What is an FTE?

You will often hear faculty describe their time in “FTE.”  What does that even mean?  Well it is simple, actually.  FTE stands for full time equivalent.  1.0 FTE = full time.

For example:  0.8 FTE clinical, 0.2 FTE research/admin = 80% time clinical, and 20% research/admin.

OR, a part-time person, may say that they are reduced FTE  and work 0.75FTE = work 75% of the time.

OR if an group says they are looking to hire 3.5 FTE, that means that they have 3 full time, and 1 half-time position available (or some combination thereof).

Simple, right?

Careful though, each institution defines its FTE units differently.  What that means is that 1.0 FTE may mean vastly different amounts of clinical hours at different places.  So comparing 1.0 FTE at 2 institution is like comparing apples to oranges.  When comparing different programs, make sure to try your best to translate the time into equivalents (i.e. weeks/year, hours/year).

Faculty tracks…general concepts to keep in mind

If you are looking at a University-affiliated institution and a faculty position, this will matter.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about faculty tracks:

  • What are the different tracks available?
  • In what track are most of the hospitalists in?
  • Can you change tracks? And how does that work?
  • What is the expectation for promotion in the tracks? What happens if you don’t reach that goal by the expected time?

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