5 Things to Consider When Looking at Associate Jobs

Here are 5 things you should consider when evaluating associate jobs.
5 Things to Consider When Looking at Associate Jobs
Photo by Atikah Akhtar / Unsplash

Looking for a new associate job can be intimidating, especially when you're a new grad fresh out of school. Here are five things you should consider when evaluating a job (in no particular order and by no means a comprehensive list).

Number of New Patients

You need to know roughly how many new patients the office gets per month. This is important to make sure the office is busy enough to fill your schedule (as this will most likely affect your compensation). The number varies depending on whether the office is FFS, PPO, Medicaid, etc. A general good rule of thumb for a mostly PPO office is about 25-35+ new patients per month, per doctor working there.

Type of Practice

You also need to know what type of patients make up the practice. Is the practice heavy on PPO insurances? Are they mostly FFS? You should get a rough percentage of the mix as this will change the pace, dynamics, and fee schedules.

Type of Procedures

Consider what kind of procedures makes up the practice. Are they primarily a bread and butter office? Or do they do a ton of molar endos and implants, expecting you to do them too? Does your skillset align with the type of procedures they do? Do you enjoy the procedures they do? Can you bring new skillsets to the practice? The last thing you want to do is join a heavy pulpotomy/SSC practice when your true passions are implants and surgery.


The owner(s) ultimately control the culture and environment of the office. You really need to get to know the owners and what their goals are. Are they hiring you to solo run the office while they disappear and work on another practice? Or will they be here working alongside you, mentoring you in new procedures, etc. Do their interests match with your interests?

Previous Associate(s)

After you check to see if the office can even handle another associate, you need to know if they had associates in the past. Did they leave in good terms? Why did they leave? What kind of procedures were they doing and roughly how much were they producing? Can you match or exceed their production? These are all things you should poke around and ask to prevent any future surprises or unknown expectations.

As mentioned above, this is by no means a full comprehensive list. For a more thorough checklist, check out our New Dental Grad Starter Kit and check out our New Dental Grad course, all available for free. Got any other tips? Share them in the comments below.

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