There are numerous reasons a dentist may choose to work as a part-time dentist in multiple practices instead of focusing on only one job. The dentist may be a recent dental school graduate trying to find your niche, or you might be an established dentist who wants to take some time to consider a new location or specialty practice, or maybe a retired dentist who wants to keep your skills up to date.
Whatever the reason, working in part-time dentist jobs is becoming more common. Plus, there are many advantages to working as a temp.
You may not want to tie yourself down to the rigors of a day-in, day-out dental practice. You want some freedom and although a salaried position has some appeal, you think being a temp dentist may be the right fit for you. There are some real benefits to temp work.
Builds confidence. If you are new to the practice of dentistry, one great way to build confidence is to work in different offices and be exposed to different types of practices. You will learn how to be comfortable meeting new people and using your skills in different environments.
Builds your resume. If you are a new graduate, when you do decide to apply for a job as an associate, you will have an impressive resume with your temp work showing the different types of practices where you have worked successfully.
Flexibility in scheduling. You set your own schedule and work when you want to work. You can work part of the year, part of a month, or part of a week. You can generally find the work you want to fit the schedule you want to establish for yourself.
Work when you need the money. As long as you are doing well with your flexible scheduling, you can use this to only work when you need some extra money. This is particularly good for retired dentists who do not want to work full-time anymore but may want to work a few days occasionally to earn a little extra money.
They may want to work only a handful of hours a month to supplement their retirement income or may want to work several weeks at a time. This can work well for a dentist who has a thriving practice but who wants to take an extended vacation. He/she can call on the temp to fill in for the vacation time.
Set your own fee schedule. You will often be filling in for a dentist who, for some reason, has taken off work or cannot come to the office to see patients. It is more expensive and not good public relations to have to call patients to cancel their appointment at the last minute and to reschedule than it is to call in a temp. This means you can set a rate higher than the day rate you would earn if you were a full-time associate. Also, since temps are independent contractors and do not have benefits, they generally earn more than associates who are employees.
Learn from several practices. You may be a new dental school graduate and not sure where you want to practice or what type of dentistry you want to specialize in. Working as a temp gives you the opportunity to learn from working in different practices. You can see what you think will work for you in your own dental practice and also determine what you do not want to incorporate into your own practice.
Temp before becoming an associate. You may have an opportunity to temp and get a firsthand look at a practice where you are considering becoming an associate. Too many dentists accept associate positions only to later feel they made the wrong decision.
If you can temp first, you can get a good feel for the practice which will tell you if you will be a good fit as an associate. You learn if your philosophies and ethics are the same. As one writer expressed it, a temping assignment is akin to kicking the tires on a possible permanent job.
Try out a new geographical location. You may want to try living in a rural area, or another state across the country, or a busy metropolitan area, but you are not ready to make a permanent move. Working as a temp can let you know before you make that expensive move whether the area is where you want to live long-term. Keep in mind that you need to be licensed in whatever state you are working in even if you are only working on a temporary basis.
You have retired but still want to work a few days a month. Many retired dentists are not ready to completely give up the practice of dentistry, but they also do not want to be tied to the practice and be troubled with the day-to-day management of the practice. They want to be relieved of the business part of the practice. They just want to see a few patients, collect their pay, and be done with it.
Review Your Contract for Working as an Independent Contractor
When you work as a temporary dentist, you are generally working as an independent contractor and want to have an ironclad contract for this work. In addition to work advantages, there are tax advantages to being an independent contractor.
You still need a contract that includes how and when you will be paid. The contract needs to be clear about what the expectations are and what tasks will be performed.
It is important that you have the written agreement reviewed by your attorney. You do not want the IRS to come to you one day and say, “No. You were an employee, not an independent contractor.” Our attorneys at Dental & Medical Counsel can help you with this.0
At Dental & Medical Counsel, we work exclusively with dentists, physicians, optometrists, and veterinarians. Some are just beginning their career and others are closing down, selling their practices, and retiring. The dental attorney team at Dental and Medical Counsel is available to help you as you start on this new life adventure in your first job as a dentist. Contact us to set up a complimentary consultation with attorney Ali Oromchian to see how we can help.
At Dental & Medical Counsel, PC, we understand dentists have trouble navigating the legal process. We believe every dentist deserves the best advice and service so doctors can do what they do best, treat their patients. We make dentists' lives easier by providing expert guidance, so they can focus on their personal and professional aspirations.
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