Whether you are fresh out of dental school or transitioning in your career, associate positions come with several benefits. Therefore, it is important to be prepared for your interviews to give you the best chances of securing the job offer.
When preparing for an associate position you should make sure you have an updated CV and a summary of your production numbers. This information gives the hiring dentist an idea of your speed, skill set and experience. If you are a new dentist it is a great idea to have a procedure log of your skills from school. Having references is important to show good work relationship in the past. Remember to ask relevant questions about the practice to show enthusiasm, and to write a thank you note following your interview to show sincere interest.
You should make financial arrangements prior to starting as an associate so it is clear how you will be compensated. A dental associate can receive a flat salary, but it is more common for compensation to be based on the percentage of production and/or collections. A typical starting compensation for a general dentist is 30-35%, but this should be discussed with the hiring doctor.
Important tips to remember when you are applying as an associate are:
- establishing a professional contract
- speaking to current or previous associates
- reading reviews about the office.
Being aware of your future work environment is important for your work productivity and growth.
If your office offers a professional contract, be sure to have it reviewed by an attorney to ensure it is well negotiated. Make sure the contract discusses your hours, compensation, any non-compete clauses, emergency coverage, vacation time, continuing education and possible malpractice coverage. Dentist turnover is a good indicator that the practice does not value long-term associates and is a key factor to keep in mind when considering the position. Just like a new patient scouting a new dentist, you are doing your due diligence to ensure this is the right fit for you. Reading reviews from patients will give you insight on how the team treats patients and how the office is received in the public. You want to be in a practice that is well respected in the community because it reflects your reputation.
As a new associate you should expect to be active in securing new patients while the practice works on providing you existing patients. This will help improve your production and collections while increasing your compensation. New associate positions will differ depending on if it is a boutique or high-volume DSO practice. Ultimately most find it an invaluable experience before either opening their own dental practice or securing a long-term compatible associate position.
Comment below if you have any tips for future associate dentists.
By Dr. Anand, DDS | firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t be too proud to accept constructive criticism from the older doc.