As nurse practitioners we’re all concerned with our salaries. Are we being paid fairly in our current positions? How will our salary compare if we choose to relocate – will we be paid differently in a new area of the country? What about if we switch specialties?
A quick Google search will give you a number of results when it comes to nurse practitioner salaries in your area, but just how reliable are these results? Surveys form online publications or career websites are notoriously unreliable and may only sample a small number of nurse practitioners. If you’re going to negotiate your NP salary or make a significant career move, you want to do so based on solid data. The following resources are regarded as reliable sources of nurse practitioner salary information.
1. MGMA DataDive
The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) publishes a wealth of information related to all things practice management from revenues to practice operations datasets and healthcare provider salaries. The MGMA’s datasets, dubbed DataDive, can be purchased online and give more robust, comprehensive and reliable information than most online resources. DataDive is likely your best bet at locating specialty-specific nurse practitioner data online. While users must pay for this data and it is typically designed to be used by larger institutions and employers, if you are a member of a professional association, they may have access and be able to share salary stats from this resource with you.
2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Naturally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides reliable data about nurse practitioner salaries. An interactive map on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website shows the average NP salary by state including both hourly and salaried averages. While this data is solid, it does have a few shortcomings. Data is aggregated across all NP specialties so it can’t be used for specialty-specific purposes but rather to see general trends. Furthermore, average salary doesn’t reflect the value of a total employment package. Insurance, retirement benefits and other perks, for example, can sweeten a deal and make a substantial difference in the actual value of your compensation. This salary data is also not standardized related to job specifics such as the number of hours that constitutes full-time employment.
3. Local References
If you have the connections, personally getting to know your local market is often the best way to analyze your nurse practitioner compensation package. Talking with multiple NPs in your specialty with your level of experience and in your same geographic location will yield specific information as to how much you should expect to earn as a NP in your location and setting. Caution here. Asking others about salary can come across as intrusive. Also be mindful that nurse practitioner employment contracts may specify that the NP must keep salary and other compensation information confidential.
Where can online salary information mislead you?
Many companies and websites survey readers related to compensation. These surveys are notoriously unreliable as they may be very skewed based on a small number of participants or a readership that favors a certain geographic area or NP specialty. Individuals who respond to surveys online may also be those with significantly higher or lower salaries than average. Avoid making major employment decisions based on the information you find on these potentially unreliable sources.
How did you decide what was fair as far as your nurse practitioner salary?
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