What’s Next: How to Plan for the Dental Career of Your Dreams

An illustration of multi practice options

As you think about the end of dental school, or how to plan your career, you’re probably wondering, “What's next?”

Far too often, I hear dental students say something like, “My only option is to grab the first job I can find. I know I’m going to be miserable while I increase my speed and clinical skills.” But you don’t need to feel that way!

Last week I discussed exactly that during the most recent ADA Practice Transitions Coffee Talk webinar. I offered advice to plan for the dental career you have always dreamed of, including:

  • How to consider different paths (including some that may even offer loan repayment)
  • How to balance your immediate priorities and long-term goals
  • Why you don’t have to rule out buying early in your career
  • Methods to evaluate your options – and keep them open

We also had an active Q&A session, during which we discussed:

  • What are the most important things to consider when negotiating a contract for practice acquisition?
  • I’m thinking about moving out of state after dental school but I don’t have a mentor or any professional connections out of the state I am in. Any advice for how to establish yourself as a new dentist out of state?
  • What is the best way to get ahead business- and finance-wise while in dental school? (See: 5 financial must-dos before buying a dental practice.)
  • What resources are there for finding opportunities?
  • What does an owner look for when hiring? What factors into their decision to hire someone?
  • What should I know about negotiating an associate contract?

Additional resources mentioned during the session

The American Dental Education Association, if you are interested in pursuing a career in academia

The National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards (NCRDSCB), if you are interested in learning one of the twelve recognized specialties

Ebook: What You Need to Know Before Signing that Contract

Guidelines for Practice Success from the ADA Center for Professional Success, to help learn the “business” of dentistry. This can help you better evaluate potential practices!

Should You Take the Money? The True Cost of a Signing Bonus 

What Went Wrong series, with tips to avoid all-too-common scenarios

We also shared a testimonial video from Dr. Jessica Sikora. Dr. Sikora wanted to find the right practice after graduation, but lacked connections in her adopted state of Maine. Through ADAPT, she found the ideal practice where she can get the hands-on mentorship she craves while building the foundation for eventual ownership. As she explained, “If I hadn’t found ADAPT, I probably would have ended up in a group practice and that is not what I wanted.”