Physician Guide to Locum Tenens Jobs in Alaska

Imagine for a moment that you are stuck in traffic on your way to work, bored of the same monotonous routine, and looking to experience new scenery and culture. Then, your phone vibrates. It’s your Barton recruiter with the answer. They share a new listing with great pay, your dream schedule, and it will start at a time that fits your current life. The only problem is that it is in Alaska which you know very little about. That’s where Barton comes in!

A sign welcoming people to Alaska

What You Need to Know About Alaska as a Locum Tenens Physician?

Our recruiters and staffing specialists do not expect you, the provider, to know ins-and-outs of every state in the country. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve compiled information from TripAdvisor, state government pages, and tourist information sources to give you a glimpse into life in Alaska. 

Click here for open physician jobs in Alaska!

Alaska: A Brief History

Alaska, also known as “The Great Land,” has a rich history that dates back to the Russian settlement in 1784. In 1867, the United States purchased the territory from Russia for $7.2 million, a deal that was initially mocked but later celebrated after the discovery of gold in 1898. Alaska officially became a U.S. territory on October 18, 1867, and later gained statehood in 1959. The state has been home to significant events such as the Klondike Gold Rush and the only World War II battle fought on American soil.

Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area, spanning over 663,000 square miles, making it larger than the next three biggest states combined. During the summer solstice, some parts of Alaska experience nearly 24 hours of daylight, a phenomenon known as the “midnight sun.” Alaska is the perfect place for any adventure seeker to embark on their journey!

What is there to do and see in Alaska?

  • Hike the majestic Denali, the highest peak in North America, and explore the 17 of North America’s tallest mountains in the state.
  • Explore the outdoors! Alaska is home to some of the most beautiful views in the country,and filled with outdoor adventures such as dog mushing, kayaking, river rafting, and wildlife viewing. 
  • Immerse yourself in Alaska’s rich Native culture, witness the Alaska Native traditions, and visit historical sites to appreciate the state’s diverse heritage.
  • Witness the awe-inspiring spectacle of the Aurora Borealis, a natural light display that paints the Alaskan night sky with vibrant colors.
  • Embark on a thrilling glacier trek and experience the power and beauty of Alaska’s glaciers up close.

How close is Alaska to other cities and states?

  • Alaska is located approximately 50 miles from Russia and has coastlines on the Arctic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and Bering Sea.
  • The state is the northernmost, easternmost, and westernmost point in the U.S., and its largest city, Anchorage, is home to the world’s largest and busiest seaplane base, Lake Hood.
  • Notably, despite its vast size, Alaska has the lowest population density in the U.S., providing plenty of area to explore without large crowds.

Given its unique history, diverse cultural experiences, and breathtaking natural landscapes, working in Alaska offers an unparalleled opportunity for exploration, adventure, and personal growth.

Physician Scope of Practice In Alaska


What is the Scope of Practice for Physicians in Alaska?

Physicians in Alaska enjoy full practice authority, granting them the autonomy to assess, diagnose, treat, and manage the health conditions of their patients without the need for supervision or collaboration with other healthcare professionals. This privilege allows physicians to make independent decisions regarding patient care, including prescribing medications, performing procedures, and ordering diagnostic tests. With full practice authority, physicians in Alaska can provide comprehensive healthcare services to their patients, empowering them to respond promptly and effectively to their medical needs. This autonomy enhances the quality of healthcare delivery in Alaska by enabling physicians to practice to the full extent of their training and expertise, ultimately leading to improved patient outcomes.

Can Physicians Sign Death Certificates in Alaska?

Yes, physicians are authorized to sign death certificates in Alaska. This authority is granted by the state’s Vital Statistics Act, which requires that a death certificate be signed by a physician or other qualified medical professional who has personal knowledge of the death. The physician must be licensed to practice medicine in Alaska and must have examined the body of the deceased person. The death certificate must be filed with the state’s Bureau of Vital Statistics within 10 days of the death.

Does Alaska Recognize Physicians as Primary Care Providers? 

Alaska’s statutes and administrative codes recognize the crucial role of physicians as primary care providers. These measures acknowledge that physicians have the necessary education, training, and expertise to provide comprehensive primary care services. This recognition empowers physicians to coordinate and manage patients’ healthcare needs, conduct regular check-ups, provide health screenings, and recommend treatments or referrals. Emphasizing continuity of care, this approach leads to better health outcomes over time. Additionally, the state recognizes the role of physicians in promoting public health through education, preventative measures, and vaccinations, contributing to the overall health and well-being of the population. These measures enhance the quality of healthcare services for residents, promote public health, and support a coordinated and patient-centered healthcare system throughout Alaska.

Can Physicians Prescribe Schedule II Drugs in Alaska?

In Alaska, licensed physicians have the legal authority to prescribe schedule II  drugs to patients under their care. The prescription process typically involves a consultation, assessment of the patient’s medical condition, and the issuance of a written order. Physicians must exercise professional judgment, consider potential risks and benefits, and ensure the safety and effectiveness of the prescribed medication. The prescription of medication in Alaska is regulated by state laws and federal regulations, and physicians must adhere to established guidelines for prescribing controlled substances. Overall, the ability of physicians to prescribe medication is essential for providing necessary medical care, and it is a privilege that comes with significant responsibility.

Do Physicians Qualify for Medical Staff Membership in Alaska?

Yes, physicians qualify for medical staff membership in Alaska. By becoming a member of the medical staff, healthcare providers in Alaska will gain access to various professional development opportunities, networking events, and resources that can enhance their practice. This membership also signifies the state’s commitment to providing high-quality healthcare services to its residents.

Can Physicians Order Physical Therapy in Alaska?

In Alaska, physicians can order physical therapy for their patients without a referral from another healthcare provider. This practice has several benefits, including improved access to care, better coordination of care, and more appropriate treatment decisions. Physicians must complete continuing education on physical therapy and document their reasons for ordering it in the patient’s medical record to address potential risks. Overall, the benefits of allowing physicians to order physical therapy directly outweigh the potential risks, as it leads to more efficient and effective care for patients.

Can Physicians Sign Handicap Parking Permit Forms in Alaska?

In Alaska, physicians are authorized to certify disability for parking placards. The process involves a medical evaluation, review of medical records, and physical examination to determine eligibility. Individuals with permanent or temporary disabilities that limit their mobility are eligible. The physician’s certification provides necessary medical evidence for the application. Criteria may vary across states with specific information required in Alaska, such as diagnosis, nature, and impact on ambulation. Physicians play a vital role in ensuring accessible parking for individuals with disabilities, improving their quality of life.

Can Physicians Sign POLST/POST/MOLST/MOST/COLST Forms in Alaska? 

In Alaska, physicians can sign POLST forms, medical orders that guide healthcare providers in making life-sustaining treatment decisions for seriously ill or life-limiting patients. These forms ensure that patient wishes are honored, even if they cannot communicate them. Physicians consider patients’ medical diagnosis, prognosis, values, preferences, and goals of care when signing POLST forms, which become legally binding and must be followed by healthcare providers. POLST forms provide clear instructions on desired or undesired treatments, such as CPR, mechanical ventilation, tube feeding, and preferred place of care. By signing POLST forms, physicians help patients exercise their right to self-determination and ensure their end-of-life care aligns with their wishes, promoting patient autonomy, dignity, and respect.

Can Physicians Sign Do Not Resuscitate Orders in Alaska?

In Alaska, physicians can legally sign Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders for patients, honoring their end-of-life care wishes. These orders are medically justified and aim to respect patient autonomy. Physicians assess medical factors and consult with patients or their representatives before issuing DNR orders. The process involves clear communication, documentation, and adherence to legal and ethical guidelines, ensuring patient wishes are understood and respected by healthcare providers.

What are the Continuing Education Requirements for Physicians in Alaska?

In Alaska, physicians must complete 25 CE hours annually to maintain their professional knowledge and skills. Physicians can fulfill this requirement by participating in various educational activities approved by these organizations, which cover a wide range of topics. Continuous learning benefits patients by ensuring they receive evidence-based care and contributes to the overall quality and safety of healthcare in Alaska.

Find Your Next Physician Job with Barton

Barton coordinates your job search from start to finish!



We’ll schedule a phone consultation with a Barton Associates team member to discuss your interests, goals, and work history in order to get a sense of what you’re looking for in your next job.

Your Barton team will then go to work, compiling a list of open jobs in our extensive network that match your interests and skill set.



Once you’ve had a chance to evaluate your list of opportunities, your Barton rep will submit your information to facility you want to take an assignment at.

If there’s a match, we’ll work with the client manager on next steps.



Don’t worry! Barton Associates will handle licensing, credentialing, and travel arrangements before you arrive.

Your Barton rep will also work with your new facility to ensure you’re set up and ready to go on day one.


Complete the following form to learn more about how we can help you find the perfect opportunity
* Required
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.