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Pay/prospects for locum tenens work in Bay Area

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I'd like to find out what I might expect for hourly rate for locums work in the San Francisco/Bay Area. I have 10 years of experience in surgery (cardiac 2 yrs, vascular 2yrs, general surgery 5 yrs +8 yrs per diem also covering urology consults/inpatients and some thoracic), anesthesia 1.5 yrs (ran pre-admission testing clinic until practice dissolved), and now emergency medicine x1 year and counting. Willing to do surgery or emergency medicine, possibly urgent care. I've been told by a recruiter $80/hr is a reasonable expectation, but $85 or higher is a rather tall order. Recruiter has also told me licensing can take 6-9 months and would cost $500-900, but then the app fee as per the state board is max $275...not sure whether the info I'm getting from her is trustworthy. Also, I would expect a recruiter to try to low ball you as far as hourly rate is concerned.

 

Looking to relocate there, and trying to decide whether to apply for perm positions up front or do locums for a while to try different things while I acclimate and figure out where I should settle. I have heard that the market is rather flooded with new grads making jobs tough for them, but someone with my level of experience should be pretty in demand. I have applications in for 2 perm positions, one for which I got a very quick response asking for a phone interview, and a slew of recruiters that have contacted me since I updated my LinkedIn profile. Also just sent in my CA license application myself (rather than doing it through a locums agency with the "proactive licensing" option she explained where they say they cover that high cost of licensure and you agree to do an assignment with them, which sounded a bit fishy. In case it helps, I am currently in Boston. Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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