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Can I ask for more money as a new grad?

Can I ask for more money as a new grad? Asking for more money as a new grad

If you’re a new nursing grad with a job offer, you may be wondering if it’s Ok to ask for more money.

Will they think you’re nervy if you do? Or naive if you don’t?

THE book with all your job search questions answered!!

Asking for more money as a new grad

Can I ask for more money as a new grad?

Asking for more money as a new grad

Even in the best of economic times, salary negotiation can be a risky proposition for most new grads pursuing entry-level positions.

From the hospital’s point of view, they are going to invest a large sum in you to bring you up to speed.

They tend to pay all new nurses the same. But it’s always possible there will be some exceptions.

Bedside nursing pay is highly structured

Unlike some professions, entry level pay in nursing is highly structured and not as negotiable as you might wish.

Bedside nursing pay grids are fixed and based on years of experience.

New grad nurses are all offered the same amount down to the penny.

Deciding to ask for more money as a new grad

Now that you understand the context, you’re better prepared to decide if it is best for you to ask for more money.

It’s true that you will never know if there’s wiggle room in pay or benefits until you ask. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I did hear of one young man who asked, and they immediately upped his hourly wage by 50 cents and added to his relocation expenses.

This was self-reported on social media, so it’s not verified, and it really surprised me. It could be that they really, really wanted this candidate. Rules can be broken.

What you want to know is- does it hurt your chances to ask? Probably not, if you do it respectfully, and only after the job offer has been extended.

It’s highly unlikely that a nursing manager would withdraw a job offer simply as a result of you asking.

Prepare your case for asking for more money

You don’t want to just ask for a higher salary when securing a new job. You want to make a strong case for why it makes sense for them to give you one.

You must offer something that sets you apart in value from the other 22 RNs in your cohort.

Generally first career degrees are not a basis for more pay (example, a degree in journalism).

What sets you apart may be your BSN, or certificates such as ACLS, PALs, which may garner you a differential. It might be that you are weighing more than one job offer, and the employer you prefer is offering less, so your risk is mitigated.

If you are relocating, the relocation allowance may definitely be negotiable. Before the interview, compose your question and practice, practice, practice asking it.

How to ask for more money


Your attitude must be humble and not convey any sense of entitlement.

Employ thoughtful, strategic questions.

 I have my BSN — is this something that’s worthwhile to you and, if so, are you open to negotiating a higher starting salary?

Ask once. Just once. If they respond with, ‘We don’t negotiate,’ then nod agreeably.

It’s not just about the money

Compensation packages are about so much more than hourly salary.

Make a spreadsheet and compare wages, tuition reimbursement, vacation time, benefit costs and coverage between two or more employers.

Consider non-quantifiables that you are looking for, like length of orientation, reputation of the hospital, and room for advancement.

Does the hospital offer a Clinical Ladder? If so, consider applying to the Clinical Ladder Program as soon as you are eligible, as you will earn more money!


In a very short time, you will be more marketable and you will have much more leverage when you seek your next job. At that time, negotiating skills will really pay off!

That just gave me an idea for another blog 🙂 


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How to answer “Why should we hire you?”


Until next time friend,

Nurse Beth


About Beth Hawkes (146 Articles)
Nice to meet you! I'm a Nursing Professional Development Specialist in acute care, a writer, speaker and career columnist.

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