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Career Coach

Get a Fair Salary

Published March 26, 2009 2:11 PM by Renee Dahring
One of the most common questions we are asked is whether or not a salary offer is "fair." Unfortunately the answer is "it depends," but I will tell you what factors you should consider to determine if the salary and benefit package you have been offered is reasonable and fair.

Get ready to put on your detective hat because first you must find out what is the average salary for your area AND your specialty. Start your research by browsing job ads either online or in your local newspaper. Look for local salary survey information, many NP groups do annual salary surveys. If you feel comfortable, ask some colleagues about wages where they are working. You can also do some secret shopping and call a few medical facilities to get some general information.

Consider the cost of living in the area. What may be a great wage in rural Wisconsin won't get you too far in an urban area like Chicago or New York. Do some online research on real estate and rental costs to see what housing will cost. Don't forget to check on state, local and sales tax rates. Low tax rates can make a big difference in your bottom line.

Look at the whole package, high employer contributions to your 401K is like free money. How much CME reimbursement is offered? Does it include paid days off to attend conferences? Are they willing to reimburse for DEA and license/recertification? What medical coverage do they offer, what is the deductible, cost for dependants? How do you feel about vacation and sick days? For many of us having a good number of paid days off is worth its weight in gold and we will gladly opt for a little less hourly pay.

Ask about "production" pay or bonuses. For some of us this is unfamiliar territory, but it's been around forever for physicians. It can be quite lucrative but involves a little risk on your part so be sure if production is included you explore how patients will be assigned to you as a new provider. For a production-based system to work, you have to be sure you get a fair shot at the patient load.

And last but not least, also consider if this job is truly the one you really want, I always tell people to take the job they think they will love over one that pays a couple bucks more. All the money in the world won't help if the job is not a good fit for you.

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    Occupation: Nurse Practitioners and NP Recruiters
    Setting: correctional healthcare/career consulting/teaching
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