Dental Associate Representation

Associate Positions

Trying to locate employment opportunities can have a variety of challenges. Luckily, the dental consultants here at CTC National can help you locate the perfect practice opportunity for you!

Associate Positions

Working as an employed, non-owning associate is the most popular choice among dentists who are just starting their careers. The appeal lies in the ability to build and improve clinical skills, speed, confidence and experience with less risk. Associates may also have the opportunity to learn real-life business and management skills from the host dentists and/or their employer. They recognize all of these benefits come with very little professional or financial risk, aside from the possibility of losing their jobs if they don’t measure up to expectations. They can earn a good living without having to borrow money or manage the practice by themselves. For some, it’s a great way to test-drive dentistry and determine whether they eventually want to own a practice themselves.

Consequently, the decision for many newly licensed dentists is not whether to associate but rather for how long. You may be asking yourselves the same question.

Your answer will likely also answer the next question: Where and with whom you should associate? Some positions will only be temporary, while some will be long term. Many will provide no opportunity for advancement or ownership, while others will eventually require it.

With that in mind, when it comes to associate positions, there are essentially four general options:

  • Option 1: Associate in private practice for either a solo host dentist or a group practice.
  • Option 2: Associate in private practice for a dental management services organization (DMSO).
  • Option 3: Associate in public practice for a government-owned and non-profit clinic.
  • Option 4: Join the military.

Risks & Benefits Of Working As An Associate

Before you make any major career decisions, it’s important that you know the advantages and disadvantages of working as an associate (non-owner) dentist:

Advantages

  • Gain real-life experience with very little risk
  • Pay down personal debt before incurring business debt
  • Work and earn income while starting a practice or looking for practices for sale
  • Improve clinical skills, speed, and confidence
  • Learn business and managerial skills
  • Avoid the risks and responsibilities of practice ownership

Challenges

  • Limited earnings potential
  • Lack of control and autonomy
  • Less than ideal selection of treatment or type of practice

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