In the U.S., there are 118,000 physician assistants, earning a median income of $112,260 per year. Demand for this profession is expected to surge by an incredible 37% over the next ten years. A highly skilled physician assistant will only see more demand for your skillset in the future.
Confronting your manager and asking for a raise is a daunting task for a physician assistant. Physician assistants add a lot of value to health care teams but the fact is not often appreciated. That is because a physician assistant is classified as ancillary staff. This puts physician assistants in the overhead category instead of revenue generators.
Most people don’t like discussing salaries in particular and money in general with their managers. And the managers like it even less. As a physician assistant, you may not have fully grasped your capabilities and abilities to generate revenue for your health care service organization. Most fresh graduates join as physician assistants for a smaller salary because they don’t have hands-on experience. But after they get the required experience, they are afraid to ask for a raise as it might jeopardize their job itself.
If you want to ask for a raise, you will have to change your mentality and attitude. Evaluate your worth to the organization and approach the management with confidence. Make a good presentation of your case and walk away with a raise.
Take stock of your value as a physician assistant
As a physician assistant, you spend more time with patients than the physician does. You ensure help to reduce cases of medical complications. You help to reduce parents’ stay in the clinic or hospital. You help to reduce patient readmission and thereby improve the satisfaction of the patient with the organization.
Many health care service organizations bill for the services of physician assistants separately. This increases the revenue generated for the organization. You are therefore due for a share of that revenue. Take a look at the value you contribute to the organization before approaching your manager for a raise.
Understand the salary structure in the organization
Since you are working in the organization for some time, you will have an idea of the salary structure of the organization. Some organizations have rigid salary structure. But this structure won’t complain if they are paying an employee less than what is prescribed. If that is the case, meet the manager and politely point out that you are not being paid as per the standard regulations of the organization.
Even if you are paid what is set out in the organization’s salary structure, there is no harm in pointing out that you are bringing more value to the organization with your exemplary service. If you justify your case, salary structures also can be reviewed.
What are other physician assistants paid in the area
Find out what other physician assistants are paid in similar organizations like yours in the area. Your professional association will have such information. You can do a job search the internet for job offers for physician assistants having an experience comparable to yours.
Remember that if your salary is on par with the area standard, it does not mean that you should ask for a raise in your salary. You will be asking a raise based on your performance and the value that you bring for your organization.
List your accomplishments
Make a list of your accomplishments. Go through the innovative projects you have implemented successfully. Highlight the initiatives you have taken which have resulted in increased revenue to the organization. Make note of any additional duties you undertake over and above your role as a physician assistant.
List down the additional hours you put in routinely or in case of emergencies. You may get paid for the additional hours, but they are necessary for the clinic to run smoothly. That means you are pulling more than your weight.
Gather testimonials you have received from patients like than you note and note compliments you for your service. Also, keep notes by residents and attending colleagues about how they enjoy working with you.
Choose the right time to ask for a raise
The right time to ask for a raise is at your quarterly review of the semi-annual review. You can also bring the topic of your raise up just after the organization has reviewed its funding. After finishing a big and difficult assignment is also a good time to approach the management for a raise.
If you are working for a small organization, you will do better to approach the manager or the physician on a Friday when things are relaxed. Avoid asking for at the beginning of a week. Approach you, supervisor, when the mood around the clinic is generally good.
Attend a specialization course
Check with your management and propose that you attend a specialization course and get promoted to a better and higher paid position. Physician assistants working in specialty clinics such as neurology, cardiac, or dermatology are paid substantially more than in a general physician’s clinic.
Once you have attended a course, you can approach the management and negotiate your salary for the newer post. As you have already proven your worth in the organization, you can negotiate for a higher salary. Doing a specialization course is the easiest way to renegotiate a new salary instead of asking for a raise.
Present your case convincingly
Get ready all the facts and figures and prepare a polite letter asking for a raise. Attach a list of your accomplishments, Include details of your efforts that have generated additional revenue for the organization. Also enclose the testimonials from patients, residents, and visiting colleagues and physicians.
Meet your manager and request him for some of his time to discuss some career issues. Do it in an easy-going way lest he thinks you want to resign. Tell your management how happy you are to be working with them. Highlight your achievements and present your testimonials.
Tell them that you think that you should get a salary raise. Justify your request and make a convincing presentation of your case. Outline your financial value to the organization and volunteer to take on additional duties like administration. State the approximate additional revenue that you think you have earned for the organization. Say that you are asking only a small component of that amount as your salary raise.
Don’t waste time
Don’t waste time beating around the bush and come straight to the point. State in terms of dollars the kind of raise you are expecting and justify it. If anyone interrupts when you are doing your presentation, excuse yourself politely but firmly.
Make sure that you don’t site your bills and loans to justify the salary raise. Be calm and professional and stay objective. Give the letter that you have prepared to request for a salary raise.
Take a professional approach
Don’t site your bills, debts, or any other personal financial issues when asking for a raise in salary. You are asking a raise in your professional capacity and the value that you add to the organization.
Granting a salary raise or not is not a personal issue but a business decision. Stay calm and accept the decision that they give. Ask them if their refusal to grant a raise is because of your performance or because of budgetary issues.
If they say budgetary issues, seek a commitment. Ask them if they will review your case after six months. You are most likely to get a positive response.
Don’t ever threaten to quit. If you decide to quit, you just do it.
Be prepared for a turndown
If your request for a raise is turned down, remember that there are concessions that you can negotiate for that are as good as money (also see our article on what to do when denied a raise).
You can ask for a travel allowance. You can negotiate more time for yourself. Time is a commodity that is finite and cannot be replenished. Request for the elimination of shifts. Negotiate for a better hourly payment when you work off duty hours.
Ask for more CME (continuing medical educations) credits. That’ll help you better your educational qualifications and get a higher-paid position. Seek time and expenses to attend medical conferences.
You can ask for more PTO (paid time off) or sick leave. Or you can negotiate for flex time. That’ll allow you to arrive late and leave early without any deductions in your salary.
Asking for a raise in your salary is difficult for any employee. That is because most employees don’t know how to present their true worth to the organization. Many others are shy or hesitant to confront their employer with a request for a raise.
The key to asking for a raise is preparation, timing, and presentation. If you get these three parameters right, you are most likely to get a raise. If the raise is denied because of budgetary constraints, you can still negotiate for more time to yourself and certain concessions.
But make sure that you change your attitude and be professional when asking for a raise. Don’t let emotions overtake professionalism. Prepare your case and make a good presentation before the management.
We hope this article has been informative and helps you in asking for a raise. Good luck.