Medical professionals already have a difficult career, but working as a traveling physician can add more challenges. It’s important to be aware of how much travel doctors make before deciding on this type of job.
The pay rate for travel doctors can vary greatly, depending on the location and specialty. For example, physicians with an internal medicine specialty may make less in an underserved area than a cardiologist would in a city like New York. The pay also depends on the duration of the assignment. Travel doctors that work on contracts of two weeks or less will make more per hour than those who travel for long-term assignments.
Some travel doctors are employed by hospitals and private practices, while others work for nonprofit organizations or with athletes in a sports arena. Nonprofits often recruit doctors to provide aid in third world countries, remote locations, and other underserved areas of the globe. Doctors in this position typically receive free housing and food while they’re on an assignment and are paid a monthly stipend.
Travel doctors can also choose to pursue a role as locum tenens. As a locum tenens, travelers fill in for permanent doctors who are on vacation, sick leave, or maternity leave. They can also be called in to take on short-term emergency shifts at local hospitals. Locum tenens pay is usually higher than what permanent doctors earn in the same workplace. In addition, traveling doctors have to purchase their own insurance policies and are responsible for paying taxes quarterly.