Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Choosing Where to Practice - The Golden Dilemma in Dentistry

In speaking with several doctors recently I am making a renewed effort to better educate job seeking dentists on the markets they would like to live and work in.  Many believe that it's the higher population centers that yield the best opportunities.  It is not.  We've tackled this subject on the Dental Recruiter blog already.  Go to THE GRASS IS GREENER OUTSIDE OF THE CITY for a detailed article written by Marcia Patterson.

I just want to reiterate the fact that you must research the area you want to live and work in.  Many doctors will give you the advice of "move where you want, then find a job."  That is a terrible idea in most cases.  This economy does not afford many people the opportunity to just move to Seattle, for example, and then start knocking on doors.   Look up the dentist to population ratios, average production per dentist, etc.  Speak with recruiters, supply reps, brokers, dental CPAs, etc.  They can give you some localized insight into the demand for dental practitioners in the area.

Don't simply trust the advice of a few classmates or internet boards.  Many of which never even lived or worked in the area(s) you are looking into, but are rather offering advice based on what they have heard through the grapevine.   I speak to doctors everyday in most major metro areas across the Western United States.  I have a good idea what the various regions are like.   If I don't know, I will tell you that, and I will point you to the right person. 

Do your research.  Being close to family, friends, and lots of activities is great, but it is hard to enjoy all of that if you are not in a position that offers you a fulfilling and stable career opportunity.   You need to maintain a healthy family and career balance as a dentist.  Be thorough in your research.  Don't let emotion control the entire thought process. You need to include a lot of hard facts into deciding where it is you want to live and work.

Helpful links:

Carl Guthrie is the Western U.S. Account Executive and Recruiter for ETS Dental.  He can be reached at or 540-491-9104.   ETS Dental is a Denatl Recruiting firm specializing in finding and placing General Dentists, Dental Specialists, and Dental Staff throughout the United States.