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After our graduation, I found myself sitting on the school bench thinking about what I should do next. Will I directly enroll at a review center, find a job, or spend a few months for unwinding and relaxing after the long taxing years at the dental school?
Things like this and more keep popping out my mind. I knew I needed to find a job as soon as possible in order for me to be able to support my living expenses and to start earning for my dental loan. But I also knew that I need to wait for my license to become active before I can start working at the dental corporation I intend to work. Although I have some ideas in mind, I was still so indecisive what to do after graduation.
I know for certain that I am not alone in this endeavor as many fresh graduates are also having this dilemma. This gave me the inspiration to write this simple guide for new graduates and for those who are yet to find their first ever dental job.
Explore your options
There may be more options and work opportunities for you out there than you can imagine. You just have to explore them and discover what will best fit you. You may think of starting your job hunting journey by searching the internet or by using Craiglist. Based on my personal experience, I cannot recommend that you start your job hunting this way.
So, how to start looking for a job as a dentist? The best way to start off your job hunting adventure is to decide first where you want to live. Once you have already decided where to live, that’s the time you look for dental job opportunities within the locality. For me, it is better to start off your career in the countryside or rural areas because there are more opportunities for you to make a decent living there as compared to practicing dentistry in bigger cities.
Private practice or corporate dental office
Which dental route do you want to take? Will you join a private practice or a corporate dental office? This is another important question that you need to answer when deciding where to work. The answer to this question greatly depends on your personal experience, ability, and goal. I suggest you try to explore both routes to know which one is a better fit for you.
Start as an associate
It is not always recommended to jump-start your career by opening your own private practice or joining a corporate practice as a dental professional and claim that what you have learned in dental school and during your internship is enough for you to work independently.
It is always best to start earning experiences first by working as an associate, shadowing a veteran dentist. This gives you opportunities to meet more new faces, to get acquainted with various kinds of patients, to learn the different ways to treat the patients, to get used to using different dental tools more like the dental loupes and headlights, to run a dental office, and to get a feel of the actual dental office setting. It also helps you earn experiences when it comes to handling different dental cases. Needless to say, it prepares you to become a better dental practitioner in the future.