VA Step increases

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VA Step increases

I have a question. I have been hired at the VA as a nurse 2 step 1. I swear that the RN recuiter told me that they only go up steps every 2 years. Is that right? That sounds a little slow to me, considering there are 12 steps in a Nurse 2. I cannot image it taking 24 years to get to the top of a nurse 2 pay scale. Thanks!

Specializes in critical care: trauma/oncology/burns.

Hello nyck76

Gee, if I remember correctly (since it is the Federal government that you work for,) raises come annually.

Nurses come under Title 38 and we are boarded to determine salary.

SO when I first went into the VA (VISN3) I was Nurse II, step 2, grade 8 and that following year I went to grade 9

Hope this helps



8 Posts

Yes, step increases happen every two years. However, the top of the pay scale at the VA is WAY higher than non-government nursing. Also, you get a cost of living increasing at least once, but sometimes twice a year. For example, I got a 3.9% cost of living increase in january but I'm also getting my step increase in August. Hope this helps.


86 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care.

I just got hired onto the VA as a Nurse II. I've been told that salary is based on locality and the # of steps within grade also depends on locality (this is from VA nurses that have worked for the VA in different states). We were told that you get a COLA (cost of living) adjustment each year in the Spring and and LPS (locality pay survery) in the Fall-ish. If the LPS determines that the VA pay scale for nurses isn't competitive with the local hospitals you'll get a raise. So, so far that 2 raises in a year. Then your promotion/evaluation is annually on your anniversary date. This is merit based and you have to "prove" through a worksheet that you have worked for the step increase. Learn to market yoursef. That's a possible 3 raises in one year. Regardless of your annual promotion/evaluation your PSI (periodic step increase) will be every other year and if you are "satisfactory" in your job performance you will get an automatic step up in grade. My VA also awards step increases for National certifications (ie: CCRN) with $bonuses. This is in addition to all of the above and does not count against your other step increases. So basically if you're a very good employee with a good service record, and you get a nationally recognized certfication you can get a COLA, PLS and 2 step increases in one year.

From what I've seen so far not all VA hospitals policies are exactly the same, but this is how mine works. I would imagine that they're not all that different either. Stay with the VA. The long term benefits far outway the civilian hospitals. I know I was out there for 17 years and wish I had started with the VA when I first graduated. :twocents:


11 Posts

Specializes in ICU, Burn, Prison.

The VA position I was considering applying to states the annual pay is approx 62k - 99k/yr. I obtained the info from the USAJobs website. It says all pay is commensurate with education / experience.


Does the Board decide your starting salary? I assumes Nurse I Step I Grade I starts at $62k/yr. Are these Grades and Steps posted somewhere?

Any chance they match or exceed your current base salary?

I was in the military and would love to work with veterans. I currently make over 90k per year, so might be difficult to go with the VA if the starting pay is significantly lower than what I am currently making. I wanted to find out before I take the time to complete the application process.

jeckrn, BSN, RN

1,868 Posts

Specializes in EMT, ER, Homehealth, OR.

The number of weeks before a step raise vary depending on where you are on the scale. I do not remember the exact numbers but generally the 1st 3rd of the scale the step increase is every 52 weeks, the next 3rd 104 weeks, & the last 3rd 156 weeks. The pay in the VA is based on a central payscale then adjusted by location. If you read the LES statement it will have a % listed for locality pay. Where you start on the scale is based on education and experience. There is 5 levels of nurse pay. Most nurses are either a I or II. Just a basic viwe for nurse levels, nurse I ADN, Nurse II BSN, Nurse III MSN of coarse these can vary by facility and experience. Nurse IV & V are management positions. Also there is nurse retention bonus, night & weekend diff. The VA I worked at had a 7% retention bonus if you where in a position which required 7 day aweek coverage, 12% eve & night diff, and 25% weekend diff. With this I averaged 20% above my base salary. Because of the Local Pay system there were times that I recieved more then 1 pay increase per year plus a step raise.


14 Posts

Can someone explain to me what it means that VA nurse jobs are "Title 38"?

Also, is there a resource online where you can calculate your potential salary?

Say I was applying to be a Nurse II, Step 1?

Also, what determines your starting grade?

jeckrn, BSN, RN

1,868 Posts

Specializes in EMT, ER, Homehealth, OR.
rcj2009 said:
can someone explain to me what it means that va nurse jobs are "title 38"? the part of the us code which covers doctors, dentist, & nurses at the va. it is basicly the job discriptions and pay scales

also, is there a resource online where you can calculate your potential salary? not that i am aware of since each area of the country is different and is set locally.

say i was applying to be a nurse ii, step 1?

also, what determines your starting grade?

your education and experience. as posted earlier basicly it works out as a adn is a nurse i, bsn is a nurse ii, & a msn is a nurse iii.

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