Whether you’re a recent graduate or changing jobs, at some point any nurse will have to learn to negotiate a salary. Even if you use a staffing agency, you may still have to negotiate your salary. Let’s not forget the importance of frontline health care and its demands on an individual. It is a career, not just a job. Even though employers are seeking talent and offering important jobs, it’s up to the jobseeker to negotiate a salary, because it’s in an employers’ best interest to pay less.
Here’s what to do in six easy steps:
- Use the link provided below to look up the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They show for 2019 the average salary for registered nurses is $77,460 per year ($37.24 per hour), with the highest 10 percent earning more than $100,000. How much you make will vary based on your state of employment.
- Here’s the link to Nurses salaries. Registered Nurses (bls.gov)
- Figure out what you would make for the state that you plan to work in based on the credentials you have. For example, a nurse with a BSN would be able to move into management and potentially make more.
- Now that you have figured out what the average you would make for the state that you are going to work in you have a baseline that is not too much or too little money. This is what you can ask for or a little more and come down later.
- The best time to negotiate a salary is when you are in the hiring process. It is much harder to come back later and ask for a raise. By the way if you are after a raise it is important to ask what the company policy is for raises in the future so you aren’t guessing when that might happen.
- If you get the job at the average salary or close to it give or take a little. Congratulations you have won the negotiation. If you were turned down because of the salary then you may have better chances finding a position elsewhere.
In 2015 the average salary for an RN was $44,030, and four years later, we are at $77,460, which is an increase of $33,430 or $8,357.5 per year so if you are getting hired next year you may want to ask for a little more. Again, these are averages so don’t be surprised if you are turned down but it is totally reasonable to say you researched salaries on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website and thought it was the most reasonable number to ask for. It takes the guessing out of it.
It is important to realize that the hiring process is exciting and fun but also extremely stressful.
If you find yourself paralyzed with fear to ask for the market rate or get turned down, you may feel like your self-esteem took a hit. Not to worry. It will bounce back quickly when things are going in the right direction. It is important to remember that a job that is a good fit is more important for longevity. You may have a few strikes before you hit a home run.