As a new dentist, you will have many professional options after graduating from dental school. One of these options is joining an existing office as an associate dentist. Although it may seem like an ideal route for you, it may provide some challenges if the future associate and the practice owner do not discuss — and put in writing — important hiring agreements such as compensation, benefits, laboratory expenses, supplies and future purchase terms.
During the interview process, both the owner and the potential associate should be prepared with a list of specific questions to discuss in a variety of areas, such as:
- What is the practice vision? Does it align with what you want?
- How are you going to be mentored by the practice owner, not only in materials used or patient care decisions, but also in business management and staff relations?
- How will you be assigned patients?
- What is their plan for you after the associate period ends?
If the situation is one where you will eventually buy the practice from the owner, or become a co-owner, then you should ask to see the financial and tax information and the valuation report. This may even include preparing the papers needed to complete the transfer of ownership down the road. Going through this extra step during the interview process may help to eliminate hassles and misunderstandings in the future.
The ADA Center for Professional Success has more information for new dental students seeking an associateship including a podcast created by William Prescott, an attorney with over 20 years of experience representing dentists in practice transition negotiations.
~The ADA Center for Professional Success
This content is sponsored and does not necessarily reflect the views of ASDA.