My New Dentist Beginner’s Guide: Finding a job

By | November 11, 2015

There I was, sitting on stage at my dental school graduation, with no clue what to do next. I knew that I needed to find a job but it was going to take three months before my license to become active. Three months to do anything felt like a lifetime after becoming accustom to cramming for exams in dental school.

Dr. Byrnes

Dr. Byrnes

I spent the first two months of that break recovering from dental school. With only one month to go before I was finally able to have people call me “Dr. Drew Byrnes” I found a great opportunity in a private practice. I spent the remainder of that month shadowing this dentist. I was there every day, meeting the patients and getting a feel for the office.

Then, when there was only one more week before I could treat my first patient, the dentist sent me an email explaining that he had to let me go because he found someone with more experience who he felt was a better fit. Imagine my panic when I read this news. After years of preparation, here I am on the cusp of beginning my career and I don’t even have a job lined up. Thus began the hustle.

I began looking for a job everywhere. And I mean everywhere. When I explored all of my options to find a job, I turned to the last place that I would expect to find someone looking to hire a dentist: Craigslist (half of you are going to laugh at the idea of finding a job on Craigslist but I bet all of you are going to go check it out for yourselves.)

Fast forward one year and at least five associate positions later and I now own my own private practice. In that year I got a lot of experience learning from many dentists, each with their own way of treating patients and running an office. I will be sharing some of that experience in future blog posts, but for now, I would like to share some of what I learned on my mission to find full-time employment.

If you are just starting to look for a job as a dentist, I do not recommend starting on Craigslist. Start by deciding where you want to live. Generally speaking, there can be some great opportunities to make a good living in more rural areas. In bigger cities, it can often be harder to get new patients. For me, the decision was about being close to family.

Once you decide on a location, you have another big question to answer. Do you want to work in a corporate dental office or in a private practice? I considered working in a corporate office but I knew that my long-term goal was to own a private practice. I decided that the best route for me would be the one that gives me the most experience in a private practice setting. I recommend exploring both because it’s good to keep your options open. In fact, I recommend scheduling any and all interviews that you can. You never know what might turn out to be a good fit or what may fall through last minute. Trust me, it is good to have back ups.

After you decide on a location and have a general idea of how you would like to practice, you can begin your job hunt. Start by contacting anyone that you may know in dentistry in the area that you want to practice. If you grew up there, call your dentist and ask if he or she knows anyone looking to hire an associate. Next, reach out to the supply reps for the dental supply companies in the area (Patterson, Henry Schein, Benco, etc.) These reps know all of the dentists in a given area and they often keep records of which offices are looking to hire. You should also reach out to your local dental organization. Many of them have placement services.

Once you have explored any and all options that involve actually speaking with people, turn to the Internet. Many local and state organizations have online publications that include classifieds. These will often have job listings. The ADA CareerCenter is one online resource for searching dental career opportunities or recruiting dental professionals. You could also try to search the Internet for “dental classifieds” followed by the name of your city. When all else fails, search Craigslist.

Dr. Drew Byrnes is a New Dentist Now Guest Blogger. He graduated from the University of Florida College of Dentistry in 2013. His practice, Dr. Drew Byrnes Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, can be found at 199 E. Welbourne, Ste 200, Winter Park, FL 32789, 1-407-645-4645. In his free time, he enjoys running, spending time with his wife and volunteering with his church and in his community.

64 thoughts on “My New Dentist Beginner’s Guide: Finding a job

  1. Marc E Ottenga, DDS


    Excellent blog posting! Your honesty about your struggle to get established is refreshing. But from observing you at UFCD I knew you would make your way to a successful career in dentistry, however you define success for yourself.

    Well done!

    Dr. O

  2. Stephanie McGann, DMD FAGD FICD

    Join the ADA – go to your local meetings. Like the groups on facebook and network. Nothing beats sitting in a room full of dentists in your area who might be considering an associate.


  3. Jeannie Caserta

    Dr. Drew,
    This was a very interesting account of how to go about procuring employment in a specialized field. Your honesty and options will really help new graduates and give them some pointers. Also, it is really well written!

  4. Matheus Felter

    Hi, Dr. Byrnes! How are you?

    I’m glad I’ve discovered New Dentist Blog – just started my reading of its content today, for this post.

    Living and studying Dentistry here, in Brazil, may be a little bit different in some market aspects, but what I think I’ll found here will probably help a lot in my carreer decisions.

    This post was really really nice! Thank you for sharing your experiences!

    My greetings from Brazil,
    – Matheus.

  5. Pingback: New Dentist Beginners Guide | Dental Assistant Jobs | Dental Jobs 2Day

  6. Pingback: My New Dentist Beginner Guide: Interview early…and often | New Dentist Blog

  7. Kevin Chan

    Great blog post! This is a great primer on how to get started in the dental space. Dr. Byrnes do you have any tools or processes you’d recommend to help with recruitment?

    Thanks so much

  8. Pingback: The Basic Facts of Dental Resume

  9. Ashley Brady The Dental Jobs Site

    They have thousands of jobs available and many of them are positions for dentist! Its FREE to create a Job Seeker account and they will send you email notifications of jobs nearby!!!

  10. Dr. Steffany Mohan

    Great article you have shared. Thank you very much for such a complete guide. Buying a dental practice can be one of the most important milestones in a dentist’s career. First and foremost, is the buyer purchasing the goodwill of the practice (including the patient base) or simply the physical plant. These are two very different transactions. If the goodwill is being purchased, there are many additional factors to consider. A significant part of the value of the practice, of course, arise s from its location. Nice sharing

  11. William Gibson

    What’s wrong with Craigslist? One would not expect to find professional employment on the same site you can find a painter or message therepy.
    Times are changing, after 30 yrs of practice whenever I need to hire an associate my default medium for fast response is always Craigslist. There have been many who have tried to copy what CL does but so far no one has the depth or resources. Heck, it’s only $25 and the exposure is huge.
    The other more trusted , credible site would be
    Good luck to all.

  12. Neha Dalal

    After reading your blog post I got to know how important it is to start well in your career and have job security. Few days back I was looking for jobs and came across comments of Dentzz Review and on the reviews the workplace has been praised a lot by employess.

  13. Michele

    This is a great story I’m glad it worked out for you so well, I have used craigslist for many things in the past especially finding employees. I think people overlook craigslist in the business world because it sometimes has too much spam. If you’re careful about interviewing people and meeting them in a safe place, craigslist can be a life saver.

  14. Richard Alicia

    Do you need a loan? Christmas loan? We give out all kind of loan such as debt loan, business loan, medical loan, home loan, student loan

    Contact us today via E-mail for financial help:

    Best Regards

  15. Richard Alicia

    Do you need a loan? Christmas loan? We give out all kind of loan such as debt loan, business loan, medical loan, home loan, student loan

    Contact us today via E-mail for financial help:
    Text +16193993106
    Best Regards

  16. SAT Dental Care

    Great tips. From the other perspective our practices extensive outreach via social networks like Facebook as well on job portals like Monster. One that we have seen very effective was the local chapters of the ADA. They have local listings for jobs that we’ve seen as very helpful.

  17. Dr. Jason Pitmas

    This was a great read packed with information that will help a lot of people. I have to agree with you and my fellow peers on craigslist. People definitely overlook it. I know some time ago it was something like the 7th most trafficked website in the WORLD. Just like everything else though, along with the good….comes the bad. I have the app on my phone and use it for so many things. Life-saver.

  18. Jacob Davis

    I truly awed by perusing your blog. exceptionally decent and educational. much appreciated again to share this magnificent post.

  19. david pinkhasov

    Nothing wrong with becoming a dental assistant in a dental office while at school. Perfect way to make money at weekends while you are not studying and while you are waiting for the license to come in after you graduate, you have a job – hopefully a full time one with the dentist your working with.

  20. Dr Teresa

    So true! It’s not always easy to get your first associate position out of dental school. The best advice is to connect with a mentor early in your University days. Find a person who is not only a great professional but a great teacher who you can shadow and learn from. You’ll learn so much about how to run a successful dental practice and great chair-side manner. This will for sure increase your chances of getting a position out of dental school. Goodluck to all those undertaking their studies!

  21. Simon @ Authority Dental

    Well, Dr. Drew Byrnes, you’ve certainly earned the practice you have. Great advice for new and aspiring dentists! Using reputable job posting websites (not Craigslist) is smart. And it’s good for young dentists to know they’re not going to “make it” right out of the gate.

  22. EDO

    A lot of new graduates seem to be going to work for group practices. I was wonder what your opinion was on some of the up and coming large group practices, and your thoughts on starting your dental career with one. Thanks!

  23. Rajan

    I hope you will keep writing articles as good as this, so I gained extensive insight. Thanks a lot!

  24. Sam

    I did not get, why did you had to wait for 3 months to get the license active? If you pass the license exam, don’t you get it right away?

  25. Dr. Attalla, Dental House MI

    I have read full guide and I must say as a Dentist, this guide nothing short than perfect for someone starting a new in the Dental profession. HIgh Recommended to everyone who is into this profession.

  26. Peter Mayhew

    For someone who is just starting his dental career, this guide is excellent. There are some real gems in the form of advice here. Thank you for taking the time to write this up, Dr. Byrnes. Best of luck to you.



  27. Deztiny Perez

    Hello Doctor,

    I’m doing an essay about what field of work I would like to be in, and I need a few answers to some questions I have and who wouldn’t be better than a guy who went through the entire process of dentistry himself?!

    I’m currently a High School Senior and I’m taking a few science courses to be prepared, but I don’t know if that’s enough. What things did you do, or do you recommend doing as a high school student who aspires to be a Dentist?

  28. Karl Townsend

    Drew, thanks for sharing your journey. It’s really motivating. And I know at least 5 people in my own circle of friends who have gotten great jobs out of Craigslist. This is especially true for non-corporate type positions. A lot of business owners feel its easier to post jobs on Craigslist compared to some of the larger sites. It’s a real hidden gem that a lot of job seekers often over look.

  29. Miles

    Drew, just to emphasize what the others are saying … I too will share an interesting story w/you regarding Craigslist. Many years ago, I met a gal who brought her pet cat (I even remember the cat’s name – Sophie) to the beach. She drove a few hours from home, arrived at a hotel with a friendly pet policy, and began her week-long stay. During the visit, her cat began bleeding from its gumline causing grave concern. Not knowing what to do, and not wanting to return home early, this gal found a part-time Vet on Craigslist who was able to assist! Yes, Craigslist … and for a cat! So there you go Drew, another crazy story!

  30. KMDSBY

    Thanks for this article. My daughter is a new dentist who has been let go twice and just called saying she was let go for the 3rd time in a little over a year. Our family consist of RNs and Physicians. She is the only Dentist and I just didn’t know what to make of this. I thought all medical fields at the higher end were all sure things. Just knowing this happens to others is extremely helpful. Thanks Again.

  31. M Umer

    as a dentist i can understand that pain you are going through in finding a relevant job, thank you for this amazing guide

  32. Dr.Christopher Phelps

    Great article for newcomers. We really appreciate for sharing this article. I fully agree that selecting dental practice can be one of the important steps in a dentist’s career.

    Thank you again for this article.

  33. Dr. John Havork

    It is very challenging for a new dentist to find a place to work. Opening a practice can have a high cost and not know how to get clients can be scary. We decided to open an emergency dentist’s office because there was little competition. We were open during the hour’s others are usually not. Patients would come in for an emergency and a lot of them would stay on as regular patients.

  34. Simran Kaur

    Helpful article! I have graduated from dentistry and looking for a job too! Thanks your article helped me in looking into the important aspects.

  35. Jim Harmer

    What I’d be more curious about is, what if you have a dental issue while camping in the wilderness? Craigslist could be one of only a few ways to reach a local dentist. It’s crazy to think about, but things happen during the most unexpected times.

  36. EDC

    So true that applying for a job online has its problems. For one thing often a position will get hundreds of applications. Then, the employer really wants to find someone who is networking to find fill the position anyway. After all, the person who is out looking for a job demonstrates many desirable attributes.
    As you say, it’s possible to get a job on Craigslist, just do your self a favor and do your networking as well.
    Thanks for your great post!

  37. Dr. Bharat Katarmal Jamnagar

    After reading this post, the way I always give my advice to younger dentist near me is changed somewhat. Really you have shared great idea and your experiance, It is really very intresting.
    Thank you

  38. Beth Vander Schaaf

    As a dentist myself, i can understand each and every aspect challenges that any newcomer dentist face. The way you desribed yourself via this blog is commendable. Kudos to you.

  39. Dr. Rohan Virani

    Right from the start the blog was very engaging, Dr. Byrnes. The narration and your story is truly great. Thank you for sharing your story with us! Best wishes from Mumbai.

  40. Kelly Hubbard

    First of all thank you so much for this post and really I was looking for the same information from last few days. I want to start my blog and to be very specific I want to start self-hosted word press blog.

  41. rachel frampton

    I would like to look for a dentist that will be able to clean my teeth because they’re already yellowish. Thank you for sharing here as well the importance of considering the dentist’s location. I also agree with you that their track record must be considered too.

  42. Aryan

    Great blog post! Got some amazing information on how to get started in the dental space thanks for sharing

  43. Marwah

    Your story is inspiring, One of the cons of working in Dental private practice is that you can get fired at any time.
    An option would be to search for jobs online job platforms. You can even search for Dental Jobs in other countries for example Dental Jobs in the UK.
    Dental Jobs in the UK


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.