How to Compare and Negotiate Your Health IT Pay

Are You Getting Paid What You are Worth?

Female doctor working on transparent monitor.
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Healthcare IT (information technology) is a rapidly-growing field within a booming U.S. healthcare industry.

Because both healthcare and technology are fields that are ever-changing, developing, and innovating, there is a continual need for proficient experts who can help train, implement, and maintain healthcare IT systems and networks within healthcare facilities and offices.

How do you know if you are being paid what you are worth in a field that is always evolving?

For their part, HealthITJobs.com, a free job search resource providing health IT professionals access to more than 1,000 industry jobs, introduced a new salary calculation tool to help healthcare IT professionals gauge how well (or not) they are being paid, compared to their peers with similar responsibilities, experience, and education levels.

To help healthcare IT professionals understand how to leverage the information gleaned with this new salary calculator, HealthITJobs.com's vice president of product management, Tim Cannon, provided some additional insight into the background of the new feature, as well as tips for healthcare IT job seekers and professionals.

Q: How does this new salary tool provide accurate data regarding health IT salaries?

Tim Cannon: The tool provides user-generated information on salary in the industry. Members of HealthITJobs.com answer questions to complete a salary profile.

The tool then compares their responses with data from other members. Users can only update their profile once a year, as their salary information should only change that often.

As more members use the tool, there is more data in the system, making the information more and more accurate.

Q: How should Health IT professionals leverage what they learn from the salary tool to help advance their careers and/or their income?

Tim Cannon: Health IT professionals can get a good idea if they’re making the right amount by comparing their salary with others in comparable positions. Based on experience, organization, location, and job function, they can get a quick, current snapshot of their salary and overall health IT salaries.

With that information, health IT professionals can determine if their employer is paying them what they should be, [based on what the market bears]. If not, professionals can make an informed decision about moving on and looking for new opportunities. Health IT skills are in high demand, and professionals can find jobs with the salary they want.

Q: How do you recommend that health IT professionals should negotiate a salary or ask for a raise if they find they are being under-paid or a new job offer is too low?

Tim Cannon: Health IT professionals should prepare for a salary negotiation during the recruiting process by knowing their worth based on experience, skills, and certifications. They can do this by using salary tools such as ours, and doing their research.

They must show employers why they deserve to be paid the salary they think is fair. They can do this by preparing a list of skills and certifications that merit the pay they want.

Those negotiating for a raise should prepare a list of achievements to present to their employer. They should avoid office gossip and singling out other members of the team during negotiations, and instead refer to what similar professionals in the industry make.

For both types of negotiations, professionals should focus on the value they bring to the employer.

Q: What should a health IT professional do if they are turned down for a raise? Should they look for another job? Stay, and ask again later? Or negotiate for other perks instead?

Tim Cannon: If health IT professionals are turned down for a raise, they shouldn’t take it personally.

The decision may be less about them and more about the employer’s budget.

Then, the professional will have to make the judgment call on whether it’s time to look for a new job or not. They should weigh the pros and cons of job perks, the potential for career growth, and their overall job satisfaction. If they decide the lower salary isn’t worth it, it’s time to look for another job.

If the job is worth [staying], they can always ask again in a few months time or wait until their next performance review to see if they’re getting a raise. In addition, they can negotiate for other perks like more flexible work schedules and work from home options.

Q: What are the most commonly searched health IT job functions or job titles on your website?

Tim Cannon: The top two job functions we are seeing on the site and for the salary calculation tool are Project Management and Clinical Applications. For project managers, the average salary is around $112,000, and for clinical applications, it is around $80,000 [annually]. Clinical applications [is a role that] primarily includes ​​EMR systems, but could include other technology systems in the clinical environments.

When asked what closing advice he'd like to share with current or future healthcare IT professionals, Mr. Cannon stated: "Knowledge is power, and with salary data, health IT professionals can make more informed career decisions. Skills, education, experience, employer type, and location all play a role in salary, so to get the salary they want, professionals may need to earn extra certifications or switch roles. With the talent shortage in health IT, there are a lot of opportunities available for professionals. Knowing salary information can help find the right positions for you."

Does the salary calculator work, and work accurately? "The feedback we have received so far has all been positive. There is no other tool that focuses specifically on healthcare IT or provides this data that candidates definitely want and need as they navigate their careers."

Q: How can health IT professionals get started and use the salary calculator?

To use the tool, members create a salary profile by answering six simple questions (membership to HealthITJobs.com is free). The tool then compares their responses with data from other members. Users can update their profiles every 12 months.

The key areas the salary tool factors into calculations, specific to job function, include:

  • Overall salary ranking
  • Salary by experience
  • Salary by organization
  • Salary by location

Below are a few more facts and tips about the health IT salary calculator:

  • HealthITJobs.com members have full access to the salary tool. Members can view average health IT salaries by job title, location and more.
  • Using the tool is quick and easy. To get started, HealthITJobs.com members can create a salary profile by answering 6 simple questions. The tool then compares their responses with data from other members. Users can update their profiles every 12 months.
  • The salary tool allows users to analyze their salary by multiple factors. Members can look at their overall salary ranking, average salary by experience, by organization, by location, and by job function.
  • Knowledge gives health IT job seekers power. With a better understanding of standard salaries in the industry, health IT professionals have a significant advantage when navigating the many opportunities available in the field.

'With the current skills gap in health IT, our members are faced with more and more opportunities," Cannon said. "We hope the salary tool will make finding and selecting the right job for our members easier than ever."

Currently, the health IT salary tool is available to registered candidates only, but HealthITJobs.com is working on an employer version of the tool which will allow hiring managers to access the information.

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