What Is It Like to Be a Locum Medical Physicist?

Are you thinking about becoming a locum medical physicist? Atom Physics Staffing can provide you with the opportunity to work on-site at various facilities through our contract staffing services. Medical physicists are in high demand, and we are eager to work with you to find the best-suited positions for your skills and experience. In this blog post, we’ll explore the requirements and expectations of a locum medical physicist so you can decide if this position is right for you.




Travel Expectations

Traveling and living away from home is the single biggest hindrance most physicists have for entering the locum world. At Atom Physics Staffing, we take careful notes on what regions of the country you would prefer – which can even vary by the season, and the time frame that you are available. Sometimes we can find you a spot close to home or family, but the majority of locums need to follow the jobs to wherever they happen to be. It’s a lifestyle that is not suited to everyone. Many people who pursue this are empty nesters and travel with their partners, but not all. The good news is that the money you make as a locum allows for lots of time off and the resources to fly back home frequently.





Time commitment

Locum assignments can vary from one month to much longer jobs. For shorter assignments, you can take time off in between placements and choose when you’re ready to travel again. For longer term assignments, working for Atom Physics Staffing means that you’ve got back-up coverage. We can provide another physicist for the facility if you become ill or if you need to take time off during the placement. We can also provide remote back-up for very short term situations. 





Experienced Medical Physicists

Locum medical physicists must be able to quickly learn and adapt to new operations and policies in each department where they are placed. Most facilities expect the locum to hit the ground running – sometimes with very limited training or overlap with the outgoing physicist. We never send a locum into a facility with equipment they are not comfortable operating or that they have limited experience with. When you come on board with us, you do need to have a solid command of the machine types (Varian or Elekta), Treatment Planning Systems (Eclipse, Pinnacle, Raystation, or Monaco), and Record and Verify (Aria, Mosaiq) systems that you’ve told us you can operate. Experience is key to being successful in this role; it is not suited for recent diplomates.





Higher Earnings

While there are some drawbacks, what attracts people to the locum lifestyle is the money a locum commands. You can expect to earn around double your regular salary as a locum medical physicist. Many staffing companies will expect you to cover your own travel expenses out of this salary, but you will still be coming out ahead compared to a regular clinical job. Each locum company operates a little differently, but at Atom Physics Staffing, we take the approach of giving you top dollar and let you book your travel and accommodations. You can travel as cheaply or as elegantly as you would like. Then your only decision is how many months of the year you want to work so you can maximize profits or sit on the beach.



Other Considerations

Most locum jobs do not come with benefits. It is important that you have medical insurance from another source. You will also be required to have professional liability insurance. The AAPM has recommendations for this, and we can certainly help you out when it is time for you to get your own liability insurance. The cost is around $2,000 per year, and you can have it tailored to a specific time period. Also, some states have state specific licensure requirements, so the more state licenses you have the better. Finally, it may go without saying, but ABR or ABMP certification is often a firm requirement – though not always.

A locum medical physicist position might not be the right fit for everyone. However, if you are dedicated and passionate about your work, have several years of experience, and are willing to travel, this may be the perfect position for you. Atom Physics Staffing can place you in locum medical physicist positions at some of the best facilities in the country. Reach out to us to learn more about how to become a locum with Atom Physics Staffing.