Insights From Wapiti

Advice, news and thought leadership from our experts.

Credentialing Timelines: Planning Tips

Credentialing. Ugh. What is it and why does it seem to take so long?

What is credentialing?

That feeling when your privileges are finally granted.

Credentialing is the process of verifying a healthcare practitioner’s professional records before they can gain privileges to work at a facility. Credentialing serves several purposes:

It establishes your qualifications.

Companies use credentialing to ensure that the healthcare practitioner is legally qualified to practice. Although most providers are extremely reputable, the credentialing process allows a safety net to prohibit unqualified practitioners from working at a facility.

It instills confidence in patients.

In addition to determining whether a provider is legally qualified to practice, the process further reviews a practitioner’s experience and skills. This helps reduce the risk of medical errors that may be caused by less competent providers. Patients want to trust their healthcare practitioners. Credentialing is a crucial aspect of maintaining high standards of safety in the medical profession.

It helps you get paid.

Private health insurance companies, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, require proof of medical credentialing prior to a practitioner’s engagement with patients. These entities will not reimburse for medical procedures until credentialing is complete. This billing mechanism is needed so hospitals can afford to pay you.

Whether you are working locum tenens shifts or are hired in a permanent role, you will be required to complete the credentialing process.

Credentialing Timeframes and Planning

Every facility is different, so timelines to complete the credentialing process can vary greatly. At some facilities, credentialing and privileging can be completed in as little as a few weeks. Other facilities can take up to 180 days. (That’s six months!! 😳) The timeline for credentialing is dependent on many factors including an organization’s accreditation, requirements, and bylaws. Some facilities may expedite the process of onboarding a provider by granting temporary privileges, or temps, but that is at the discretion of the facility. Not all facilities participate in granting temps.

When you work locum tenens assignments, it is important to keep credentialing timelines in mind. Are you interested in working summer locum shifts and soaking up the scenery in the North Shore of Minnesota or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan? Well, you should probably start credentialing by Christmas to be ready for the summertime fun.

To give you an idea of how long credentialing can take, here is a sampling of current opportunities with Wapiti and their typical credentialing timeframes,* listed from shortest credential to longest credential:

*These timelines are an estimate and can vary based on a number of factors. Also, keep in mind that the credentialing process doesn’t generally begin until all needed items are received from the provider. 




ER Physician (Locum)

Boone, IA

4-6 weeks

ER Physician (Locum)

Waverly, IA

4-6 weeks

Anesthesiologist  (Locum) 

Aberdeen, SD

30-60 days

CRNA (Locum)

Aberdeen, SD

30-60 days

CRNA (Permanent)

Hettinger, ND

30-60 days

ER Physician (Locum)

Britt, IA 

30-60 days

Hospitalist APP (Locum)

Stevens Point, WI

45-90 days

ER Physician (Locum) 

Roseau, MN

60 days

ER Physician (Locum) 

Laurium, MI

60 days

FM Physician (Locum)

Baker, MT 

60 days

ER Physician (Locum) 

Thief River Falls, MN

90-120 days

Hospitalist Physician (Locum)

Little Falls, MN

6+ months

Nocturnist NP (Locum)

Little Falls, MN

6-9 months

What can you do to ease the process?

Aside from discovering a way to manipulate time, you can’t speed up approvals or make the application shorter. However, some things are within your control.

Maintain an electronic credentialing file.

Keep supporting documentation current and easily accessible. Some of the documents you will be asked to provide a facility to complete credentialing may include (but is not limited to):

  • A current CV
  • Medical Licenses (both active and inactive)
  • Copies of all DEAs and Controlled Substance Registrations you hold
  • Medical Diploma
  • Internship/Residency/Fellowship Certificates
  • Board Certification
  • ECFMG Certificate (Applicable to international medical graduates only)
  • Copies of all Life Support Certificates (ATLS, ACLS, CALS, BLS, etc)
  • DD-214 Military Discharge Form (if applicable)
  • CME printout from the past two years
  • Mandatory Reporting Certificate
  • Immunization Records or Titers
  • Driver’s License
  • Current Photo/Headshot
  • Copy of current personal malpractice COI if applicable, as well as copies of malpractice COIs for the past 10 years
  • NPDB Self Query Results
Be prepared to list everything in your employment history.

finish your paperwork memeMaintain a list of your entire work history (including all locum tenens assignments) and be prepared to explain any gaps in work. Credentialers must get verification from all facilities and agencies where you have worked or held privileges. If something is not listed, these employment verifications can be delayed.

Have a list of references available and ready to respond.

Be prepared to list four professional references who can attest to your work experience, work habits, character, and skills. Notify your references that they should expect a call or email asking them to serve as a reference to you. It can take days (or weeks!) for references to respond if they aren’t expecting someone to contact them.

Be prompt with paperwork requests.

Keep in touch with your credentialing specialist. Send any requested paperwork and documents as soon as possible so you don’t delay your start date. In many cases, the credentialing process will pause while awaiting your response to requests.

Credentialing with Wapiti

The Wapiti Credentialing Team assists our partner providers to make the credentialing process as seamless as possible. They coordinate all credentialing between the provider and facility, including the initial paperwork as well as reappointments. Credentialing is never a fun process, but our experienced team is responsive and committed to ensuring your success and getting you onboarded as quickly as possible.

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