How to Competitively Position Your TN Pay Scale for Veterinary Technicians, Veterinarians, Civil Engineers, and Registered Nurses

The Trade National (TN) visa allows Mexican and Canadian nationals to enter the United States to temporarily work for an employer in specific professional occupations. One of the most common concerns that surround the TN visa process is whether it includes a salary requirement. American employers do not have to pay prevailing wage when hiring a TN visa holder (unlike the H-1B visa).
The federal government’s immigration law has no particular pay requirements or prevailing wage for employers hiring TN visa holders. However, employers should always pay attention to state, local or federal laws that may focus on minimum pay parameters for the geographic area.
Despite the lack of wage requirements, any employer seeking to hire a professional such as veterinarians, civil engineers, registered nurses, CDL drivers, or veterinary technicians must offer a competitive pay scale to lure skilled TN workers to fill the positions.
A TN applicant must always provide valid documentation that shows they have the professional requirements or have performed at a professional level to meet the job’s criteria.The applicant must present documentation that shows that they have made arrangements with the U.S. employer for remuneration for their services.
The document must have the following information:
  • How they will be paid for their work by the employer.
  • Promised salary amount that clearly reflects a professional pay scale that fits the applicant’s qualifications.
The USMCA, which took the place of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), clearly states that all officials at the consulate’s office reviewing the TN visa applications,“should verify that the salary proposed is indicative of professional-level employment in the United States.”
Although the TN visa has no stated or required prevailing wage for each professional position, the expectation remains that any TN visa application should always receive a wage that reflects their level of education, qualifications, and services. Employers and applicants collaborating with a foreign worker employment agency, such as AW Labor Solutions, can rest assured that the promised salary fits the job.
Any TN visa applicant must ensure that the offered salary is comparable to the typical U.S. salary paid for the profession before accepting the offer and going forward with the visa process. They should compare the pay scale of Americans working in the particular professions in the region to ensure that the wage offered by the employer is comparable.
Competitively Position Your TN Pay Scale
If you want to bring in skilled TN visa professionals, then you’ll need to competitively position the pay scale for each job you are looking to fill.
Let’s examine a few of the leading TN visa professionals and their pay scales:

Veterinarian TN Visa Pay Scale

A veterinarian is required to complete a four-year undergraduate degree and then go on to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (DVM).
Pay scale reports the following compensation for veterinarians in 2022:
  • $86,613 for less than one year of experience
  • $85,916 for one to four years of experience
  • $90,809 for five to nine years of experience
  • $96,178 for ten to nineteen years of experience
  • $99,164 for twenty years or more of experience

Veterinarian Technician Salary

A veterinarian technician (often referred to as a vet tech) aids veterinarians in the care of animals. In most situations, a veterinarian technician has either an associate or bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology.

Depending on the state, a veterinarian technician may or may not need state licensing. In some situations, an employer might accept work experience or on-job training. ZipRecruiter reports that in 2022, veterinary technicians made $31,601 per year (approximately $15 per hour).  However, various parts of the U.S. have salaries up to $40,500 or down to around $27,500.

Civil Engineer Pay Scale

A civil engineer is also referred to as:

  • Architectural engineer
  • Construction engineer
  • Geotechnical engineer
  • Hydrographic engineer
  • Research hydraulic engineer
  • Bridge engineer
  • Highway engineer
  • Railroad design consultant
A civil engineer who works in the private sector designs and tests construction projects such as pipelines, roadways, irrigation projects, power plants, dams, or other structures. They must have at least a four-year degree and preferably a graduate degree. In some areas, additional licensing is also required.

The salary of a civil engineer can vary dramatically according to It can range from $55,160 to $144,810 per year.

The highest paying states for a civil engineer in 2022 are as follows:

  • California: $113,200
  • New York: $105,210
  • New Jersey: $100,690
  • Alaska: $100,160
  • Oklahoma: $98,980
  • Colorado: $98,520
  • Massachusetts: $98,140

 The industries that pay the most lucrative salary for a civil engineer include mining, quarrying, oil, and gas extraction.

Registered Nurses Salary

he U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2022 a registered nurse averaged $77,600 per year which works out to $37.31 per hour.
In the United States, there are three educational paths that can lead to becoming a registered nurse:
  • A bachelor’s degree in nursing.
  • An associate degree in nursing.
  • Diploma from an accredited nursing program.

 All registered nurses must have a license.

Nationwide Veterinarian and Veterinary Technician Shortage
Employers in the United States are facing a critical shortage of veterinary professionals according to research released by Mars Veterinary Health. The studies revealed that there is no longer a sufficient number of veterinarians in the U.S to meet the current demand of the nation’s pet medical care.

Since 2021, there has been a 6.5 percent increase in vet appointments nationwide. Also, the report shows that U.S. pet owners will spend 33 percent more on vet care for their pets from 2019 to 2028.

Currently, the number of veterinarians has increased by only 2.7 percent per year, but more than 2,000 veterinarians have started to retire from the profession. Mars Veterinary predicts that more than 41,000 veterinarians must enter the field within the next 10 years to meet the healthcare demand.

To effectively combat the animal care shortage, many are utilizing the TN visa program to bring in skilled veterinarian and veterinary technicians to meet the demands.

Nursing Shortage Demands

Just as with the veterinarian and veterinary technician shortage, the U.S. is also facing a severe shortage of registered nurses. Reports show that by 2030, the demand for new registered nurses will reach 1.2 million.

Although graduate nursing programs and nursing schools are scrambling to meet the escalating demand, many hospitals and healthcare facilities have decided to bring in seasoned RNs from Canada and Mexico to fill the positions and meet patient needs.

To attract the best of the best, they have started offering highly competitive pay scales and other perks.

Increasing Need for Civil Engineers

In 2008, the recession caused nationwide layoffs for civil engineers which affected the enrollment of students in engineering programs. A severe shortage of engineers has now occurred. In an effort to meet the growing needs, U.S. employers have started to reach out to civil engineers in Mexico and Canada with job offers for TN visa candidates.

Using the TN Visa Program

If you are a US employer considering hiring a veterinarian, veterinarian technician, civil engineer, or registered nurse using the TN visa program then you probably have questions about the process, cost, prevailing wages, and more.

Below we will explore the most commonly FAQs about a TN Visa:

What is a TN Visa?

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) launched the TN visa program in 1994. The goal of the TN visa was to allow U.S. employers to bring in professional talent from Mexico and Canada to fill job needs. It was later replaced in 2020 by the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA), but the terms are still almost the same.

The framework of the TN visa protects both the employer and the visa applicant.
If you are an employer, you’ll want to work with a TN visa management consultant, such as those with AW Labor Solutions.
The employer will need to provide the following when using the TN visa program to meet their employment needs.
  • A letter explaining the desire to hire a professional to fill a position and the purpose.
  • A document outlining how the TN visa professional will get paid along with the proposed salary.
  • A job offer to the TN visa applicant.
Mexican TN applicants will need to undergo an application process that demonstrates their job qualifications and how they meet the needs of the U.S. employer. They must also show how they fulfill the NAFTA requirements for qualified professionals.

What is the TN Visa Application Process?

Below is the TN visa application process

  • The employer will send a job offer, contract or employment letter to the TN visa applicant.
  • The TN visa applicant must fill out a DS-160 form and present all required official documentation. 
  • Schedule an interview at the U.S. embassy (for Mexican applicants) or undergo an interview at a legal port of entry (for Canadian applicants). 
  • Pay the TN visa fees
  • Receive the TN visa (if the visa application is rejected then the candidate can reapply later).

Are the TN Visa and the H1-B Visa the Same?

The H-1B visa is not the same as the TN visa. In fact, the H1-B visa is overly complicated and only a limited number of the visas are issued (only 65,000 issued per year).

The TN visa is exclusive for Canadian and Mexican professionals who are hired by U.S. employers.

Can the Spouse and Children of the TN Visa Holder Also Enter and Live in the U.S.?

The legal spouse of a TN visa holder may go with the professional candidate to the U.S. Also, any unmarried child under the age of 21 may also accompany the visa holder. However, neither the spouse nor children of the visa holder can be employed in the U.S. The spouse and children are granted a TD visa. Although, with a TD visa they cannot work, the children are allowed to attend school.

What are the Requirements for the TN Visa?
  • All TN visa applicants must be citizens of either Mexico or Canada.
  • The offered job positions must be one of the NAFTA approved professions such as veterinarian, veterinary technician, registered nurse, or civil engineer or one of the other professions 63 specified professional positions outlined in the NAFTA list. 
  • The TN applicant must work either full time or part time for a U.S. employer.
  • The applicant must have the educational and professional requirements for the offered job position. 
  • The position must be temporary (applicant must prove their intent to stay in the country is only temporary).

Hiring a TN Visa Professional

With a labor shortage throughout much of the United States, the TN visa helps create a greater pool of professional conditions for U.S. employers. All an employer needs to do is create a competitive job offer to present to a qualified NAFTA professional visa candidate, draft a contract and provide a letter of employment. After the TN visa is approved, the employer simply continues to meet all compliance requirements.

The Letter of Employment (Employment Contract)

As mentioned, a U.S. employer does not have to meet any prevailing wage requirements when hiring a TN visa professional. They simply must create a letter of employment (also referred to as an employment contract) that says the amount they are willing to pay for the position.

Ideally, a U.S. employer who wants to entice a skilled foreign professional to leave their country and enter the U.S. for employment should pay close attention to the U.S. pay scale. If an employer is not willing to pay a competitive salary, then they will fail at hiring the best candidate for the position.

Hiring Skilled TN Professionals

The U.S. job market has become highly competitive which creates a multitude of challenges for employers. Many available U.S. job seekers lack the skills for specific professional positions.

Offering a competitive pay scale can help ensure finding the right candidate. Also, offering a compensation package also functions as icing on the cake.

Here are just a few ways to attract the best TN professionals for the position:

  • Increase the salary so it is competitive.
  • Commissions or bonuses
  • Profit-sharing opportunities
  • Skills training and development opportunities
  • Flexible work hours
  • Paid time off (PTO)
  • Recognition programs
  • Wellness incentives
  • Activities and events
  • Tuition reimbursement
Company Culture

The hiring process for the TN visa has become crucial. Employers should focus on developing a relationship with the TN candidate and creating connections. Nowadays professionals pay particular attention to company culture. They want to know that the company not only offers a competitive pay scale with perks, but also provides a good cultural fit. Company values create motivation, foster engagement, and help foster a productive work environment.

When creating a job offer for a TN professional, make sure you not only supply a competitive pay scale but also focus on providing information about the company’s values and culture to pique the interest of the candidate.

Greater Flexibility

TN visa professionals want greater flexibility in the workspace to create a real work/life balance. Many want to work outside the typical 8 to 5 workdays. Luckily, employers are paying attention to the demands of their talent. They have become more willing to provide greater work flexibility to foster greater dedication, productivity and attract the best talent for the position.


Are you a U.S. employer seeking TN visa professional candidates for positions? Maybe you are a Mexican or Canadian professional who is interested in working in the U.S. Contact AW Labor Solutions to learn more about our labor assistance and how we’ll help you meet your workforce needs.


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