Become an Associate or Independent Contractor

If you’ve found an associate or independent contractor opportunity, use the checklist below to guide your transition and develop a plan of action. Be sure to click on each action item for a list of supporting tasks and resources.

Still searching for associate or independent contractor opportunities? Start with this checklist.

Please note: This checklist is for your informational use and not intended to replace the advice of professional advisors and specialists, including, but not limited to, attorneys and certified public accountants.

Prepare for possible interviews via phone or web conferencing software
  • Learn as much as you can about the practice/organization (e.g., mission statement, philosophy, goals, community, patient-base, staff information, etc.)
  • Write a list of questions to ask during the interview
  • Anticipate potential interview questions and make note of specific examples to support your responses

Helpful Resources:

Schedule a visit/interview to the practice or facility
  • Request an itinerary before the visit
  • Gather documents to bring with you (CV/résumé, credentials and certifications, references, letters of recommendation)
  • Tour the office or facility including satellite locations (consider the office/facility size and design, equipment, operations, the ability to accommodate another orthodontist, accessibility, parking, surrounding neighborhood, transportation, and businesses nearby)
  • Ask questions about the practice/organization and get to know your potential colleagues and staff
  • Explore the community (consider educational, recreational, and cultural facilities, cost of living, availability of housing, and climate)
Send “thank you” emails or handwritten letters after each interview or visit
  • Show appreciation for the employer’s time and consideration
  • Reiterate your interest in the opportunity and the practice/organization
  • Restate your qualifications for the position
  • Provide any information that may have been requested during the interview
Gather enough information to make an informed decision if and when you receive an offer
  • Information about the practice/organization
    • What can you infer from the practice/organization’s financial information? (e.g., income, expenses, growth history and potential)
    • What is the current patient load?
    • Is there sufficient income, number of patients, and space to accommodate another orthodontist?
    • What treatment methods are used?
    • What is the reputation of the practice/organization? Can you find online reviews or articles about the practice?
    • Other considerations include: location, staff, systems, marketing strategies, policies, procedures
  • Information about the owner and/or potential colleagues
    • Based on your discussions and interactions, do you feel a sense of compatibility and relatability with the individuals at the practice/organization?
    • What is their practice philosophy? Is it similar to your own?
    • Do they share similar values and interests?
    • What are they seeking in an associate?
    • Other considerations include: professional affiliations, continuing education, and volunteer roles
  • Information about the associate arrangement
    • What is the legal classification of the position? (e.g. employee or independent contractor)
    • Is it full-time or part-time?
    • What is the length of the agreement and termination process?
    • Will the associate have any management or decision making authority/responsibilities?
    • What is the method for compensation? (e.g., base pay, percentage of production or collections)
    • Other considerations include: benefits, work schedule, use of facilities, expenses, patient care, non-compete clause, buy-in or buy-out option, policies and procedures

Helpful Resources:

Request a draft of the employment agreement after receiving an offer and review with an attorney
  • Ensure the employment agreement matches the arrangement discussed
  • Share any expectations and reservations with all parties involved
  • Work with the attorney and prospective employer to negotiate changes to an agreement (if necessary)

Helpful Resources:

Accept the offer and sign the employment agreement when mutual satisfaction is reached between both parties
Understand federal and state laws, regulations, and requirements and obtain necessary licenses
  • Obtain your state dental license and DEA license (if needed)
  • Apply for National Provider Identification (NPI)
  • Understand HIPAA, OSHA, infection control, and waste management regulations
  • Apply for life, health, disability, and malpractice insurance
  • Understand anti-kickback statutes and self-referral (“Stark”) laws that may apply to you

Helpful Resources:

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