Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Locum Tenens & Healthcare Staffing

Everything you've ever wanted to know about locum work

    Locum Tenens 101

  • What is locum tenens?

    • “Locum tenens” is Latin for “holding one’s place.” Whether you are looking to travel the country, ease into retirement, or somewhere in between, locum tenens is an excellent choice to further your career. Read more about locum tenens!

  • What types of providers can be locums?

    • Barton Associates works with NPs, PAs, physicians, dentists, and CRNAs!

  • Who uses locum tenens providers?

    • Companies and other healthcare facilities beyond the walls of hospitals and clinics have healthcare staffing openings. The Barton Associates team works with a variety of clients looking to fill temporary roles throughout the country, including but not limited to hospitals, private practices, and urgent care. Learn more about who Barton Associates works with!

  • What is the main benefit of working with a healthcare staffing agency?

    • Working with an agency makes the process simple. We handle all of the paperwork and other heavy lifting to improve the overall experience for both our providers and clients. All our providers can clients need to do is let us know what they are looking for!

    Provider FAQs

  • Can I become a locum provider?

    • Yes! As long as you are still actively licensed and board certified, you are able to work as a locum tenens provider! Many retired healthcare providers use locum tenens work to supplement their retirement income.

  • I have a permanent job, can I do locums part-time?

    • Yes! The key benefit of being a locum provider is your ability to make your own schedule. We have positions ranging from one weekend to full-time. Be upfront with your recruiter about your availability and they can find a position best suited to what you are available for.

  • Can I practice telemedicine?

    • Of course! Barton Associates account managers are trained to look for openings both in facilities and virtually!

    Working with Barton Associates

  • Do you need to be an experienced locum tenens provider to work with Barton?

    • No, you can be new to the locum life. With that said, it is important to have experience in your field. Although many clients will allow recent graduates, many prefer providers with some experience under their belt. Additionally, we require that our locum tenens providers have practiced medicine within the past 2 years.

  • Do you need to be a U.S. citizen to work with Barton Associates?

    • Yes. All Barton Associates locums are required to be U.S. citizens.

  • What do I get when I work with Barton?

    • When you work with Barton you get a dedicated contact available 24/7 to assist you, travel and lodging accommodations, back end support (licensing, credentialing, etc.), malpractice insurance, competitive rates, and more!

  • What if I have questions while I'm on assignment?

    • Your Barton Associates recruiter is available to answer any questions you might have. You will be provided with the best ways to reach him/her via a direct number and email address.

  • What do I do if I decide I don’t want to finish my assignment?

    • If you are unhappy with your assignment, reach out to your recruiter and ask about your out clause.

  • Where are Barton jobs located?

    • Barton has 10 offices across all time zones. This allows us to offer positions in all 50 states and the U.S. territories! All you need to do is tell us where you want to work and we will help find you a great opportunity in that location (or nearby)!

  • What is Barton’s process?

  • How does licensing and credentialing work?

    • Barton Associates has a dedicated licensing and credentialing team to assist you through the process!

  • Will I receive health benefits while on assignment?

    • As independent contractors, locum tenens providers are typically not eligible for medical benefits. However, your health insurance premiums, along with other expenses, may be tax deductible.

      Contact your tax advisor for more information regarding working as an independent contractor. Click the link to see Barton Associates’ tax guide.

  • How are locum tenens providers compensated?

    • Locum tenens jobs through Barton Associates offer highly competitive pay (often more than a typical permanent job) based on location and medical specialty. Locum tenens providers are paid as independent contractors on a net-15 basis at an agreed-upon rate.

      Because locums are independent contractors, Barton does not withhold taxes from paychecks. Working as an independent contractor may offer tax advantages, such as the ability to deduct certain expenses and healthcare insurance premiums.

      Download our updated “Tax Guide for Locum Tenens Providers” to get started, but note you should contact your tax advisor for more information.

  • What specialties does Barton work with?

    • Barton Associates supports a wide variety of specialties such as cardiology, dentistry, general surgery, oncology, primary care, psychiatry, OB/GYN, and radiology.  Explore the provider menu to view all of Barton Associates’ specialties!

    Locum Tenens Assignments

  • How long is the typical locum tenens assignment?

    • Locum tenens jobs can range from just a few shifts to up to a year or more, depending on the availability of the provider and the needs of the hiring facility.

  • How do taxes work as a locum tenens provider?

    • Excellent question! Please see our  tax webinar for further information!

  • How does travel and housing work?

    • Our dedicated travel team handles all flight, lodging, and rental car arrangements for you. In some cases, bringing a significant other or pet can be arranged. Be sure to inform your recruiter if you have any additional requests as soon as possible so we can do our best to accommodate you.

  • Are locums offered malpractice insurance?

    • Barton Associates provides comprehensive, “A”-rated medical malpractice insurance for locums on assignment.

  • How does licensing work if the job is in another state?

    • Barton’s dedicated licensing team will assist you in obtaining the appropriate licensure for your assignment.

  • Are my travel preferences taken into account?

    • Always! Our travel team does their best to accommodate any travel preferences you might have with appropriate notice. A common example of this would be if you wanted to use a particular airline to earn travel points.

  • Can I work close to home?

    • The decision of where to work is yours! When you are discussing your location preferences with your recruiter, be sure to mention you want to work as close to home as possible so we can accommodate you. But remember, the openings that are best-suited for your other preferences might not be close to home.

  • What's the best part of locum tenens assignments?

    • You are your own boss. If you don’t like how an assignment is going, the recruiter handles it for you without any awkward conversations with employers on your part. If the recruiter cannot handle the situation to your satisfaction, then you can simply move onto your next assignment after you’ve finished. In the rare instance that it’s really not a good fit, you can put in your 30 days notice.

    Locum Tenens Physician FAQs

  • Do I need to have attended medical school in the U.S. to be a locum tenens provider?

    • As long as you are board certified in the United States it does not matter if you went to medical school outside the country.

  • Do I have to be board certified?

    • This is determined on a case by case basis and can vary based on specialty, but the majority of our clients will require you to be board certified.

  • Can I work as a locum physician if I'm a resident or fellow?

    • Yes, you can. Working as a locum tenens physician lets you earn great compensation, pay down loans, gain valuable experience, and enhance your CV. Read our blog post about working locum tenens after residency.

    NP, PA, and CRNA Faqs

  • Can PAs, NPs, and CRNAs work locums right out of school?

    • Yes! Locum tenens is a great way to build your resume, gain experience, and earn competitive compensation right out of school!

    Locum Tenens Provider Tax FAQS

  • How do taxes work if I’m permanently employed but work locum tenens part time? E.g. I worked at a permanent position for Q1 & Q2, but worked locum tenens for Q4. Would I submit 15.3% of just the Q4 earnings?

    • The 15.3% tax rate is just for the self-employment taxes – the Social Security and Medicare taxes owed on that income. You still need to pay your federal taxes owed on that income too. You can pay your estimated taxes based on the amount you earn each quarter. Q1 is for income earned through 3/31, Q2 is through 5/31, Q3 is through 9/30 and Q4 is for the rest of the year. If you do pay your quarterly estimates based on when the income is earned, make sure to attach a Form 2210 to “annualize your income” and show the income earned per quarter.

  • How would you handle adjusting withholdings on W4s for a married couple of physicians who have similar income where one is an independent contractor, and the other is a W2 employee with 2 jobs?

    • For the one with 2 jobs, claim Married on the job that pays more and Single with no allowances on the other one. Depending on how much the person earns who is self-employed, you probably should be paying quarterly estimates too. We recommend paying estimates on using the Make a Payment link (Payments | Internal Revenue Service (

  • How does section 179 apply to independent contractors?

    • Section 179 means you write off the full cost of an asset in one year versus writing off the cost over 5 or 7 years.

  • When do I need to start filing quarterly estimated taxes as a locum tenens provider?

    • You need to pay estimates if you won’t meet any of the exceptions to avoid an underpayment penalty. The best way to avoid being penalized is to pay 90% of the current year’s tax or 100% (110% if income over $150k) of your prior year’s taxes. Estimated taxes generally need to be made evenly over the year unless the income isn’t earned evenly over the year; in that case, you would complete and attach a Form 2210 to your personal tax return to annualize your income and show the IRS how much income you earned each quarter.

    Locum Tenens Client & Facilities FAQs

  • What are the benefits of working with Barton Associates?

    • An agency handles all the heavy lifting for your facility. With Barton, you get a single point of contact, assistance with licensing and credentialing, travel accommodations made for your incoming provider, and a crew of 300+ recruiters and account managers searching for providers to fill your needs. All you need to worry about is welcoming your new locum!

  • Is it cheaper to hire locums over full-time providers?

    • The main advantage to staffing your facility with locum tenens providers is that you will be able to keep your revenue stream flowing. The process of hiring a full-time, traditional healthcare provider will take time, possibly the cost of recruiters, and potential loss of revenue if there is no one else to take on the role/responsibility of the provider who left. The costs unfortunately are not apples-to-apples, so choosing which is cheaper will depend on the facility, the type of provider needed, and the length of coverage needed.

  • What types of facilities does Barton work with?

    • Companies and other healthcare facilities beyond the walls of hospitals and clinics have healthcare staffing openings. The Barton Companies team works with a variety of these settings throughout the country, including but not limited to hospitals, private practices, and urgent care. Click the link to see who Barton Associates works with!

  • Why work with Barton?

    • Dedicating one account manager to each of our client accounts means we’re building the strongest possible relationship to ensure your talent needs are met. That commitment to building personal partnerships is the anchor of our “1:1 Approach” strategy, which has helped make us a leader in the locum tenens space for 20 years.

      From securing the perfect candidate, to credentialing and travel-related issues, our extensive operations team handles the entire locum tenens staffing process for you, ensuring a smooth and stress-free experience.

  • Is there a minimum or maximum length of coverage I can request?

    • No! We are here to help solve your staffing needs. We will work diligently to find you a provider capable of working whatever length assignment you need. We can also use multiple providers to fill long-term needs if we are unable to find one to complete the entire assignment.

  • Can Barton staff our telemedicine positions?

    • In addition to traditional locum tenens positions, Barton Associates provides staffing solutions for telehealth needs.