July 30, 2021
Be Prepared for Negotiations
February 6, 2019
By Kate Maloney
AAPA’s Salary Report contains a wealth of helpful information, and answers to many of the questions PAs may have when it comes time to explore new career opportunities. Want to know how compensation and cost of living vary by state? What about who employs the most PAs? And where do most PAs practice? How do practice barriers in state laws affect PA salaries? These questions and more are all addressed in AAPA’s Salary Report, but we talked to two PAs who shared additional ways they personally found the Salary Report beneficial.
Preparing for negotiations
PA Laura Walton* was shown the Salary Report by a classmate during PA school: “I am so thankful he shared it with me!” Prior to renegotiating her contract, she “delved deeply” into the Salary Report by printing out the relevant pages, highlighting salaries for PAs in her region, her specialty, similar working hours, and a similar level of experience. “I wanted to make sure my case was objective, clear, and well-argued,” she says. The Salary Report laid the groundwork and prepared her well as she entered renegotiations.
During the contract renegotiation process, Walton used her research from the Salary Report to evaluate other opportunities. She received two offers for new positions, both of which were accompanied by a substantial salary increase. Because of her previous number-crunching, she knew the offers were competitive with those in her region and specialty. She was able to accept one of the offers, confident that her compensation was reasonable based on her education and experience.
PA Melodie Kolmetz has used the Salary Report in a number of different ways. She used it to negotiate her own salary early on in her career, but she found it especially helpful when she changed specialties. After 15 years of practicing family medicine, she “had no idea what was standard” for other specialties. She formulated a question: What would a competitive offer in a different specialty look like? “You have to look at the whole package,” she says. “You can’t just look at one line on the Salary Report.” The Salary Report contained all of the information she was looking for and, armed with the numbers, she was able to confidently accept an offer package.
Advising other PAs
Walton found the Salary Report so helpful, she “absolutely” recommends other PAs use the Salary Report. “I think it is important to look at the Salary Report early in the job-search process to gain an idea of what salary is reasonable for a PA in your region. You can delve deeper if you really want the job, but the salary can give you an idea if the prospective employer is in the right ballpark. It can serve as a foundation for additional negotiations if necessary.”
Helping students and employers
Kolmetz has transitioned to PA education. She makes sure to tell her students about the Salary Report, as many of them are planning to move out of state after PA school. “They are shocked that all this information is available!”
Kolmetz’s former colleagues have also asked her to review PA offer packages. “I get inquiries from physicians and employers, and I have this data at my fingertips. I can review their offer packages and say ‘yes, this is competitive,’ or ‘no, you really need to add some CME money.’ The data is evidence-based, so I feel confident in my recommendations.” She has found that her advice is nearly always considered and included. “They were able to hire a PA right away!” she shares.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.
Kate Maloney is senior manager of corporate communications at AAPA. Contact her at [email protected].