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Finding local NP salaries

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by np2b np2b (Member) Member

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Here's a question that I can't find in the archives: how do you guys go about figuring out what is a competitive salary in your region? How do you compensate for the wide variations between experienced vs. unexperienced nurses, specialty work vs. a more general practice, bonus structures, etc.? I've had a talk or two with some of my clinical preceptors, but they're very coy about sharing actual numbers. ("Their starting pay is really bad, but now I'm doing quite well"...what does that MEAN?) Do you just go to your local NP association meetings and find a polite way to ask? Do you go to a bunch of interviews and see what kinds of offers you get? I obviously don't have many close friends/colleagues that I would be comfortable asking this question of.

I ask because, in the next few months, I'll be starting my search for my first NP job. I've never been great at negotiating anything, and since I've got a ton of student loans to pay off, I really don't want to sell myself short. I've heard a couple of people talk about their salaries, but what I've heard is VERY inconsistent with what my instincts would say a salary should be. (experienced ER NPs making less than 70K; a brand-new NP in an underserved facility making more than 80k).

Thanks for the direction...I clearly need it!

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traumaRUs - Judy has 27 years experience as a MSN, APRN, CNS and specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

15 Followers; 166 Articles; 21,015 Posts; 190,401 Profile Views

I'm not going to be much help however, will try. I live in central IL. My RN experience includes 10 years in a level one trauma center as staff, charge and case manager, 1 year in adult MICU/CCU, and 1 year of med-surg. With that I had decided that I was not going to take a pay cut! So...with that in mind and knowing that my pay was approx $60k as a staff nurse, I decided (quite arbitrarily I might add) that I would not take

I interviewed at three places when I graduated last year:

1. A large hospital 50 miles away for a CNS which was actually an educator role - salary unknown.

2. A derm practice where I would run the acne clinic - ugh - couldn't even consider that one.

3. A large nephrology practice. This is where I ended up. I have learned so much. There was a formal 6 month orientation period with didactic and clinical which really gave me a good base of things. I also receive CME $$, 4 weeks of PTO, 1 week of sick pay, malpractice insurance (though I still carry my own too), access to UpToDate (a data base of info), etc.

For me, I made the right decision with the choices that I had at the time.

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juan de la cruz has 27 years experience as a MSN, RN, NP and specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care.

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First, I could not figure out what NP specialization you will have based on your post. Unfortunately, my input will be biased towards ACNP situations. Ballpark salaries for us ACNP's are usually revealed by word of mouth just like knowing where job openings are. On the other hand, it is sometimes hard to rely on the accuracy of salary information based solely on other NP's face-to-face account of what they actually make. In my experience, not only are most people secretive about their benefits and pay, some tend to hike up the amount a little bit.

In Michigan, there are hospitals that post ACNP positions in their websites and indicate the salary range as well. So that can give the prospective NP an idea where they will fall on the payscale - if they are new grads, naturally they will end up on the low end of the scale. I've also found that in my region, academic hospital settings tend to pay less in salaries but usually will provide an intensive training opportunity. There is also a known disparity here between the paycsale in inner city hospitals compared to suburban hospitals especially those located in affluent suburbs.

I think a good way to establish salary ranges is to find surveys conducted by NP organizations particularly AANP that annually publishes salary data on practicing NP across the nation. "Advance for Nurse Practitioners" have also been publishing similar data and I believe this information is in their wesbite.

Finally, I totally agree with traumaRUs that for the most part, whatever salary you are given is highly influenced by how well you are able to market yourself and bargain for the salary you feel you can live with. Unfortunately, one does not have much to go by when you are totally new and have no experience as an NP. I think it is always best to get your foot in the door at a practice you will love and then gradually show how much you are worth based on your output and in no time, you will get that raise you deserve.

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60 Posts; 1,785 Profile Views

Thanks so much for the thoughtful replies. For clarification, I'm an FNP student, with a few years experience in an Emergency Department as a staff nurse. I live in the DC area.

I think my first priority will always be finding a practice that, paycheck aside, is a good "fit"...it's gotta be interesting, and I don't want to be thrown to the wolves on my first job. But with those criteria met, I still don't want to undersell myself. I think that the "what salary can I live with?" perspective is a good one. (traumaRUs: your "arbitrary" salary is encouraging...this seems to be the approach that my husband takes, and it never fails to amaze me how well it works...but he's also a very qualified, very experienced person in his field.) One NP preceptor suggested that my contract stipulate that salary be renegotiated after 6 months of getting to know each other, which seemed like pretty good advice, too.

Hmmm....plenty to think about. Thank you again!

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It also depends on location. I am an NP in a busy Cardiology group and have great autonomy. I am in a suburb of NY approx. 20 miles. My salary out of school was 91K plus good benefit pack including CME's. I have a friend that works for a cardiology group in upstate NY 40 miles north and she is getting 70K

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Thanks so much for the thoughtful replies. For clarification, I'm an FNP student, with a few years experience in an Emergency Department as a staff nurse. I live in the DC area.

I think my first priority will always be finding a practice that, paycheck aside, is a good "fit"...it's gotta be interesting, and I don't want to be thrown to the wolves on my first job. But with those criteria met, I still don't want to undersell myself. I think that the "what salary can I live with?" perspective is a good one. (traumaRUs: your "arbitrary" salary is encouraging...this seems to be the approach that my husband takes, and it never fails to amaze me how well it works...but he's also a very qualified, very experienced person in his field.) One NP preceptor suggested that my contract stipulate that salary be renegotiated after 6 months of getting to know each other, which seemed like pretty good advice, too.

Hmmm....plenty to think about. Thank you again!

Advance for NP's has some salary information. There are a couple of issues as a NPP with regards to salaries. Your productivity as a new grad is the lowest that it will ever be (hopefully). Employers pay less and rightly so. Your productivity will dramatically increase in 6mo to 1 year of practice (note this is observational data on PA's, but the few NP's that I have observed follow this trend). The problem with new grad salaries is that they start low and then do not increase to cover your increased productivity. Generally you will get a 3-5% raise when at least for PA's the difference between no experience and two years is around 30%.

This leads to a couple of concepts. You may have to change jobs to get a substantial raise. In that case look very carefully at the non compete clause. The second concept is ask about a productivity bonus. Something like a percentage of collections or charges above your salary and benefits. This gives you more earning power when you are more productive. This also gives you two areas to negotiate, the base salary and the percentage that goes to the bonus. Be aware that in certain circumstances increasing your salary may lead to a smaller bonus and decreased overall compensation.

Another way to get salary information in markets where PA's and NP's are paid in a similar manner and used similarly is to look at the PA salary information. This is available here:

http://www.aapa.org/joblink/candidates.html

I would recommend this to any new grad especially the pre employment check list and the anatomy of a contract portion.

You can also order customized salary profiles here:

http://www.aapa.org/research/salary.html

These can be as customized as you want. The fee for a non member is $150. If you know a PA that is a AAPA member the fee is $35. AAPA regularly gets salary information from about 25% of PA's in practice and this information is used by the department of labor so it is fairly accurate. You can customize the report down to a fairly detailed level. EM PA's in Manhattan for example. As long as it is statistically reliable they will run it.

Finally from you can look at PA state and specialty salary surveys for free. They are found here:

http://www.aapa.org/research/index.html#info

They break down the state and specialty. For example you would find the mean salary for a PA in DC is $84k. I would note that DC seems to have a poor return on the salary profile. A number of PA's there may be captured in VA or Maryland and work in the military.

Also note that as a new grad your opportunities may be drastically reduced by your practice act. In my state an NP cannot scrip until they have one year of experience and have taken additional pharmacology classes. PA's cannot practice without a physician onsite for the first six months. Depending on the practice it may be difficult to find a job as a new grad.

David Carpenter, PA-C

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Jo Dirt has 9 years experience.

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It also depends on location. I am an NP in a busy Cardiology group and have great autonomy. I am in a suburb of NY approx. 20 miles. My salary out of school was 91K plus good benefit pack including CME's. I have a friend that works for a cardiology group in upstate NY 40 miles north and she is getting 70K

70K up north doesn't take you far.

That stinks.

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