For many people, salary is a very important component when choosing a career. However, in industries like health, fitness, wellness and related areas, that is not very often the motivating factor for people getting into the field. There are several different elements that should be taken into account when not only choosing a career, but also when negotiating and accepting job offers. It is important though, to feel valued and adequately compensated for making an important contribution to your profession and society. That’s where salary surveys come in.
Salary surveys can be an important tool in getting an estimate for how much you can and should be paid. If you accept a job offer, how do you know it is a competitive wage based on where you live, your skills, experience and training? It might be much more expensive to live in a larger city nearby when you may have been working in a rural community with a lower salary or hourly wage.
Many professional organizations will conduct salary surveys to get a gauge on what people are being paid. Depending on the size and scope of the survey, many aspects can be included. Things like average pay based on the area or region of the country you work, how pay and merit raises are determined, pay based on job title (i.e. physical therapist, physical therapist assistant, etc.) are all likely to be included. Some go as far as making comparisons among gender and race. If you’re lucky, you might even find one that includes information on the average value of benefits and continuing education employers offer.
An easy way to go about getting this information would be to search on the internet. However, it often times requires a membership to the professional organization in order to obtain the full survey report. IDEA Health & Fitness Association conducts one on a regular basis and it includes jobs and positions like personal trainers, mind/body instructors and program directors. Physical therapy salary survey results for 2012 are available online. Even the Clinical Exercise Physiology Association has information available. Obviously there are hundreds of potential positions we could cover, so the first step I would recommend is examining what professional membership or association would be the best fit for your career goals and begin your research there.