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March 10, 2023
Healthcare Professionals

Have you recently completed your medical internship, Residency, or Fellowship and wondered what is next?

The first question you should ask yourself is, do you want to find a permanent full-time position after you finish your medical residency? Or, are you interested in exploring non-traditional opportunities such as part-time or temporary assignments?

According to the National Association of Locum Tenens Organizations (NALTO), over 50,000 doctors per year work locum tenens assignments, and 90% of healthcare facilities in the U.S. work with locum tenens Physicians annually.

If you are looking for alternatives to the traditional career path of becoming an Attending Physician, you have many options from which to choose. Conducting clinical research, teaching at American medical colleges, or sharing your knowledge by writing for peer-reviewed medical journals are just a few to consider.

Another option for life after Residency is working as a government healthcare provider. You can find locum tenens staffing opportunities in government facilities such as the Veterans Administration (VA), Indian Health Services, and the Bureau of Prisons.

Read on to discover the details and benefits of accepting a government locum tenens assignment.

Common Struggles and Issues After Graduation

Your medical school graduation should be one of the biggest celebrations of your life. But the career path for medical professionals is not always linear. And deciding what to do after graduation can be challenging.

Should you take a career in internal medicine, general surgery, or academic medicine? Will you choose group practice, private practice, or another type of medical practice? Even after graduation, there are still struggles on the path to becoming an Attending Physician.

First, there are internships. An internship is an essential part of becoming a Physician and may be incorporated into a Residency program. Then, there is the USMLE Step 3 exam to pass. Next, comes years of residency to gain necessary experience to practice medicine without supervision.

On top of these post-graduate requirements, there are also professional conferences, presentations, speciality board exams, and extra graduate medical education to consider. Not to mention the stressful process of finally applying for jobs.

The main struggles that Physicians in-training face after graduation is maintaining some amount of work-life balance. It is no secret that Physicians must undergo years of demanding residency training in order to practice medicine.

But without some recreational balance, chronic stress and burnout can derail those dreams of becoming an Attending Physician. It is important to find ways to cope with stress, whether through diet and exercise or art and culture.

Other factors in your personal life like romantic relationships, friendships, and family obligations may compete with your career after residency. And the dread of paying back student loans can sometimes feel like a burden to your financial health.

Life after graduation has its inevitable struggles. But the satisfaction of completing your residency program and starting your medical profession as a practicing Physician or Surgeon is worth the sacrifice.

Common Career Paths After Residency

There is any number of different career paths available for Physicians after residency training. Whether you have a particular medical career track in mind or are still uncertain about your future as a medical professional, it might be worth taking some time to consider the options for Physicians entering practice.

Clinical Medicine

Clinical medicine is a great choice for Physicians with a penchant for patient care. You can open your own private practice or work in community group settings. If you love building relationships and have a knack for bedside manner, a career in clinical medicine could be for you.


A career as a Clinician-Educator combines patient care with education to serve at academic institutions. Clinician-Educators may develop curriculum for med school students or work in administrative roles for residencies and fellowships.


If you are fond of research, then a career as a Clinician-Scientist could be the answer after residency. After taking a few additional classes to gain research skills, this path gives you the opportunity to study and develop cutting-edge medical solutions.


For those interested in combining business with medicine, there is  the option for a career as a Physician-Administrator. Physician-Administrators in roles like Chair of Medicine, Chief Medical Officer, or program director can guide administrative healthcare decisions to provide better outcomes for patients, staff, and facilities.

Physician Advocacy

And if healthcare policy and legislation are important to you, there is  the option of pursuing Physician advocacy and public policy. With a position on an Advocacy and Health Policy Committee, you can work to address the root causes of public health issues in your community and advocate for their needs.

There is no shortage of medical career paths available after residency. But as appealing as a permanent position can be, there are also many benefits to locum tenens work.

Locum Tenens Opportunities

NALTO reported that around 7.5 people in the U.S. are treated by locum tenens providers every year. Locum tenens posts are no longer just for semi-retired providers or Physicians that find themselves between jobs. More and more Physicians starting their careers are investigating locum tenens work.

Perk 1: Flexibility to travel

One of the perks of locum tenens is that it offers a simple avenue where providers have the freedom to travel and work anywhere in the U.S. A significant benefit of working for a government facility is that they accept medical licenses from any state.

Perk 2: Professional development in unique settings

Another pro of locum tenens work is the ability to gain experience and exposure to many different specialties. This is especially true when working in rural areas and smaller practices that often have older technology or overlap between positions.

Locum tenens positions allow you to choose from a variety of practice settings. This includes urban hospitals treating complex illnesses to a rural reservation serving an underserved population. You can also find the perfect position in a government facility like the VA.

Perk 3: Maximized income to meet your needs

Working with a locum tenens agency lets you find the best opportunity as they know the specialty markets. The agency helps navigate the credentialing and security process and acts as your champion advocating for maximized compensation and reimbursement. This means you are free to enjoy the benefits of job security, flexible work locations, and fulfilling work.

Perk 4: Better work-life balance

You also do not have to worry about having too much on your plate later in your medical career. Locum tenens assignments may also be a viable option to help prevent career burnout. Locum tenens jobs give you choices - from taking a leave of absence to working when and where you want for a better work-life balance.

Locum Versus Full-Time Income Expectations

When contemplating options for life after residency, it is good to know that a locum tenens role gives you flexibility and the opportunity to build your resume. But, you probably want to know the compensation expectation for a full-time permanent position versus a short-term temporary locum tenens assignment.

One of the first things that come to mind for many providers is the offered income amount. Regarding payment expectations in a full-time role, locum tenens providers can often make more than their full-time peers. This is especially true for high-demand specialties.

The compensation you will receive on assignment depends on several factors. You can maximize your pay rate if you’re flexible on certain details, such as:

  • Flexible location
  • Broadening your skills
  • Ability to take on weekend or evening shifts
  • Committing to work on longer assignments
  • Taking on additional shifts or longer hours

And, you should also consider added perks and benefits in addition to your salary. Look for things like a transportation allowance, housing allowance, medical insurance, relocation assistance, and malpractice insurance coverage.

Physicians Treating Veterans

When you decide locum tenens is the right opportunity after medical school residency, contact a locum tenens staffing agency. Whether you have experience working with veterans, are interested in working in a new state, or feel passionate about serving underserved populations, Health Carousel Locum Tenens can help you find your next career opportunity.

Approximately 25% of veterans returning from active military service live in rural areas. As a locum tenens Physician, you can help our heroes in understaffed facilities.

Our specialized recruiting team has built strong partnerships with various government facilities across the nation. This includes the VA, where you would have the opportunity to provide quality veteran’s health services to our veterans who deserve it most.

Reach out to Health Carousel Locum Tenens today. One of our recruiters will start advocating for you so you can work where and when you want while giving back to our nation.


What do people do after residency?

  • Most residents start working at a new job after residency training. This could mean taking on additional training for a subspecialty in a fellowship, becoming a hospital employee, or entering into private practice.

How do Physicians get jobs after residency?

  • Physicians have a number of options to find jobs after residency. Job opportunities can be found networking with peers and colleagues during residency programs, networking events from professional associations like the American Medical Association, and at job fairs, staffing agencies, and online job boards after residency.