When Should You Relocate for that NP or PA Job?

Review these considerations before you sign the job offer and move out of state.

As a nurse practitioner (NP) or physician assistant (PA), you possess skills that employers all across the country seek, which affords you opportunities for change and advancement if you’re willing to commit to a job relocation. The idea of relocating for a new job fills some with elation, and others with fear. We all respond to change in different ways, but moving to a new city or state is a decision that goes beyond your advanced practice healthcare career. It can also affect your personal and family life, hobbies and interests, and your opportunities for the future. That’s why we suggest that NP and PA job seekers do a good deal of research and planning before accepting an offer that requires a change of address.

Should You Relocate?

Woman with laptop and moving boxes
Does your dream job require a cross-country move?

First and foremost, decide what you want to achieve with a job relocation. Are you ready for a big change? Would a move equal a promotion, higher salary, or upward mobility along your NP or PA career path? Can a new city offer opportunities for growth that don’t exist where you currently live? Pinpointing the reason you’re contemplating a move can help you decide if it will be a worthwhile endeavor or not.

Consider Your Family

Next, check in with your significant other, spouse, or children. They will be impacted by a move, so it is imperative to consider their needs as well. Will your spouse also be able to find a good job in the new area? Are your children at an age where they can transition easily? Change can be easier for a child in preschool than a teen in their last year of high school. Have an honest conversation about moving to a new city. Also consider how a move might distance you from family and friends. Getting your family on-board will increase the likelihood that your move and job relocation will go well.

Fully Review Your Offer

When you do receive an offer for a job outside your city, the next step is to fully review it and understand what it entails. Does the offer provide the salary, career advancement opportunities, and benefits you need? How does the salary range compare to average salaries of other NPs or PAs in the new area? Also consider the cultural fit. Did you get a sense of the workplace environment when you interviewed? Based on what you observed, do you think you’ll thrive with this new team? Even if the job seems like a perfect fit, it is wise to have a contingency plan. Check to see that there are other organizations in the area that hire people with your skills. This minimizes your risk if, for some reason, the new opportunity doesn’t work out.

The Devil is in the Details

Before you sign on the dotted line, understand whether your offer covers moving expenses and how they’re reimbursed. If your new employer doesn’t cover your costs for job relocation, do you have the money to pay for incidentals that accompany a move? Selling your house, renting a moving truck, hiring movers, paying for gas or plane tickets, making a down payment or deposit on a new place, and other moving-related activities really add up! Calculate the costs in advance so your move doesn’t cost you more than you’ll earn.

Evaluate the Cost of Living

Once you’ve decided to take the offer, learn all you can about your new city. Don’t forget to calculate the cost of living to ensure you can afford to live there on your new salary. Check out cost of living calculators and websites like city-data.com to point you in the right direction. You may also want to create a budget based on your new salary, relative to the local cost of living. This will help you predict whether your standard of living will change with the move.

Research Your New City

It’s also a good idea to plan a visit—or two—to your new city so you can evaluate everything you’ll need to know about your new hometown. This includes housing, neighborhoods, schools, entertainment and activities, religious organizations, amenities, rates of crime, and many other factors. A local realtor can guide you through the search for a house. You can also learn a lot about a neighborhood by driving through it during the day and at night, or by talking with locals and asking questions. You just may have family, friends, acquaintances, or colleagues who are already in the area and can help you acclimate.

Trust Your Decision

Lastly, and most simply, trust your gut. If you interview for a new nurse practitioner or physician assistant job and it just doesn’t feel right or you don’t think you’ll flourish there, wait till you find the right fit. Uprooting your life and moving far away for a new job is a big commitment, so do all you can to make sure it will go well. Good luck!

The team at Melnic is here to support you and your nursing career development. If you are looking for a new Pediatric Nurse Practitioner job, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner job, or Nursing Leadership job, please join our network.