5 Tips on Navigating Contracts for Advanced Practice Providers

Mar 8, 2023 | For Candidates

Advanced practice providers are currently some of the most sought-after candidates in dermatology. This places talented nurse practitioners and physician assistants in a promising position to go after ideal opportunities in dermatology and, if needed, negotiate for improved contracts.

When navigating contracts, the most important thing to remember is not to rely on verbal promises. Ensure everything important to you is clearly stated in the agreement before signing.

To help you understand the essential components of an effective mid-level provider contract, we’ve identified five critical elements you need to consider before making your next career move. 

Standard Job Information.

An acceptable contract needs to include basic information regarding the scope of the position and your responsibilities as an employee. This section should include: 

  • Full or part-time status. 
  • Specific hours per week worked. 
  • Any on-call requirements and schedule. 
  • Travel requirements between offices and whether mileage is reimbursed. 
  • Who you will report to daily. 
  • How and when you’ll receive performance evaluations. 

If you know you don’t want to work on Fridays, you must ensure it is written in your contract. And autonomy in a position is amazing, but you also need to know the chain of command and who you should speak to if you have any questions or issues. 

Compensation and benefits. 

Ensure you understand exactly how and when you will receive compensation and how it is calculated. Is the payroll standard of practice every two weeks or once a month? Are your production bonuses paid once per month, every three months  or once annually?

Here’s an example of one of our client’s compensation plans:  

  • Base salary: $120,000.00
  • Production incentive: 15% of all production over a threshold of 2.5x the base (or $300,000.00)

In this case, if you produce $600,000 in revenue, you’ll earn a total of $165,000.00 ($120k base plus a $45K production bonus) in compensation, which equates to 27.5% of total production.

Around 90% of our clients offer NPs and PAs a base salary plus production-based incentives. Salary is paid in standard payroll practices every two weeks or once a month. And production bonuses are paid four times per year, typically every 90 days. 

Base salaries and percentages earned on production can vary substantially based on your specific level of dermatology experience. However, in a review of our clients nationwide, the total compensation a dermatology PA or NP earns is, on average, 20-30% of their total production. 

On-call pay agreements should be outlined here, as well as all employee benefits—including but not limited to…

  • Healthcare coverage.
  • Flex savings accounts. 
  • Wellness programs.
  • Travel allowances.
  • Continuing education allowances and leave.
  • Malpractice insurance.
  • Licensing renewal fees.
  • Membership fees. 

Most practices offer a standard of at least $1500-3000 total reimbursement annually for fees associated with your licensure and ongoing education. 

Vacation time, holiday pay and sick leave.

After reading through a contract, make sure you can answer the following questions…

  • How many vacation days do I get each year? What happens if they aren’t used? 
  • Can I accrue more time off? How much and how often? 
  • How many sick days am I allowed? What happens if I go over? 
  • Which holidays am I expected to work? Which holidays are granted a day off with pay? 

On average, our clients typically offer 20 days of total paid time off annually, including sick time and CME but not holidays. 

Policies and clauses.

Employment contracts cover policies to ensure a safe and equitable work environment for yourself, your colleagues and your patients, or they are included to protect the practice from malicious intent. These may include…

  • Non-discrimination policies. 
  • Sexual harassment policies. 
  • Technology use policies. 
  • Communication policies. 
  • Termination policies.
  • Patient privacy / confidentiality policies. 
  • Patient referral policies. 
  • Billing and fees policies.
  • Non-compete clauses.
  • Non-disclosure clauses. 
  • Non-solicitation clauses. 

Typically the most talked about clause is a non-compete clause. It is standard in many states for a practice to exclude the provider from competing in a specific radius of the group they will be employed. 

A five to ten-mile non-compete radius is standard today. Just a few years ago, the standard was 20 miles. Due to a shortage of providers, more open opportunities and the expansion of many groups, it has been substantially lowered.  


You will gain insight into how a practice is run through interviews, site visits and speaking to current employees. But you should also be able to garner this knowledge by reading through a contract. Remember, having your expectations in writing is vital.  

After reading your contract, do you know…

  • If there is a specific number of patient contact hours expected?
  • How patients are assigned? 
  • How your day-to-day schedule will be set up?
  • How to call out if you have an emergency or are sick? 
  • Is paid time off granted by seniority or on a first come, first serve basis? 
  • If you will have clinical support setting up rooms and bringing patients in?
  • If you will take your own notes or if you will have support? 
  • Who to go to for diagnostic support?

Our best advice is that if you’ve completed interviews and site visits and read through your contract but still have questions about day-to-day operations, get clarification from the practice and / or an attorney before signing. 

Contract Support from Dermatology Experts

There’s never been a better time for advanced practice providers to find their ideal position in dermatology. But that will require you to get comfortable with contracts, as it’s up to you, the employee, to understand what you’re signing before you sign it.  

myDermRecruiter has the connections and expertise to help you find the right opportunity and can assist you with resources to navigate contracts, negotiations and so much more, saving you time while eliminating uncertainty and frustrations. Contact us today to get started on your path to career success! 

Wondering about your existing contract or have questions about signing a new one? Need more personalized assistance? 

myDermRecruiter recommends Kasey D’Amato at CPAC-Certified Physician Assistant Consulting as a trusted expert on salary and contract negotiations, burnout solutions and more!  

Share this article