Job Hunting Tips for New Dental Graduates

This is a guest blog from our friends at ETS Dental.

The date is quickly approaching. Dental students will be graduating in May/June, and Dental Residents will be completing their programs in June. It is an exciting time. New jobs, possible relocation, and the beginning of a whole new life doing what you love to do.

If you are fortunate and have already found a great opportunity, then congratulations. Many future doctors, however, are still on the hunt. As an independent recruiter, who specializes solely in the dental industry (, I want to share with you some tips you may not hear often or at all.

Tips to consider:

  1. Be open minded.  Dentistry is not the same as it was just 5 or 10 years ago, and it definitely is not the same as it was 15+ years ago.  Group practices are growing at an astounding pace, and a shear minority of new graduates start or buy practices immediately after graduation.
  2. Don’t base your decision only on what you hear from classmates.  It is great to bounce ideas and experiences off of each other, but here are a few points.  First, you are all in the same boat and have limited experience with what is out there in the job market.  Second, after graduation you are going in all sorts of different directions.  What doctors experience in New England are different that what you would experience in Texas.
  3. Look at areas one or more hours outside of major cities.  Go suburban or rural. You will find some great opportunities with successful private practices. I speak with a large of number practice owners in these areas who are looking for new doctors interested in future ownership. Their practices are well established and continue to grow, but they really need an associate to keep up the pace. The challenge for these practices is their ability to promote the opportunity due to doctors not actually looking in these locations.
  4. 35% of nothing is nothing!  Dentists for the most part get paid on a % of collections (or production).  High percentages are great if there is a strong patient base, great production, and a supporting owner or managing dentist.  You will be much better working for 28% of collections in a practice with a strong patient base and supporting owner over going into a practice paying 35% where you have to build your own patient base from nothing.
  5. Contracts require negotiation.  When you get an offer it will come with a contract (most likely).  I would almost guarantee that it will not be 100% what you are looking for.  Don’t just turn it down.  If the practice is what you want, and you have develop a good rapport with the owner (manager) you must ask for what you want.  Negotiating however is not one sided and you will have to give a little to get a little.  Compromise!

Written by Carl Guthrie, Western Region Recruiter for ETS Dental.  Contact Carl at | 540-491-9104 | | | |

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