July 21, 2021
Think More Than Just Money
April 21, 2020
For most professionals, the words “negotiate” and “salary” often go hand-in-hand. As a PA, receiving a job offer is a great opportunity to come to an agreement with your future employer on how much money you will receive for the work you provide. But there is a lot more to a compensation and benefits package than salary. Often, when employers can’t increase your salary offer, you may find them willing to increase or improve other areas of the benefits package to entice you. Next time you find yourself negotiating, make sure to consider these additional opportunities.
Many healthcare professionals are expected to take call hours, and PAs are no different. In the 2019 AAPA Salary Report, nearly 45% of PAs across the country took call hours. Depending on your employer, call hours may be negotiable. Some PAs reported that call hours are part of their annual compensation packages, but some reported that call hours are paid separately. Clarify this with your employer. If you’re interested in receiving more money, ask how you can take more call hours. Or, if you have outside-of-work responsibilities, negotiate your call hours so that they are only at times that work for you.
Flexible scheduling is exactly the sort of non-salary benefit that nudges one job offer above another. Some PAs may look for the opportunity to work four 10-hour days instead of five eight-hour days. Some PAs may want to work nights, or weekends. Or, some want to telework one day a week. With today’s technology and the desire for employees to have work/life balance, employers are offering more and more options. Talk to your employer about scheduling options – some employers may not have any flexibility, but others may be able to offer an ideal schedule.
Have you thought about negotiating your vacation time? Additional paid time off is another way your employer can enhance your offer without increasing your salary, and it will help you with work/life balance. Smaller workplaces sometimes have the most flexibility when it comes to increasing vacation time, but no matter where you work, it is worth addressing before you sign a contract. Time away from the office is important for healthcare providers, to recharge, stay fresh, and prevent burnout.
There are many fees associated with being a practicing PA – state licensure, DEA registration, membership in professional organizations, and, of course, CME. These costs add up fast. It’s to your employer’s benefit that you remain certified, so this is often an area you can negotiate. Many employers do offer some professional development funding, usually as a lump sum, and it may not come close to accounting for your actual expenses. Carefully review your contract and see how professional development funds are allocated, then spend some time figuring out exactly what your out-of-pocket expenses are – conference registrations, travel, lodging, certification maintenance. Armed with this information, you can ask your employer to cover more of your CME and professional development expenses so that more of your money stays in your pocket.
PAs shouldn’t shy away from negotiation, and you should consider non-salary negotiations equally important. Sometimes employers either can’t or won’t move on your salary offer, and that’s OK. You should be compensated for your time and expertise; but, with some creative thinking and some non-salary negotiation, you and your employer can come up with a win-win solution.