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How Long Does it Take to Become a Locum Tenens Psychiatrist?

Navigating the path to becoming a locum tenens psychiatrist involves understanding the journey these professionals have to take that’s different from your typical psychiatrist. Every locum tenens doctor, regardless of specialty, has to undergo the same credentialing, privileging, and enrollment process. But while many facilities can complete credentialing within a few weeks, others may take months.

So, whether or not it’s a long or short time period depends on the facility and individual provider. While, yes, you could technically become a locum tenens psychiatrist in a few short months, there’s a traditional timeline that would make a psychiatrist a more appealing candidate for healthcare facilities and groups. 

We’ll explore that timeline more in the story below, and we’ll also examine some key considerations for individuals aspiring to become locum tenens psychiatrists. 

Education, Licensure, and Certification

Becoming a locum tenens psychiatrist starts first with a strong foundation in medical education. The journey to becoming a psychiatrist typically takes around 12 years from undergrad to medical school and then residency. After completing their education, aspiring locum tenens psychiatrists must obtain a medical license in the state they intend to practice. 

One of the main benefits of taking on locums gigs is the ability to move around and work in various locations. The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC) is what makes this benefit possible. IMLC has streamlined the process to allow physicians to practice in multiple states. With the IMLC, psychiatrists can register with their State of Principal License, and once they fulfill the Compact’s stringent criteria, they can seamlessly obtain licenses for any of the participating jurisdictions. Currently, 41 states have joined the initiative.

 The licensing process can involve exams and background checks. Additionally, certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology is a mark of distinction that signifies a psychiatrist’s expertise. 

These are all the initial requirements that set you up to become a locum tenens psychiatrist. Now, we’ll touch on what will set you apart as a locum tenens psychiatrist.

Gaining Clinical Experience

Experience reigns supreme in locum tenens psychiatry. This professional avenue is not just open to seasoned veterans but also recent graduates fresh off of their residencies. But having a track record of clinical experience is something that will only strengthen your CV. This experience could come from previous roles as a full-time psychiatrist, private practice, hospital work, or from work in other clinical settings.

Clinical experience underscores each candidate’s proficiency in addressing diverse patient scenarios. While locum tenens agencies do consider recent graduates, cultivating a CV filled with clinical experience bolsters the appeal of potential candidates to the agencies that will place them in facilities. 

Transitioning to Locum Tenens

For psychiatrists yearning for diversity in assignments and job flexibility, the natural trajectory of their career would point them to a career as a locum tenens psychiatrist. One of the best ways to transition to a career in locum tenens is to find a staffing agency that understands the locums psychiatry market and can connect you to an assignment that best aligns with your unique needs. This collaborative endeavor pairs adept locum tenens psychiatrists with healthcare establishments across the country. Providers can find their own locum tenens jobs solo, but having an agency to work with will only make it easier to find the ideal gig. 

Good agencies help providers find an assignment where they want to go when they want to go there and at a fair rate. 

The locums journey’s timeline varies, but collaborating closely with seasoned locum tenens recruiters will help you speed the process along and make the transition seamless. 

The Locums Advisors You Need

If you are intrigued by the prospect of becoming a locum tenens psychiatrist, Covelo Direct wants to be your locums advisor.

With a profound understanding of the unique demands of the field, our team will guide you through every step of your journey.

Read more about how to handle your first locum tenens assignment when the time comes, or see more of the benefits of partnering with a locum tenens agency like us.