If you have ever wondered if a nurse practitioner makes as much as doctors, you may get the answers you desire below. So, Do Nurse Practitioners Make as Much as Doctors? Salary differences are not often published, so it is good to look at some estimates. It can help a medical student decide on a career path.
Difference between a Physician and a Nurse Practitioner
A doctor can be an MD (doctor of medicine) or a DO (Doctor of Osteopathy). Becoming a doctor takes about 11 post secondary years (after high school) of education and training. The duties of doctors include diagnosing illnesses, treating injuries, taking medical histories, ordering diagnostic tests, reviewing tests, and prescribing treatment plans.
A nurse practitioner is a nursing professional who provides care in various healthcare, academic and leadership settings. Becoming a nurse practitioner takes 6 to 8 years of post secondary academic education and training. The duties of an NP include diagnosing acute and chronic conditions, treating illnesses and injuries, ordering and performing x-rays, lab work and other tests, prescribing medications or treatment, and counseling.
Costs to Become NP vs. Doctors
Everyone looking to enter the health care field should research their state or region for the cost of education for nurse practitioners and doctors. Potential student debt could make a difference on which career path practitioners choose. There can be quite a significant difference in cost. Also, to be considered, the doctor has years of internship, residency and fellowship to complete where the salary is compressed.
Nurse practitioner costs are about 20 to 25 percent less than physicians’ academic training costs. So the NP’s salary will win in the short term, but after residency or fellowship is done for a physician, the physician’s income will continue to grow. The post academic training for doctors is much more than that of nurse practitioners; however, each RN who has chosen to go back to school to pursue their NP must have completed some clinical experience.
Health Care Programs and Examples of Salary Differences (MD and DO)
Here are some examples of the pay differences in practicing NPs and physicians in similar specialties. Remember that the number of specialties available to doctors is much larger than that available to nurse practitioners. Many grad programs and universities are limited to the specialties offered to nurse practitioners.
- In Family Practice, a nurse practitioner earns around $89,000, while physicians earn $176,000
- In Emergency Medicine, a nurse practitioner earns around $103,000, while physicians earn $251,000
- In Pediatrics, a nurse practitioner earns around $82,000, while physicians earn $171,000
The top three highest paid nurse practitioners are:
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
- General Nurse Practitioner
- Clinical Nurse Specialist
Is Getting Your DNP Worth It?
One question has been answered: Is Getting Your Nurse Practitioner Worth It? Is it worth getting your nurse practitioner employment contract properly reviewed and negotiated? Negotiating a contract so practitioners will have a profitable and productive relationship with your new employer is always worth it. The overall goal is to be very confident of the contract details, and that nurse practitioners won’t be hurting yourself in the future with decisions finalized in the contract. Never settle. Know your rights and ensure you keep them.
Know Your Worth
As a nurse practitioner you are a valuable asset to any organization. Your knowledge and skill is in high demand. As a clinic or hospital employee, nurse practitioners contribute to them turning a profit and should be compensated fairly.
Contract Negotiation Research
Negotiating a contract is essential to clarify how your potential future employer will reward your performance, not just now but also in the future. Realize that emotion should stay out of it, and you should maintain a calm and focused attitude. You are simply having a conversation. Even better than embarking upon this yourself — have an attorney do the review and negotiation for you. Someone with experience can better judge what should be included in the contract.
Issues to Review and Negotiate
There are several issues within a contract that need review and possibly negotiation. These include:
- Salary – you should know the average amount a nurse practitioner is paid hourly and annually. When you have this average, you will know how to consider your potential employer’s offer.
- Bonuses – the contract should state how bonuses will be paid and when. It should be well-defined. Don’t let your employer get away with making empty promises.
- Flexibility of Schedule – depending on your lifestyle and scheduling needs, you must ensure it is laid out in the employment contract.
- Vacation Time – most employers already offer about two or three weeks of paid vacation time. You might want to negotiate for a few days more. If no paid vacation is offered, ensure your schedule’s flexibility allows for time away.
There are other points to review, such as continuing education, insurance benefits, and retirement. A thorough contract review and effective negotiation puts your career on the right track.
Should a DNP Take a Position as an Independent Contractor?
Should an NP take a position as an independent contractor? If a nurse practitioner is offered a position as an independent contractor, should she agree to take it? Any situation has pros and cons, so knowing details allows you to make a good decision. Employers might offer as much as $20 an hour more for a nurse practitioner to work as a 1099 independent contractor, but is it as beneficial as it looks?
How Taxes Work as an Independent Contractor
Taxes are handled differently with regular employees vs. independent contractors. As a W-2 employee, state and federal taxes, social security taxes, etc., come from your paycheck. This doesn’t happen with a 1099 position. No taxes are deducted from your pay. Come tax time, you are responsible for paying income tax, social security tax, Medicare tax, and self-employment tax. Social security and Medicare taxes will be twice as much, since you don’t have an employer paying half. Although it looks as if you are being paid a lot of money at pay time, you can’t forget that you will still owe taxes at tax time.
Demanding More Pay as an Independent Contractor
When working as an independent contractor, you can demand more money. The employer doesn’t have to take on the tax burden, so they should be able to pay you much more. Since you also won’t receive any benefits as a 1099 contractor, your pay should compensate for that. You can figure that you can ask for ten to twenty percent more than standard pay for a W-2 employee.
Are You Self-Employed?
Some people get confused as to whether an independent contractor is considered self-employed. They are the same thing. Independent contractors often go by other names, such as freelancers, contract workers, small business owners, etc.
When being offered a job as an independent contractor and receiving a contract to sign, it is wise to have the contract reviewed by an attorney trained to handle these types of things. This way, you can be sure that the contract is a binding legal document that will benefit you in essential ways.
Nurse Practitioner Contract Lawyer
When an experienced attorney reviews your contract for nurse practitioners, you will find great financial benefits that outweigh the review’s cost. If you require assistance with a nurse practitioner employment agreement or NP contract review, schedule a NP Contract Review with Chelle Law today!