By Amanda Webster, ATC
As healthcare professionals we tend to put the needs of others ahead of our own. This can lead to poor performance, dissatisfaction and eventually lead to burnout or changing careers. In order to set up for a long happy career we must mind our needs, and a big part of that is compensation. Before gearing up for your next preseason, take time to consider your contract. If you’ve referenced the 2011 salary survey, you already know the national average at the time of this survey was $51,483. If your pay stubs put you nowhere near that, it may be time to ask for a raise.
How much should I ask for?
Check out the NATA Salary Survey. Compare your setting, education, number of years certified and region to the trend from 2005, 2008 and 2011. How do you stack up?
Prove your worth
Athletic directors and administrators don’t know the hours you put in after they go home. Weekend tournaments, weeknight basketball games, annual physicals: they all add up. Make a spreadsheet to track your hours that you can share with your supervisor (along with the salary survey) when you decide the time is right to ask for a raise. They would probably be shocked to see how much time you commit to your work and they will want to compensate you appropriately.
Decide how much you’re willing to negotiate. If your employer isn’t willing or able to give you a raise, you can still increase your worth and keep your job by limiting your hours. Look at the numbers. If you’re only making $45,000 after taxes, your take home is about $707 a week; if you work 70 hours a week that equates to only $10/hour. Yikes! At the same salary, you could enjoy your evenings away from work and still put in a standard 40 hours with an hourly wage closer to $18/hour. To do this, look at your schedule at the beginning of every week and decide which events take precedence based on catastrophic risk. Also decide which games or practices will go without coverage or will require per diem coverage. Put it in writing to your supervisor. If they want more coverage, they will have to pay more, either to you or for per diem coverage. It’s not easy, but it is the only way to ensure we’re not shortchanging ourselves or devaluing our profession.
As always, practice professionalism. Show up early, mind your appearance and speak in a professional manner. If your employer is happy to have you, they will do what they can to keep you happy.