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  • Every locum tenens job has it’s own set of pros and cons to consider. At Barton Associates, we know how challenging it can be to find an opening in your ideal location, with your the ideal hours, and the at the ideal pay rate that fits into your current schedule. That’s where our talented locum tenens recruiters step in. But, there’s more than just the location, hours, and pay to think about when making the transition to the locum life.

    For those exploring travel dentistry, here’s a list of things to keep in mind:

    What is a Traveling Dentist?

    Traveling dentist, also known as a locum tenens dentists, are dentists who fill in a vacancy left by another dentist for a short-term or long-term basis. The work is contracted for a set period of time and often involves travel to a new location. A stipend is usually included for these expenses.

    How Do You Become a Traveling Dentist?

    The only real factor distinguishing a travel dentist from a perm dentist is that travel dentists work in multiple states on temporary assignment. So, it’s fairly easy to become a travel dentist provided that you’re qualified to be a dentist.

    It may seem daunting to get a new dental license, but actually, this is usually a fairly painless process, provided that you are already licensed to practice dentistry in one state. It takes less than two months to obtain a dental license in many states.

    How Much Do Travel Dentists Make?

    Travel dentists usually make between $90 and $150 an hour depending on their experience, the state, and the needs of the facility. For example, travel dentists in New Jersey often earn rates up to 60% higher than permanently employed dentists.

    Becoming a Travel Dentist: Pros and Cons

    Is becoming a travel dentist right for you? Here are some of the top factors of a locum tenens dentist lifestyle to consider.

    Pro: Travel Dentists Get Higher Pay and “Free” Travel

    The chance to travel is a gift in its own right for locum dentists, but that’s not even the best part. What is? Many travel dentist will be making more money than they did at a traditional permanent job, while traveling the country for free. That’s right, you could work in Hawaii as a dentist, and get paid more to be there. At Barton Associates, your travel costs including flights, hotel, and rental cars (if needed) are covered! And the tax benefits (think deductions) will add to your cost savings.

    Con: Obtaining Dentistry Licenses

    Making the decision to work as a travel dentist has one obvious implication– you’ll be traveling to new locations for your job. And, new states means you will need to obtain additional licenses. Thankfully for prospective locums, Barton Associates’ licensing team will walk you through that process, eliminating this time-consuming task on your.

    Pro tip: If you are licenses in an IMCL state, it’s significantly easier (and faster) to get new licenses.

    Pro: Increased Flexibility

    There is a major change in flexibility when becoming a locum tenens dentist. Permanent workers are often tied down with multi-year contracts and destined to a recurring schedule. However, as soon as one becomes a travel dentist, their options become unlimited. Most travel assignments last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, leaving room for dentists to arrive, thrive, and decide their next move before feeling fatigued on assignment. Having control over when, and where you work is a luxury only afforded to locums– don’t miss out on the opportunity to balance your professional and personal lives!

    Con: Being Away from Home

    Are you close to your family, friends, and/or pets? One concern for many future locums is being away from home for long spans of time. But, remember that as a locum you’re in charge of where, when, and how long you work for. It’s truly your choice whether to take a new assignment right away away or not. If you have family in different states, remember that you can get a new license (and we’ll pay for additional licenses) to allow you to practice in proximity to your loved ones. In addition, some clients may cover the cost of bringing along your spouse or pet. At the very least, the money you save by not having to pay for food, housing, and travel can contribute to the cost of visiting or flying out family members.

    Pro: Travel Dentists Provide Access to Underserved Communities

    Becoming a locum dentist means you’ll be filling a much needed role. Patients need to be cared for, and locum tenens providers ensure someone is there to fill gaps in coverage. You could be filling in for a dentist on vacation, on medical leave, or to keep the patient care consistent until a permanent employee can be hired. Patients will need their teeth attended to, and your new co-workers will be grateful for your contributions. And, along the way, you may just learn some new techniques or approaches, adding to your professional repertoire.

    Pro and Con: Assignments Don’t Last Forever

    The term “locum tenens” literally translates to “one holding a place,” and that is crucial to note. Unlike a permanent position, travel jobs only secure your future for weeks, or months at a time. You control your own future as a locum tenens dentist, which means always looking to land your next assignment. When it comes to deciding your next move, the final decision is on you, but with Barton Associates, a recruiter will always be there to guide, and assist you in acquiring another assignment, often times lining up the next assignment before the current one is finished.

    Unsure if locum tenens is right for you? Take our quiz to find out! Otherwise, take control of your career by filling out a contact form to get in touch with one of our talented recruiters today.

    Ready to get started? Browse our locum tenens dentist opportunities.

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    About Kaie Quigley

    Kaie Quigley is a Copywriting Intern for the Marketing team at Barton Associates’ headquarters in Peabody, MA. He is currently a senior at Lasell University in Newton, MA, studying Sports Communication, with a minor in Journalism. He joined Barton in February, 2023.