Ready to start looking for a dental associateship? Here are some questions to consider.

When is the best time to start my search?

It can take a full year to find the right position, so you need to begin searching 6 months to a year prior to your availability. Even though it is just a job you are looking for, you will most likely be signing a contract which will prevent you from competing with that practice. You want to make sure that you are making an informed, thoughtful decision before accepting a position. This process shouldn’t be rushed and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Should I look for a position close to home or where I want to live?

Keep in mind that you will most likely sign a non-compete when you accept a job working in a practice. If you want to purchase a practice in the future, you don’t want that non-compete to prevent you from buying a practice in an area that you want to spend your career at. We recommend that you look for a job a little further away from where you ultimately want to be. You could even spend time working in an under served area where you wouldn’t want to practice long-term. If your goal is to find an associateship in a practice where you can eventually buy-in, you might consider looking closer to home. However, most associateships don’t typically end up in ownership.

Do I need a C.V. and references?

Yes! Your C.V. will serve as your first impression to a potential employer. You will also want to create a cover letter to go along with your C.V. Having references ready from the beginning will help show that you are prepared. Make sure each person you put on your list knows that you have included them as a reference and are prepared to take calls from potential employers. Your references can be former employers, teachers, or co-workers. In addition to having a C.V. and list of references, be prepared to show your production numbers. If you are just getting out of dental school or still in school, a procedure log will work as well. This shows a potential employer what your skill set and experience is.

Are there options to work outside of Corporate Dentistry?

Corporate dentistry, or DSOs, spend a lot of time and money recruiting young dentists to work for them. Most offer competitive compensation packages that are very enticing for recent graduates that have lots of debt to pay off. However, there are plenty of opportunities if you prefer the private practice model. In private practice, you will most likely have a better opportunity to be mentored and the focus will be more on patient care then hitting production goals. Both models have their pros on cons, but if you are interested in going the private practice route, take the time to seek out those opportunities. They are out there.