You finished your residency or fellowship, and you’re going through the final stages of the recruitment process for your first job after training - then comes the money discussion.
This can be intimidating if you aren’t prepared. It’s important to remember the person with whom you are speaking - and negotiating - has done this many times before, so equip yourself with the knowledge and understanding of what you want and what you deserve before you approach the subject with these tips:
Do your research
In order to know how much money you should request or receive, make yourself aware of average salaries in your specialty, of those with similar experience, the type of practice in which you’ll be working and for other physicians in your region. For compensation specifically, surveys from the Medical Management Group Association (MGMA), the American Medical Group Association (AMGA) and Sullivan Cotter can provide you with market data relevant to your specialty and practice location.
When reviewing an offer, know the difference between salary and compensation and the various compensation models to understand how you’ll earn your income. A high salary may sound good initially, but when you compare what you could make with other compensation models, you might earn even more with bonuses or other benefits and productivity increases.
Ask the questions
It can be difficult to ask questions about compensation and salary, but this is how you plan to make a living, so don’t be afraid to get the answers you need to make the best decision for you. The following are great questions to ask to figure out how you will earn your income:
- What might my earning potential range be based on previous performance and best- and worst-case scenarios?
- What is my guaranteed base salary, how long is the guarantee and what compensation model is used in addition to my salary?
- What other incentives are available: sign-on, anniversary bonus, student loan repayment or other bonuses?
Negotiate and potentially accept
You’ve done your research and obtained answers to your compensation questions, so now you know an approximate amount to expect and how your pay will be measured. If you haven’t already done so, acquire an attorney to review your contract, including salary and compensation. They will work for you to make sure you receive what you should, and adequately negotiate your contract.
Before going into negotiations, know what you want and what you will accept. If you’ve presented a reasonable request - in line with other physicians in your specialty and community with similar experience - the organization may make an acceptable offer and you can move onto negotiating other aspects of your contract.