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Pay raise for being bilingual?

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  • Pay raise for being bilingual?

    Anyone know of docs getting compensated more for being bilingual?

    M4 going into internal med. Speak Spanish and hope for this to be a substantial part of my residency/future practice because it's a patient population I enjoy working with. But curious if it could be helpful in either negotiating a raise or landing a job after residency.

    I know academic institutions are more likely to see ESL patients if they lack insurance so this may not be a skill that actually generates more $$ for employers. However some studies show that patients who have physicians speaking their own language are more med compliant, better show rates to appts, etc. so potential negotiating pitch somewhere in there. Cutting out the interpreter makes my patient interactions quicker too.

    Could be compelling depending on the part of the country. Potentially more locums opportunities? PP looking to hire bilingual doc to broaden the pt panel? Academic niche? Curious to hear your thoughts.

    Enjoying the forum. Long financial road ahead of me but definitely feeling better prepared to hit the ground running with WCI advice so thank you all
    Last edited by FutureDoc44; 12-03-2021, 04:37 PM.

  • #2
    It will make you a better physician but I doubt it will make you any more money.

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    • #3
      Nope.

      It might make you a more competitive applicant for certain jobs. It also may make you more efficient and better at those specific jobs.

      None of those things really directly translate into more money.

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      • #4
        Many psych employers will give you a bump, but they tend to be large public organizations working on government pay scales. You'll have to test and demonstrate proficiency.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Lordosis View Post
          It will make you a better physician but I doubt it will make you any more money.
          This is one of the saddest truths about medicine. Being a better physician almost never nets you more money.

          In fact, being a better physician is more likely to cost you money. There are plenty of scenarios in which being objectively worse will lead to a higher income.

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          • #6
            I made an extra $125 a month back in residency for being bilingual and passing a series of certification tests. Seemed like a lot at the time. Now I think it helps me be a better doctor, and helped me advance in my career in various difficult to measure ways.

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            • #7
              I practice in Arizona and a lot of physicians here speak Spanish, and I’ve never heard of one being paid more for it. It just makes your job easier since you don’t need a translator. I think the MAs get $1-$2 extra an hour if they get certified in medical Spanish to translate for us.

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              • #8
                The only way you’ll get paid more is if it saves you time so you can see more patients.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by CordMcNally View Post
                  The only way you’ll get paid more is if it saves you time so you can see more patients.
                  I often think that the elective time that I used for medical Spanish was the best financial investment I made.

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                  • #10
                    More money for speaking Spanish?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by G View Post

                      I often think that the elective time that I used for medical Spanish was the best financial investment I made.
                      I barely speak one language as it is. My wife is fluent in Spanish and I’ve always been jealous of people who can speak multiple languages.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ENT Doc View Post
                        More money for speaking Spanish?

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                        really?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by G View Post
                          I often think that the elective time that I used for medical Spanish was the best financial investment I made.
                          You won’t make any more money being certified.. Some could, but conveniently do not get certified! There are no higher reimbursement rates for wRVU’s for bilingual physicians.
                          Certainly efficiency and effectiveness of verbal communication is improved with a segment of our population. Probably the biggest advantage is the trust and understanding between physician/patient (and parents especially for children). A language barrier creates anxiety. Conversational vs medical Spanish certification is probably more of an advantage with patients.

                          Consider this: Most patients are not fluent in medical language in either English or Spanish. It is a different vocabulary. Goes with the job.

                          As a resident, you will be tapped.
                          As a physician, you will be tapped.
                          As a resident you will not learn medicine and as a physician you will not be compensated for bilingual skills.
                          Tapping is “would you spend time translating” as a favor. Marketing this skill benefits you with your patients only. Word of mouth is a great source of referrals, in either language.



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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by AR View Post

                            This is one of the saddest truths about medicine. Being a better physician almost never nets you more money.

                            In fact, being a better physician is more likely to cost you money. There are plenty of scenarios in which being objectively worse will lead to a higher income.
                            Such as?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jacoavlu View Post

                              really?
                              It’s a joke. Sort of. But it’s also commentary on the absurdity that it’s somehow put on us to be “better physicians” by speaking Spanish but not on the Spanish speaking person to be a better citizen and learn English. If it’s put on physicians, businesses, governments, etc. to be “better” by accommodating alternative languages it puts less pressure on immigrants to learn English so we can all communicate and learn from one another. To be clear, I’m not opposed to learning other languages. I’m just opposed to the expectation that we should or that one is “better” for having done so.

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