2011 Salary Survey Results

Family planning salaries hold fast — Where will 2012 take employment levels?

Budget cuts pending — Keep job options open

Good news: In a year when reports of financial downturns have dominated the headlines, results of the Contraceptive Technology Update 2011 Salary Survey reflect a holding pattern in salary levels. About 36% of participants in the Contraceptive Te chnology Update Salary Survey reported a 1-3% increase in salary, with 42% seeing no change in pay levels. This finding is a near mirror image from the previous year, when 35% said they received a 1-3% increa se, and 43% noted no change. (See "In the past year, how has your salary changed?" graphic, below.)

Where you work might make a difference. About 43% of 2011 respondents said they worked in a health department, with some 34% in a clinic, compared to 2010's 38% and 30% figures for similar settings. About 9% said they worked in a college health service environment, with 8% at an agency. In terms of geography, almost half reported working in a rural area, with 19% in a medium-sized city. About 17% said they worked in an urban setting, with 14% in a suburban location. (Check the snapshot, below, for an overview of 2011 respondents.)

For those in health department settings, though, it might prove wise to keep a weather eye out for potential budget cuts. According to results from a recent survey released by the Washington, DC-based National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), from July 2010 to June 2011, 55% of all local health departments reduced or eliminated at least one program, with services for mothers and children among the hardest hit.1

The annual NACCHO survey looks at cuts to program and expectation of budget; since 2009, there has been little deviation between the two, says Christine Bhutta, PhD, senior research scientist. "This summer, almost 50% said they expect a reduced budget," notes Bhutta. "Based on that, we expect more of the same in 2012."

CTU's Salary Survey reflects a similar change in staffing trends. About 56% reported lower staffing numbers, compared to 36% in 2010. Just 31% reported no changes in employment levels, compared to 53% in the previous year. A bright spot: 13% saw increases, a slight increase from 2010's 10% level. Extra hours don't enter into the picture for most survey respondents; about 69% report working 40 hours or less a week. (See "How many hours a week do you work?" graphic, below.) About 35% say they supervise between 4-10 people. (See "How many people do you supervise, directly or indirectly?" graphic, below.)

Be prepared

No matter what your employment scene, having an updated resume at the ready can be handy if budget cuts indicate lower staffing levels at your office. Renee Dahring, MSN, NP, family nurse practitioner and owner of the NP Career Coach web site, www.nursepractitionerjobsearch.com, suggests that clinicians keep current a master resume, listing all jobs, credentials, and other pertinent information. When applying for a particular position, a targeted resume can be drawn from the master document, which allows you to make sure the resume fits the application, Dahring says.

Flexibility is key in today's job searches, says Dahring, who pens a "Career Coach" blog at www.advanceweb.com/NPPA. (On the left side of that web page, under "Columns," select "Career Coach.") Don't discount a part-time position, she notes. Many part-time jobs blossom into full-time positions, she notes. Look into locum tenens slots; many times, employers who are unable to hire full-timers due to a hiring freeze use locum tenens employees to fill needed positions, says Dahring.

Think about how far you are willing to travel for a job, Dahring suggests.

Putting too many restrictions on mileage or hours will limit your job possibilities, she notes.

Make sure your References are ready to go. In today's competitive job market, there are often multiple job applicants who fit an employer's advertised position, advocates Dahring. The candidate with fingertip References wins the prize, she says. "Make sure you choose References who are going to respond, not the colleague who lets papers pile up on her desk," notes Dahring. "Also, it's not a bad idea to get a letter of recommendation in the event your References might be a little delayed."

Another wise move is to contact as many recruiters as possible, says Dahring. The job candidate doesn't pay the search fee, so there is no obligation to list with just one recruiter, she notes. Most recruiters broadcast potential jobs through e-mails, so communication is fairly unobtrusive, Dahring notes. Being connected helps; recruiters often have their pulse on jobs that other people might not hear about, she states.

Broaden your horizons

More education might be helpful in bettering your chances for another job. About 54% of 2011 survey respondents have a graduate degree; about 16% have worked in their present field for 15 years or less. (See "What is your highest academic degree?" and "How long have you worked in your present field?" graphics, below.)

Nurse practitioners who are certified in women's health might want to broaden their education to obtain additional certification as an adult or family practice NP, says Dahring. Once women's health NP positions are filled, they are rarely vacated, so there are fewer positions to fill, she notes.

Many physician specialty groups are looking for adult or family practice NPs to "round out" their practices, notes Dahring. Physicians might have their hands full in dealing with specialty-specific care, says Dahring. An adult or family practice NP can address additional patient issues, such as diabetes care, that physicians might not have time to address in a routine exam.

"We are seeing a lot of those employers who formerly hired a lot of women's health NPs now wanting to hire adult and family nurse practitioners," she reflects. "They want to maximize their potential."


  1. National Association of County and City Health Officials. Local Health Department Job Losses and Program Cuts: Findings from July 2011 Survey. Fact sheet. Accessed at http://www.naccho.org/topics/infrastructure.

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