Dental Career

How to Land Your Dream Job After Dental School

Dental Career

How to Land Your Dream Job After Dental School

Landing her dream job, a female CDP dentist smiling at a pediatric patient chairside.

At the beginning of your dental school journey, it’s all about passing tests and finding placement in a program. While studying, it’s easy to develop tunnel vision and focus on getting through each assignment, class, and clinic hour with little thought for the future. All this hard work prepares you for a great career, but how do you go about finding a job after dental school, and when should you start looking?

Finding a Job After Dental School

Take a quick tour of any dental student forum online, and you’ll see no shortage of people asking how to find their first job after dental school. Sure, there are sites like Indeed, Zip Recruiter, and even Craigslist. However, there are better ways to find inroads to great dental jobs.

Narrow Down Your Options

There are three paths to finding your first job as an associate: 

  1. Finding a private practice to join
  2. Signing on with a group
  3. Working for a corporate practice

Each has its own pros and cons, which you should consider carefully. Have a clear picture of your future long-term career path and what you hope to achieve. 

Private practices sometimes won’t have the patient load for you to gain the experience or the paycheck you desire. Corporate settings may overwork and undervalue you, leading to burnout early in your dental career. Working for an independent DSO like Community Dental Partners can start your career off strong. CDP is a great middle ground. We offer a higher starting salary than most private practices and more support than corporate practices. If your career vision includes becoming a practice owner, sign onto a job that will help get you there.

CDP employees at a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new Smile Magic dream job practice opening.

There Are Multiple Paths to Practicing Dentistry 

Of course, some new graduates choose to forego the associate path altogether. You could always go straight for practice ownership straight out of school. However, this can be difficult with no real-world experience and a massive student loan burden adding to the financial risks. Some students pursue academia, go into a Ph.D. program, or work in research. Again, some work experience can only augment your potential in these paths.

Set Yourself Up for Success: Make Job Connections While You’re in Dental School

While waiting for your license to arrive before starting your job search may seem logical, this strategy may work against you. Now more than ever, practices are recruiting students earlier. Some students sign their contracts in their fourth or third year of dental school before taking board exams. These types of arrangements are contingent upon your continued success in your program and eventual licensure.

There is no such thing as “too early” when laying down the groundwork for your career. You can start building relationships and connections with employers and job recruiters while you’re in school. CDP strives to help you do exactly that. We meet with students at many dental schools to give you the best chance at locking in your dream job even before you graduate. After all, having a great job lined up means one less thing to worry about when facing finals and boards!

Speak with a CDP Hiring Manager

Knowing Where to Look: How to Find Dental Jobs

Most communities and metropolitan areas have a dental society. If you want to live in a specific area, it’s worth adding your name to the dental society list and checking their job postings. The ADA website’s CareerCenter has job postings from ADA members and a Marketplace with practices for sale or lease.

Take advantage of any recruiting events on your campus to meet and get a feel for potential employers. Don’t hesitate to approach recruiters if you think their organization is right for you! Good positions are going much quicker than they have in the past. That’s why you should consider signing as soon as possible to ensure you get your dream job and ideal location locked in before you graduate!

If you’re interested in working for a particular practice, try to build a relationship with that practice by shadowing. And don’t neglect any dental supplies representatives on campus! They frequently have a lot of knowledge regarding who’s hiring. They also know who to avoid.

Dentist at his dream job, working on patient with dental assistant sitting chairside.

Keys to Landing Your Dream Job After Dental School: Interview Essentials

Once you find a practice with a location that works for you, with opportunities to take your career where you want to go and great support for newcomers, you’ll want to be ready to land that dream dental job. Just like searching for positions, it is never too early to prepare for interviews.

Get familiar with the types of questions and how to show up as your best self with recruiters and employers. We know you’ve seen patients all day or been in dental school, but try to make time for self-care and rest. You know all the rules for preparing for significant events and general physical preparations for a dentist job interview are no different.

Know What You Want in an Employer

It also helps to prepare your questions for your dental job interview. You’ll know what you have to offer a potential employer, but be clear about what you need from them. To find your dream job after dental school, you must know what that dream is! Sit with yourself and try to visualize your perfect working situation. 

  • Where would you want to live? 
  • What type of patients are you most excited to treat? 
  • What kind of hours are you willing to put in?
  • How much compensation are you hoping to earn?

Having a clear vision is the first step to finding your dream job. Write down some key points and be ready to find an employer who meets many of your criteria. And remember, you bring a lot to the table! You will be a fresh, energetic team member with the latest knowledge of the best techniques and protocols. You deserve to find your dream dental job straight out of school! 

That’s why CDP focuses so much on recruiting talented new graduates with excellent interpersonal skills. We think you’ll find CDP to be your perfect fit! Schedule a call with a Hiring Manager to learn more about finding a job after dental school.

Tiffany Green
Tiffany Green Director of Clinical Recruiting Community Dental Partners

A graduate of Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business Operations Management and Marketing and the University of Texas at Arlington’s MBA and MS Program’s Operations Management and Human Resources departments.

For over 12 years, Tiffany has been a leader within the Human Resource space by creating impact from talent management and system implementation to employee relations and training & development.

Today, Tiffany is the Director of Clinical Recruiting at Community Dental Partners. She manages the full doctor and hygienist recruiting life cycle. She leads and supports the development of CDP's new recruiting platform to create strategic brand awareness.

Tiffany lives in Texas with her family; her husband and three children. She enjoys spontaneous adventures with her family, natural wellness, living life with gratitude, and a good cup of coffee. Tiffany is excited to connect doctors and hygienists with opportunities to make fundamental tangible changes in people's lives while fulfilling her passion for making the whole world smile!

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