Orthodontists are bucking the system by working for themselves

In US News’ 2015 career rankings, orthodontist is listed as the fourth best healthcare job. With a median salary of $187,200, below-average stress, and above-average flexibility, a career in orthodontics looks promising.

Whether you’re an established orthodontist or just starting out, your career decisions could have long-lasting effects. Many orthodontists open their own practices as soon as they finish school, but others delay that step or skip it altogether. Business ownership isn’t for everyone, and today’s gig economy makes work more customizable than ever before. Many orthodontists are using high-tech tools to work for themselves without the burdens of owning a traditional practice or the rigidity of working exclusively for another dentist.

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Give yourself a chance to prepare.

Jumping into practice ownership can set an orthodontist up for failure. If you want to own a practice, taking time to gain experience and learn about business ownership will pay off in the long run.

Many orthodontic graduates feel unprepared for business ownership. Orthodontic Products Report’s summary of the Bentson Clark & Copple 2013 Residents’ Survey demonstrates this. The survey found that 19% of residents rated their orthodontics programs as “poor” or “very poor” in terms of preparation for practice ownership. Of those who planned to buy a practice, the majority (67%) had not yet identified a practice to purchase.

Working as a locum tenens, temp, or insourced orthodontist is easier than ever before with Cloud Dentistry, a cloud-based platform that lets orthodontists control their careers with incredible flexibility. When you use this cloud-based job matching platform, you’re in control of your calendar and daily schedule. It’s ideal for the orthodontist who needs flexible scheduling and for the orthodontist who wants to fill his or her week with hourly jobs. It’s also a great place to find temp-to-hire and associate positions. These kinds of jobs can buy you time and help you learn more about the industry before becoming an entrepreneur.

Money matters. A lot.

In an article for Forbes, LearnVest describes the situations of professionals with “massive student loan debt.” Certified Financial Planner Katie Brewer praises Dr. Amy Vlachakis’ decision to delay opening her own practice: “It's impressive that Amy has only been out of school for six years, and she's already paid off about 40% of her student loans. Waiting a few years to start her own practice was probably a good call because she was able to make some serious headway paying them back.”

Dr. Vlachakis’ situation could apply to any dentist, orthodontist, or other dental specialist. If you plan to open your own practice but still have student loans, consider working as an associate or as an insourced specialist for a general dentist. Putting a large dent in your loans right away could make a big difference in the long run.

Bank of America has a report that identifies a range of start-up costs for new dental practices: a whopping $200,000 to $500,000. The author, respected financial expert John Fiore, recommends maintaining an associate position a few days a week while growing a new practice. This helps the dentist retain a steady income during the rocky start-up period.

It seems that many orthodontists could use some extra time to save up between graduating as a doctor of dental surgery and purchasing or starting a practice. Fortunately, those who take advantage of today’s high-tech job matching tools can take their careers into their own hands without jumping into practice ownership right away. Cloud Dentistry gives specialists like orthodontists and dental surgeons the power to fill their work week with lucrative jobs whether they’re saving up to buy a practice or working to get a new practice off the ground.

Skip the stress and reap the rewards.

While many orthodontists want to own their own practices, some may decide that it’s not worth the financial sacrifice and stress. Working part-time, temp, locum tenens, or full-time associate jobs are all possibilities for the orthodontist who is not ready for or not interested in owning a business.

Fortunately, today’s online solutions make these options better by putting the power in your hands. Why pound the pavement, search job boards, comb through your network, and sign on with temp agencies? Instead, you can build your brand online. Cloud Dentistry lets you manage your own profile, set your own rates, display reviews of your work, and communicate directly with practices to find just the right match.

What’s your “why”?

Perhaps you went into orthodontics because you’re interested in the clinical aspects and orthodontia. Maybe you’re a true helper who wants to support your dental patients’ health and make a difference in their lives. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to own your own practice and take on both clinical and entrepreneurial work.

Whatever your reasons, thinking outside the box and working for yourself can help you achieve your goals. Whether you want to delay practice ownership until the time is right or forgo the practice entirely, working with Cloud Dentistry can help you focus on what matters most. Create your free profile and get started today.

Trey Tepichin graduated from Duke University with a B.S. in biology and economics and a minor in chemistry. He went on to obtain his J.D. from Harvard Law School. While in law school, he taught two years of introductory micro- and macro-economics at Harvard and was awarded with three Certificates of Distinction in Teaching.

A successful commercial and securities litigator in Boston for nearly ten years, Trey secured numerous multimillion-dollar victories for his clients, which included everything from pharmaceutical companies to individual investors to manufacturers. As a lawyer and economist, Trey understands the intricacies of creating new markets, handling employment matters and maximizing business efficiencies.

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