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PA-C, ATC starting salary in orthopedics

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I'm a current PA student that is considering pursuing an orthopedic role. I also have a masters degree in athletic training & sports medicine with five years experience as an athletic trainer. I'm curious as to how much I should be asking for when I start job searching and any input would be much appreciated.

 

Gary, MAT,ATC, LAT

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I've been interviewing in NYC with basically the same credentials, ATC x 6 years, BS Sports Med, MA Exercise Physiology, BS Physician Assistant. When I interview with the PA and the Chairman of the Ortho Departments they are very pleased with my background, HR is firm that I have 0 years experience as a PA therefore am compensated as a new grad. While it has gotten me many interviews that none of my classmates have without any ortho background, all the hospitals here start new grads at the same salary. And in fact because ortho is many hours a week, the salary breakdown is even lower than positions in IM or ER. For Outpatient they may start you higher but I haven't had that experience.

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That makes sense. So how much is a reasonable amount in a hospital setting for a newly grad? Outpatient ortho setting? I've heard that outpatient ortho/sports medicine settings love PAs with ATC backgrounds and can start out as much as 105K depending on location/region? Does that amount sound too inflated?

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Keep in mind this is NYC, not most of the country, where we have like 15 PA programs so lots of new grads. So for here, yes that is inflated but other parts of the country, idk depending on what benefits they offer you. For me, the unionized position was 4 days of 1st assist in ortho surgery and 1 day of ER consult/floor offered me $38/hr @ 50 hours a week, working out to about 99k for a 5 day x 10 hour shift position with 2 weeks of vacation. After 50 hours was time and a half. That is about 79k for a 40 hour week if you calculate by hour rates. Outpatient ortho clinic working with sports med, spine and reconstructive surgery patients was also 5 days a week, hours "8a-5ish" for 80-82k with no overtime since it was salaried, that is even lower at about $35-36/hr. They were an ortho group that recently became affiliated with a large teaching hospital, and contract was under the hospital.

 

I applied to PA jobs fairly broadly and was lucky enough to be offered various positions by 5 hospitals in Manhattan/Queens and 1 in Long Island, including ortho, neurosurg, psych, ER, and transplant. None of these positions were willing to negotiate packages, everything was pre set as a final offer. The hospitals that had unionized position here started their new grads in all specialties at $35-38/hr regardless of # days or hours worked and the non-unionized offered $40.50/hr for 4 x 10hr weeks and $42/hr for 3 x 12.5/hr weeks. In the end I decided even though I like ortho, it is difficult to accept a 5 day a week position knowing you can work elsewhere for only 3 days, choose to pick up one per diem shift, and yet make more $ and have more flexibility in your schedule. 

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Thanks for the info. Yeah when I was applying I noticed that NY had so many programs and I had considered applying for one of the Touro programs. I'm from TX, but I'm going to PA school in TN. Im considering going back to Texas after I'm finished, and I am hoping to maybe jump on board with a group that does sports medicine coverage for collegiate athletics as well (UT Austin, TX Tech, Southern Methodist University, etc.) The ortho group in Lubbock, TX were also the team physicians for Texas Tech University and they were a private practice. What elective clinical rotations did you choose when you were a student?

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Thanks for the info. Yeah when I was applying I noticed that NY had so many programs and I had considered applying for one of the Touro programs. I'm from TX, but I'm going to PA school in TN. Im considering going back to Texas after I'm finished, and I am hoping to maybe jump on board with a group that does sports medicine coverage for collegiate athletics as well (UT Austin, TX Tech, Southern Methodist University, etc.) The ortho group in Lubbock, TX were also the team physicians for Texas Tech University and they were a private practice. What elective clinical rotations did you choose when you were a student?

I am a PA in Texas.  We are the team docs for a DIv II university, a semi-pro football team, and tons of high schools.  I made $85K my 1st year and worked my butt off for it.  BUT....I got like 8 raises in 2 years and now, 4.5 yrs later I am well into the $140+ range.  I started salary, and transitioned to hourly instead of bonuses.  So I can work as hard or easy as I want.  In Texas, you will make a pretty good living with LOW cost of living with your ATC background.  Remember, $100K a year is NOT $100K in New York!!  Here you live more like a $300K job up north.  We don't have income tax, either..... 

 

BTW...we might be hiring...lol...but we are not Tech...thank God...lol

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Hey!? I got both of my degrees at Tech before starting PA school, wreck 'em! Lol. Where are you practicing??

 

That's comforting to know that you at least are getting compensated well. Yeah no state income tax is definitely nice because I worked for 4 years as an athletic trainer for an ortho/sports medicine clinic in Fort Worth and it was great not having state income tax.

 

Our graduate school curriculum in the athletic training program at Tech was heavy on clinical evaluation of upper and lower extremities and we also took gross anatomy with the PT and OT students my first semester.

Would you mind if I sent you my CV?

 

Thanks,

 

Gary Gostnell, MAT, ATC, LAT

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