Addressing Salary Negotiations

November 9, 2022 by Lydia Hicks

The next NATA Timely Topics event, The AT Student and Salary Negotiations,” at 7 p.m. CDT Nov. 15, is planned to help alleviate the concerns athletic training students have about salary negotiations.

Featuring athletic training student and NATA Student Leadership Committee Chair Dustyn Walton as moderator and incoming NATA Specialty Awards Committee Chair Kim Detwiler, MS, LAT, ATC, as speaker, the event will engage athletic training students who are preparing to apply for their first job and are going through the interview process. It will include a presentation intended to provide information to students regarding the salary negotiation process to help them successfully navigate those conversations. 

Detwiler said salary negotiation practice is important but often lacking among athletic training students. She said this lack of salary negotiation experience is due to factors including students’ difficulty navigating the process and their intimidation by it. For new graduates in particular, she said they are just happy to be offered a position that they accept it without being aware of their power to negotiate for appropriate salary.

“I think I have realized, over the course of the last few years and through my many opportunities to apply for a job and interview, that it’s just something we don’t talk about,” she said. “I think we allow students to have experiences creating a résumé and going through the interview process, but if you think about it, most of the interview experiences … don’t give students an opportunity to practice negotiating salary.

“So, I just think that’s the piece that’s missing in the way that we educate our students and young professionals, for that matter.”

This missing piece is what this Timely Topics event will provide.

“It is great information to have,” Walton said. “Once you enter that interview, you need to have the confidence to be able to negotiate the salary. If [prospective employers] offer you something lower than you know you’re worth, then you need to know the appropriate way to go about negotiating in a respectful manner and have the information behind you to back you up when you're asking for a salary that they may not offer initially.”

Detwiler said that the salary negotiation process can be a tough terrain and, as she has experienced, can come with a variety of results.

“I have had a job that they offered me way more than expected, I’ve had a job where I’ve countered and they’ve said ‘no’ – and these were jobs that I accepted,” she said. “I’ve had a job where I’ve countered and they met me half-way. I’ve had a job where I countered and they accepted my counter. … Some of [the salary negotiations] have been great; some of them, I’ve walked away feeling like I did excellently; and some of them, I totally just face-palmed and was like ‘Well, there went that.’”

Detwiler said she encourages AT students to attend this event as an NATA membership benefit, for both current and graduating students, to help fill this gap in their education.

“For those who might be graduating this year, hopefully they’ll gain some confidence and some guidance as to how they can approach negotiating salary in terms of employment in their upcoming job interviews at the end of this academic year,” she said.

Registration is free for NATA members and $45 per event for nonmembers. Register now to attend this opportunity and prepare to breeze through salary negotiations.

View more topics lined up in the series on the NATA Timely Topics Series webpage.

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