Dental associateships are a great way to break into the industry and start growing your career. Here's some of what you need to know about associateships and how to get one.
Dental Associateships Explained
A dental associateship is one of the most frequently entered career paths for new dentists. Instead of opening a new practice, a dentist will work as an employee for another dentist or group of dentists. The details of what an associateship involves differ from practice to practice, but often, new dentists are looking to secure an associateship that provides them with the opportunity to transition into the practice. Make sure to get your associateship contract in writing and review with a local attorney to protect your interests now and in the future.
What Dentists Look for in an Associate
To successfully obtain a dental associateship, you need to be the kind of dentist that other dentists who are hiring are looking for. A good candidate for an associateship likely has:
The associate dentist should have a similar approach to treatment and goals that align with those of the hiring dentist. For example, it's important that both the associate and the hiring dentist are on the same page about the length of employment. Is this a temporary position or a long-term one? It can be frustrating to find out later that an associate was only intending on short-term employment and the hiring dentist was looking for someone long-term, or vice versa.
Willingness to Bear Responsibility
Hiring dentists are often looking for associates who are willing and able to take on some of the responsibility of managing and operating the practice. This can include splitting on-call duties, completing important paperwork, or overseeing parts of the practice.
Enthusiasm and a Good Attitude
Dentists look for associates who are enthusiastic about the opportunity to learn how to grow their skills as a dental provider. They want to work with someone who brings a good attitude to the practice and contributes to a positive work environment. Those qualities can be beneficial to both staff members and patients.
Since most associate dentists are just starting their careers, they lack the ability to include a lot of experience on their resumes. Hiring dentists often compensate for this by looking deeper into the associate's references. Good references can indicate that an associate will be able to learn the skills needed to be a successful dental provider.
Interest in Community Involvement
When an associate dentist becomes involved in the community, it reflects well on the practice overall and may help to bring in new patients. Practice owners don't often have time for this kind of PR, and they appreciate associates who do.
Good Listening Skills
Dentists are most interested in working with associates who are open listeners and are able to implement feedback given to improve their skill set.
Confidence During the Interview
A good interview can sell a dentist on an associate, even if their resume didn't initially impress them. Dentists are more likely to hire associates who do well under the pressure of a face-to-face conversation.
How to Find a Dental Associateship
You can locate associateship opportunities a few different ways:
Dental School Alumni Connections
Touch base with your past professors and other dental school alumni to see if they know of associateship opportunities in the area. Many dental schools maintain a website with job postings, making this process much simpler than asking around.
Local Continuing Education & Networking Opportunities
Find local, regional, or even national dental society meetings and attend them. Chat with dentists who are attending the meeting and let them know you're looking for an associateship opportunity. Hand out your business cards like candy! You can also do this with continuing education meetings where vendors set up shop to talk with dental community professionals.
The American Dental Association (ADA) Career Center
The ADA Career Center is an excellent resource for finding a dental associateship. The Career Center offers a vast database of current job listings across the nation. It's updated frequently, so you can be confident that you're browsing the most recent available positions.
It's important to note, however, that the Career Center shouldn't be your only resource, despite how comprehensive it may seem. Since the job postings are advertised nationwide, there's a great deal of competition for associateships, especially those in highly desirable locations or well-known practices.
Landed Your Associateship? Get Started On the Right Foot
If you've successfully landed a dental associateship, congratulations! Now it's time to get started on the right foot. Show up to work each day with confidence and a great attitude, and look for opportunities to learn new skills. Listen to the guidance given by the hiring dentist and consider them a wealth of knowledge and experience that will help to further your career. Strive to not only meet their expectations but to exceed them.
About Treloar & Heisel
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