Low NP Salary for VA

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I received my official offer from the VA for a NP position. I am a RN of 11 years and NP 4 years of that. I wrote my heart out and provided every single piece of supporting documents for what I wrote. I made sure to specify in my examples of how my actions impacted the unit/facility. Well, I was boarded NP2 level 3. I was fully expecting low NP3 and would accept high NP2 at a minimum. Y'all the offer is low and about a 30k pay cut from my current position. I responded to HR asking which areas of my paper did not meet NP3 standards and the opportunity to resubmit. I also included my medical director in the email. I was told by HR the offer is firm since it was rated by my peers based on experience, references, certifications, etc. Anyone have any other suggestions or been in this position before? 

umbdude, MSN, APRN

1,226 Posts

Specializes in Psych/Mental Health. Has 6 years experience.

Don't have much knowledge about this but I would just consider the benefits since the VA supposedly have superior benefits (vacation, low healthcare premium etc.) compared to other organizations.

Specializes in Occupational Health. Has 19 years experience.

Wish I could help. Gotta commend you on completing the process though...it's daunting to say the least. Just one of the reasons I never made the effort to apply.

Specializes in Plastics, Bariatric, Orthognatic, Rheumatology. Has 12 years experience.

What state are you in and what kind of position did you apply for ?

Please say the benefits are great but I hear you win you say its hard to accept a payout like that !

I am debating if I should apply or not because also looks like its hard to determine the grade level you will be placed at 


Has 12 years experience.

I applied in Texas. I am a NP for ambulatory care unti. The benefits are great. Five weeks paid vacation, eight days sickleave, 401(k) match up to 5%, and so much more. I was unable to successfully negotiate a pay increase, so I excepted the offer and will hope for a promotion in a year. It comes out to be by at 24k paycut 🥴. But I need health insurance and benefits for my family so here we are. 

OUxPhys, BSN, RN

1,203 Posts

Specializes in Cardiology. Has 8 years experience.

VA is notorious for lowballing. I know with RNs they can appeal, not sure about NPs. I do know though that initially they start out low but in the long run make really good money. 

Has 12 years experience.

I’ve heard that too. They do not allow any type of appeals upon hiring. I went through every channel all the up to chief nurse but was told too bad. Once you are employed and working you allowed 1 appeal per year. 


583 Posts

Specializes in Former NP now Internal medicine PGY-3.

In raw dollars the VA pays most people less.  For physicians it can be >100k less. But the benefits are often better and workload often less


5 Posts

Specializes in Nurse Practitioner - Geriatrics. Has 12 years experience.

I recently had the same experience.  I asked for a ballpark salary before accepting the offer because I had another pending offer for a long term contract position.  VA was $50k less than the other offer if you include the living stipend the contract agency provides me...plus my housing and a rental car is covered.  Benefits aren't quite as good, but I'm posted on a reservation, so even though the agency wouldn't normally pay certain days (Veteran's Day, for example), the clinic was closed because they're a federal entity, so I was paid.  I told the VA that was far too low to consider, they tried to argue that it could go higher.  There's no way I was going to go through more paperwork when I know it wasn't going to go up as far as the other offer.


4 Posts

How is working for the VA? Sorry you had to take a pay cut. Was it worth it?

Has 12 years experience.

@nursekingdom It's easy. I'm in PACT and the workload is nice, the benefits are great! They are expecting the nursing boards to be abolished FY23 and transitioning everyone to a different scale so looking forward to that. The boards are antiquated and suck. 


4 Posts

Thank you for your response. I got interviewed a few weeks ago and two days after the interview they requested for references. Do you think this is a good sign? Do you mind sharing your timeline with the application process? Thank you in advance.