Student loan debt has ballooned in the past several decades: many physicians now come out of medical school carrying upwards of $200,000 in debt. But while paying off medical student loan debt can be daunting, locum tenens can help.

Loan forgiveness programs aren’t the only option for physicians who want to get out of debt: locums can earn you more income—and in some cases, help you save on living expenses—allowing you to tackle debt now, instead of waiting for the future.

Here’s how locum tenens can help you pay off your student loans faster:

Earn More Income

It’s no secret that locums assignments tend to pay at a higher rate than full-time hospital roles. Hospitals use locums when they have a specific need that they haven’t been able to fill, and are thus willing to pay a higher rate. In addition, using a locums firm allows them to save on overhead costs of recruitment, licensing, and benefits. That means you have the opportunity to earn more while working the same amount of hours (or sometimes even fewer).

These rates can shift depending on what kind of assignment you take. For example, if you are supplementing your regular job with locums assignments, you might consider taking on a locums assignment over the holidays, which pay at time and a half, so you can make more in a comparatively short period. 

As a 1099 employee, you will be responsible for paying your own taxes on whatever locums income you earn, so be sure and remember to set money aside, and work with an accountant to help prepare your annual taxes. It’s also important to remember that locums does not cover typical employer benefits like health insurance, so if you’re planning on working locums full-time and don’t get benefits through a spouse or partner, make sure to factor that into your budget or explore your other coverage options.

Lower Your Living Expenses

In addition to paying at higher rates, some locums assignments can also enable you to save on cost of living. Hayes Locums always covers the cost of travel and living expenses while on assignment. 

For short-term assignments, this may not make a huge impact on your living expenses. But for physicians with the ability to travel for long periods of time, you can look for longer term assignments that will allow you to save on living expenses like rent and transportation, since those will be covered while you are on assignment. We can cover your living expenses, so you can put your additional income toward paying off debt instead.

In addition to travel, housing, and transportation expenses, Hayes Locums will sometimes cover licensing fees, making one less cost for you to worry about.

Find Assignments to Fit Any Schedule

One of the chief benefits of locum tenens is its flexibility. Especially right now: given the recent shortage of physicians, there is a wide variety of locums opportunities that can fit anyone’s schedule.

For physicians who are early in their career and/or don’t have obligations tying them to a particular location, full-time locums can be a great option. That might look like working many short-term assignments in different locations, or looking for long-term assignments that keep you in one place. 

If you already have a full-time job, you can also find temporary assignments to work around your schedule. Look for locums assignments during higher-paying holiday periods, or search for opportunities that align with your scheduled time off.

Whether you want to work locums full-time, or supplement your regular job with temporary short-term locums assignments, there is an opportunity that will fit your schedule.

Get Career Support

One of the most undervalued benefits of locums is the career support you receive from working closely with your locums consultant. Not only is your consultant there to facilitate your needs during a particular assignment and offer support if and when you run into issues—they’re also there to help you think through what you want out of your locums career, and how to get it.

It’s important to communicate with your consultant, because knowing what your priorities are will help them tailor their search to find the best possible fit for you. If you’re looking for opportunities that will allow you to travel, they can help find assignments in areas that you’re particularly interested in visiting. 

Whatever your priorities, your consultant is there to help you meet them.

Supplement Your Next Trip with Locums

Paying off debt is important, but you don’t need to put traveling on hold in order to do it. If you love traveling, there’s no reason to forego it until you’ve paid off enough debt to afford a vacation. Locums give you the opportunity to travel at a low cost, since all of your travel expenses are covered, and see parts of the country that you might not otherwise have the opportunity to visit.

You can schedule a locums assignment near a national park that you can explore during your time off, or look for locums assignment in a state or city that you’ve always wanted to visit. 

You don’t have to put off traveling just to pay off debt—with locums, you can do both.

Interested in using locums to help pay off student debt? Start your job search today.