Do Locum Doctors Get Paid More?
Australia is considered to be one of the best places in the world to be a doctor, particularly for its high standards and its competitive salaries – but how do locum doctors’ pay rates shape up? Let’s take a look at locum doctor salaries in Australia, how these compare to permanent doctor rates, and the other benefits of working in a locum role.
How much do locum jobs in Australia pay?
Generally speaking, hourly rates for locum doctors in Australia can be anywhere from $120 to $400 per hour, putting locum doctor salaries as one of the best paying jobs in the country. A full time equivalent can be anywhere in the range of $250,000 to $750,000 or even more, depending on the specialty. The variation is dependent on your level of experience, your specialty, and the location of the hospital. For example, locum roles in rural hospitals will generally pay more than locum jobs in Sydney, and locum doctors in anaesthetist jobs will be on the higher end of the pay spectrum compared to those in general medicine jobs, as they are in shorter supply and therefore in higher demand.
How are locum doctors’ pay rates determined?
Salaries in the private sector are generally much higher than in the public sector. Some doctors in particular specialties can earn well into the millions if they have good referral networks.
There are several frameworks and policies in place throughout Australia that determine locum doctor salaries within the public sector. These vary slightly dependent on the state, region, or even the specific hospital themselves. Quite often, these roles will also come with a travel and accommodation allowance as the majority of the time locum roles will be in areas outside of the major cities.
For instance, the salaries of locum jobs in Queensland public hospitals are set according to the Queensland Health Locum Arrangements and Conditions policy, and determined by the doctor’s level of experience and hospital location. Similarly, the pay rates for junior locum jobs in NSW are governed by the NSW Junior Doctor Locum Rates Policy.
How do locum pay rates compare to permanent doctor salaries in Australia?
In short, locum doctors’ pay rates are usually higher than permanent doctor salaries. This is because of casual nature of the work. For this reason, pay rates also tend to be higher for locum doctors in specialisations that are in high demand, such as psychiatry jobs, emergency medicine jobs and anaesthetics jobs.
In the same way that locum pay rates vary, permanent doctor salaries are also dependent on a range of factors such as experience, specialisation, and hospital location. Typical base salaries for permanent doctor roles can range from $80,000 for a resident, to $600,000 for a specialised senior doctor or consultant, and this can be further increased where there is a wider scope of practice. For more information on permanent doctor salaries in Australia, check out our article on this topic.
What are the other benefits of locum jobs in Australia?
Besides the attractive pay rates, working in locum roles can be advantageous in several ways. Australia is renowned for its emphasis on work-life balance, and this is even more apparent when working as a locum doctor. You’ll gain full control over when and where you’d like to work, giving you the flexibility to switch between part-time and full-time hours, take up an extra shift here and there on top of your permanent job, or build your own schedule from the ground up to perfectly suit your lifestyle.
Locum shifts are also a great way to build experience and maintain your clinical skills in various disciplines while you train for your college assessments in order to gain fellowship. Sometimes permanent and/or specialist roles are hard to come by and doing locum shifts are a perfect way to maintain your continual and professional development.
As a locum doctor, you’ll be opening yourself up to new experiences that you otherwise may never have had a chance to encounter. You might also end up taking on new challenges that you might not have considered previously, as well as gaining a fresh perspective on your career by expanding your horizons and becoming exposed to different disciplines.
The option to travel as part of locum work is also a big draw card for many Australian doctors who enjoy a change of scenery, as well as international doctors who want to experience life down under. As a locum doctor, you’ll have access to roles in both public and private hospitals across Australia, ranging in duration from a few days to several months. If you never had the chance to take a working holiday when you were fresh out of college, or you simply want to see more of what our beautiful country has to offer, this could be the perfect opportunity! Plus, many locum roles offer accommodation, flights and car rental as part of the package, making it even harder to say no.
Okay, this sounds great – where can I learn more?
For more information on the different medical locum roles around Australia and how to access them, download a free copy of our locum guide.
When you’re ready to take the next step, the Careers Connections team is here to help. With over 60 years’ collective experience in medical recruitment across Australia, we’re confident that we can find the perfect locum role for you. To learn more, reach out to our specialised medical recruitment staff today.