicine, and Anesthesia are ones that are very commonly worked locums specialties right out of training.

Will facilities hire new grads?

Yes! While experienced physicians may have more know-how, new grads are trained on the latest technology and treatment. Plus, they are often easier to credential and license. Don’t think you need a ton of experience. Locums can be the route that packs your resume.

View all FAQ


Dr. Jason Lambrese
Dr. Jason Lambrese
Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
I did six years of residency and fellowship, and the idea of taking an international locum tenens assignment as kind of a gap year between my fellowship and a more permanent job was really appealing. I liked working in New Zealand, being in a community clinic, and serving a more marginalized population. I feel like I was doing more good than maybe I would have otherwise and that specialized skills are used more effectively. If you're considering international locum tenens, just go!
Dr. Larry Daugherty
Dr. Larry Daugherty
Radiation Oncology
Locums helped me make ends meet as a resident and pay off some bills. It became extremely valuable because I was able to see the diversity of different practices and find out what I liked and didn't like. When it came time for me to make a job transition, I was armed with a lot more information. I'd seen many different medical records, technologies and ways of running offices. It was a really positive experience for my family when I was a resident. I intentionally planned periods to work locums because to us it was kind of a paid vacation.
Dr. Lynette Bui
Dr. Lynette Bui
Family Medicine
I think the best thing for me about locum tenens is that I just get to be a doctor. It's nice to walk into a clinic where you know they need help, and you know you're able to help. People are genuinely appreciative that you're there, and on day one you're always welcome because they need the help. I just show up and be a good doctor. That's why I went to med school, right? Be flexible and don't be afraid to do something that you've never done before. Challenge yourself to learn new things.
Dr. Stanley Green
Dr. Stanley Green
This is a model I'm seeing more and more. Lots of folks who are straight out of residency are starting out as locums. While my other colleagues are burdened with scheduling issues, staff meetings, and other administrative hassles, I'm able to give all my attention to the patient, I think that makes me a better patient advocate because I know the only thing that really matters to me is the quality of patient care.
Dr. Johnny Shen
Dr. Johnny Shen
Family Medicine
I glamorize it sometimes and tell them, ‘You know what? There's something called locum tenens. You're an independent contractor. You get to pick your dates to work. You get to travel and they pay for most of your travel expenses and lodgings.' It makes me feel like I'm an athlete or some sort of movie actor because I have an agent who finds shifts and gigs for me and I get to travel. That makes me feel like I'm in control of my own career, and then I get to find out who wants to pay me more. Who can provide me the better reward for the work that I do.
Dr. Wendy Ballenger
Dr. Wendy Ballenger
Internal Medicine and Pediatrics
Locum tenens is great after residency because it's a good way for you to go and explore a job before you decide if you want to take it. In the residency I was in, while it taught me a lot of wonderful things, I did not learn how to properly interview a place before I went. I didn't learn how to really look at contracts in a smart way and this allows me to go and actually work at a place for three months. It's a prolonged interview. I can see how they treat their other staff and if I fit in with them. It's a wonderful way to go in and see.

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