Determining Your Career Path After Orthodontic Residency

By: Shannon Patterson, CPR, CMSR
Kolbe Certified™ Consultant
Director of Practice Opportunities

You have taken that step in identifying a career that appeals to you, but deciding your next step may still be the missing piece of your puzzle. There are many factors you need to examine and decisions you need to make as you approach your final year. You should be asking yourself a few questions:
 
Where Do I Want to Live?
This is extremely important for those who have a family. Being in agreement about where you would like to practice is a decision that should be made with your spouse. Does the community culture align with your beliefs and values? Ask yourself if the area meets your interests and financial needs. Making sure you and your family will be “happy” is a key factor when deciding where you want to practice. 
 
What Are My Short-Term and Long-Term Goals?
Making a career plan takes time and effort on your part. Commit to establishing your expectations and objectives as you seek an opportunity. Remember who you are and why you chose this career.
 
Do I Want to Practice as an Associate in a Private Practice?
Ask yourself if you desire mentorship from a senior doctor. Do you see yourself working with this potential employer? Do your personalities “mesh”? Make it a point to visit the practice and see if the culture is a good fit for you. Observe the interaction between the staff and the patients. Can you see yourself practicing in that environment?
 
Am I Willing to Work for a DSO (Doctor Service Organization)?
If you are wanting to focus solely on orthodontics, corporate may be a better choice. In some cases, you can negotiate a schedule and salary that are guaranteed regardless of the organization’s ups and downs. As with a private practice, just be sure to find the right fit.
 
Would I Like an Equity-Minded Associateship Opportunity?
This is an opportunity to consider for an orthodontist that desires to own their own practice in the somewhat near future. You are able to come in as an associate and “get your feet wet” by getting to know the patients and learning about the ins and outs of the practice you would one day be a partner in. Understand that non-competes in most states will be required and are enforceable.
 
Should I Purchase an Orthodontic Practice?
Financially speaking, is this possible for you? This path does allow you the ability to control your own schedule and usually maximize income. However, the freedoms of having your own practice come with a price. As a small business owner, you have many responsibilities that come along with that title and there are many resources available for you to get help in these areas.
 
This is an important decision that simply comes down to making sure you stay true to yourself by seeking the best opportunity for you and your family. Know who you are, choose a location, identify the right practice, and begin your journey in confidence.


The insights above address many questions to ask yourself when determining a long-term or short-term orthodontic career path. You are not alone on this journey, there are many reputable companies providing guidance when exploring all the available career options, including Bentson Copple & Associates! 

Whether you are a new resident, a resident approaching the completion of your orthodontic program, an experienced doctor seeking a new opportunity, or looking to purchase a practice – our experienced placement specialists are here to help you!
 
Our Placement Services are provided at no cost, and our candidates can expect a high-level engagement process with our recruiters, who are knowledgeable about the opportunities they represent and current industry trends. Our team is here to help make your future orthodontic journey as successful as possible! We also have an up-to-date, comprehensive list of available orthodontic jobs and career opportunities on our website, that range from orthodontic practices for sale, associateship positions, and orthodontic employment opportunities – both full-time and part-time.

Physician Mortgage Loans: Flexible Home Mortgage Lending for Doctors & Dentists

By: Shannon Patterson, CPR, CMSR
Kolbe Certified™ Consultant
Director of Practice Opportunities

You just finished orthodontic residency. You have borrowed hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for your education and you are about to move to start your new career. Can you afford to buy a home when you get there?

Many of you have borrowed more for school than you will earn in your first two years of your employment but you are about to start a career that promises job security and a high salary, so can you afford to buy a home? What are your options? One option I recently heard about is a “physician mortgage loan” and I want to share this information with young doctors who are starting their careers but also have a desire to have some equity in a home.  

What is a physician mortgage loan?

A physician or “doctor” mortgage is a special loan program that a lender puts in place to attract high-income clients by allowing health care professionals such as doctors and dentists to secure a mortgage with fewer restrictions than a conventional mortgage. The physician loan program is a low to no down payment mortgage designed for physicians, dentists, and other eligible medical professionals. The program is a great home financing option for doctors because they offer jumbo loan balances and relaxed debt-to-income ratios without private mortgage insurance (PMI). PMI is typically required for loans where the down payment amount is less than 20%. Physician home loans are also known as doctor loans, doctor home loans, and doctor mortgage loans. 

Does an orthodontist qualify for physician loans?

Yes, all physician loan programs are available to medical doctors with M.D. or D.O. degrees and some are available to dentists and orthodontists with D.D.S. or D.M.D. degrees. Lenders and banks realize that becoming a doctor or dentist is a long process, so the lending criteria can vary depending on how far along the borrower is in training or career development. Physician mortgage loans are primarily for doctors purchasing their first home or refinancing a primary residence. They are not intended for purchasing a second or vacation homes. 

How does a physician mortgage loan work?

Physician loans differ from conventional mortgages in three ways: They don’t require PMI, which traditional loans do require.  On large loan amounts, the PMI can add hundreds of dollars to the monthly payment, a physician loan frees up that money so it can go toward other expenses including student debt.  Physician loans are also more flexible with debt-to-income ratios and they accept residency contracts as verification of employment. 

Debt-to-income ratio: When lenders review a mortgage application, typically they scrutinize the borrower’s debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, which is the percentage of monthly income that goes toward paying off debts.  Applicants with a high DTI are flagged riskier than applicants with a low DTI.  We are all well aware that orthodontists, especially early in their careers, will have a high DTI ratio due to education debt in the six-figures, making it difficult to qualify for a mortgage.  However, some physician loan programs do not count medical/dental school debt if the payments are deferred or in forbearance for a certain period, this reduces the DTI making it easier to qualify for a loan. 

What do you need to qualify for a physician loan?  

You will need employment verification and proof of income. Mortgage lenders typically require borrowers to prove that they’re working and earning income. Typically, loan applicants that are about to be hired but have not actually worked do not qualify for a loan. However, physician mortgage loans are the exception. Lenders will allow the borrower to show an employment agreement as proof of employment even before their job begins and some lenders will even lend to borrowers that work as independent contractors.  

How do you find a physician loan?

When getting any type of mortgage, it is always best to shop around, starting with the bank or credit union with which you already have a relationship. Unfortunately, many lenders tend to keep this program secret and the information is not easy to find, below is a list of Physician lenders who extend their programs to Dentists (DMD/DDS):

Bank of Nashville (AL, FL, GA, SC, TN, NC, and MS) 

Bank of America (All 50 states) 

Regions Bank (TX, IA, MO, AR, LA, IL, IN, KY, TN, MS, AL, GA, FL, VA, NC, and SC) 

SunTrust Bank (AL, AR, DE, FL, GA, MD, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV, and DC parts of NJ and PA) 

Lake Michigan Credit Union (Michigan Only) 

BBVA/Compass Bank (AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, ID, KS, LA, MA, NM, NV, OK, OR, PA, RI, TN, TX, VA, and WA) 

Horizon Bank (MI, IN, and IL)

 

Burnout Syndrome: Signs, Symptoms, & Strategies

Orthodontist Burnout Syndrome - Signs, Symptoms, & StrategiesBy: Shannon Patterson, CPR, CMSR
Kolbe Certified™ Consultant
Director of Practice Opportunities

Practicing orthodontics is an important and rewarding career path that attracts some of the nation’s brightest and most driven individuals. Unfortunately, it is also an increasingly challenging and stressful profession with a high rate of job burnout. Sadly, through the years our firm has been involved with transitions that lost an orthodontist due to suicide, and it’s absolutely heart-wrenching. Something I have noticed in the last year is that burnout is on the rise for younger orthodontists and even residents due to financial stressors, student loans, uncertain work future, and the ever-changing dental landscape.

Let’s start with understanding why dental providers are more prone to professional burnout, anxiety, and depression. Two major reasons are the nature of their practice and their personality traits. Orthodontists work in a high risk and emotionally charged profession, characterized by long hours and physical demands, but most importantly many of you have a self-imposed unrealistic demand for precision and perfectionism. A research study conducted on dentists based on the Meyers Briggs personality test showed that dental providers tend to be ISTJ or ESTJ, which are often considered to be the “type A” personalities. Don’t take that the wrong way, that “type A” personality is what got you through years of a demanding education but also means you may be more likely to experience burnout.

Burnout Syndrome is characterized by emotional exhaustion, loss of enthusiasm for work, feelings of depersonalization, and a low sense of accomplishment. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take years to develop this syndrome, younger doctors, and even residents can experience these feelings. Staying self-aware and learning to identify the emotional, physical, and behavioral signs of burnout will help, the most common symptoms of burnout are:

• Loss of motivation
• Feeling helpless, trapped, or defeated
• Detachment
• Increased cynical or negative outlook
• Decreased satisfaction or sense of accomplishment
• Feeling tired and drained most of the time
• Tiredness that does not respond to adequate rest
• Withdrawal from responsibilities
• Isolating from others
• Procrastinating
• Skipping work or coming in late and leaving early

How can you combat burnout? First, do not be reluctant to ask for help or more importantly be ready to offer support to a colleague who is showing signs of burnout. At some point in your dental career, you will experience burnout and it is important to remember this does not make you a bad or weak leader/orthodontist. What you are experiencing is temporary and treatable and you should not fear negative professional repercussions for seeking guidance and mentorship if you are struggling with these feelings. There are excellent self-assessment tools on the internet that can help you recognize whether you are suffering from burnout, just google “professional quality of life scale”. The assessments are often free and can give you valuable insight into your current state of mind.

As a new orthodontist, you can be proactive as you start your career by remembering that burnout is easier to prevent than to treat, so practice self-care and recognize the symptoms. If you start to feel twinges of procrastination, exhaustion and isolation seek guidance whether it’s with books, podcasts a mentor or a friend find a way to inspire yourself to get back on track and back to doing what you love “straightening one smile at a time”!

What Are the Steps to Land the Perfect Orthodontic Career Opportunity?

Step to Find the Perfect Orthodontic Career Opportunity or Orthodontic JobBy: Shannon Patterson, CPR, CMSR
Kolbe Certified™ Consultant
Director of Practice Opportunities

I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with hundreds of orthodontic residents every year who are looking for the right opportunity after their graduation. One of my first questions is, “Why did you want to become an Orthodontist?” I hear various answers every day as a recruiter but many times I hear this one, “Because I had an amazing experience with my Orthodontist.” So, you’re telling me that your experience with your childhood orthodontist was so awesome that it inspired you to travel this long, difficult academic path? Wow, it gets me right in the heart every time. And it’s that connection that as future practitioners you all want and desire to have with future patients whether it is in a private practice, group practice, or corporate model.

My next question is usually, “Where do you want to land and where do you see yourself in five years?” I don’t usually hear as much excitement, and often I hear confusion and concern. The answer to this question often sounds something like this: “I don’t really know I just know I want a good job to start paying off my debt.” I don’t blame you for not knowing the answer. After all, how can you know if you’ll be happy in your future job five years from now?

Well, lucky for you, I absolutely love what I do, and when you love what you do you have a passion for helping others. Most of you have identified your passion, now you are looking for a place to combine your passion and a career. Every day, I counsel candidates on what factors they should consider when seeking an opportunity. Through trial and error and knowledge gained from many candidates through the years, I have found these steps to be helpful as you narrow down your job search.

1) Know Who You Are!
We all want to get paid for doing what we love, but be sure to understand who you are and the must-haves before deciding on a job opportunity. What are your beliefs and values? Does this opportunity and community align with them and will you be able to fit into the practice and community cultures? Identify your practice values, your personal values, your interests, your “must-haves” in a community, your passions, and last- your financial needs. Yes, I said consider money last because, believe it or not, most people do not leave their current job due to money but often due to “it’s just not a good fit for me.”

2) Identify the Right Practice.
As residents, you might often hear “beggars can’t be choosers,” and with the debt load most residents carry, who can blame them? However, be sure to do your homework on a potential employer, as this person will be tied to your career forever. Be sure to spend a day with a potential practice or employer and witness the practice culture, sit in on new patient exams, watch how the reception area greets patients and watch the clinical team working with patients. I can assure you that all of these, and I mean every single one, will have a huge impact on your success. If a potential employer has an issue with you spending a day in the office, this could be considered a red flag, especially if you are being paid on a production incentive.

3) Find a Good Mentor.
First, do not ask a stranger or someone who does not know you well! A great mentor should be someone who inspires you and who already knows you. This person has seen your potential and hard work, they know how you think, how you communicate, how you tackle tasks and how you contribute to those around you. It should be someone who trusts you and believes in you, but, most importantly, it should be someone who is not afraid to give you input and feedback! Identify and join social media groups and blogs with other young orthodontists to hear their perspectives and voices as a resource in your career; Ortho 101 is a great one.

4) Practice Perseverance.
What is the definition of perseverance? Perseverance is commitment, hard work, patience, and endurance. There is an old saying, “do what you love and you’ll never work another a day in your life.” Is that really true? Probably not, but if you do what you love, it will never feel like a job. Success takes hard work, commitment, and persistence. All of you are talented and skilled clinicians, and with connections and a little luck you might find a good opportunity, but persistence will ultimately be what makes you successful in your career and is what will set you apart from others. Identify your vision and know that it will take stamina and endurance to get there!

A job search requires commitment and dedication. Making a career plan requires you to outline clear expectations and objectives. It means going back to the basics, discovering your likes/dislikes, values and beliefs and taking them all into account for a job opportunity. Even if you don’t land your dream job and you have a short-term opportunity, stay committed to your long-term career goals.

It will take time and effort but in the end, it will be worth it. And for those of you who are looking for that new key phrase “work-life balance,” I believe it is important to understand that your job will ultimately take up most of your time; it financially supports your dreams and it is a core part of your identity. If you simply live your life, love what you do and do your very best at it, ultimately you will achieve great success!

Addressing Gender Gap Pay: Why Some Employers May Treat Female Providers Differently

Addressing Gender Gap Pay: Why Some Employers May Treat Female Providers Differently

By: Shannon Patterson, CPR, CMSR
Kolbe Certified™ Consultant
Director of Practice Opportunities

During the past few decades, there has been a significant increase in the number of women entering dentistry. While pediatric dentists continue to lead the charge with a whopping 52% of providers being female, the orthodontic industry is also making headway with females representing 31% of the workforce. According to the 2019-2020 Survey of Advanced Dental Education, females represent 69% of all pediatric dental residents and 52% of all orthodontic residents. And for the first time in history, more females (195) than males (193) graduated from orthodontic residency in the United States in 2019-2020.

While we continue to expect the percentage of female providers in these specialties will increase in years to come, what effect has the growth had on gender gap earnings? The answer may surprise you.

According to a 2017 study from the ADA Health Policy Institute, male dental providers earned as much as 54% more than women in 2010. Even after controlling for observable characteristics including age and hours worked, the difference would still be 36%, or what the study’s authors call the “unexplained difference.” The study also looked at wages in medicine and law over a 20-year period. It found that despite accounting for observable characteristics there continues to remain a large, unaccountable earnings differences between men and women among all three of these professions.

Why would there be a gap in earnings between male and female dental providers with similar hours worked, experience, specialty, and practice ownership status? Would a potential employer compensate a female less for the exact same work schedule as her male counterpart? Let me put it this way, would a female provider enter into an associateship or partnership arrangement with less favorable terms than a male counterpart willingly? The answer to these questions may very well be yes.

Studies show that female providers often accept lower compensation packages than their male counterparts, especially in their first job post-residency. Let’s look at some historical data. According to the ADA study, historically, male providers tended to be self-employed (80% compared to 45%) and worked about four hours more per week than their female counterparts did. However, the study also found that by 2010, men and women worked the same number of hours a week and the number of female owners was up to 50 percent while male owners had fallen to 73 percent. If that is indeed the case, why does the wage gap still exist?

The ADA commentary article also referenced the book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook, who writes how women approach work differently than men, particularly when it comes to salary negotiation. The reality is that female providers may simply be less aggressive during contract negotiations and just accept an offer given to them. Women may simply define success differently and money may not be their driving force.

However, there is actual evidence of a wage penalty for motherhood in the workforce. With all else being equal, there is a negative relationship between a woman’s wage and the number of children she has. According to OECO (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) data, the penalties averages to about a 7% wage reduction per child. On the flip side there is also evidence of a fatherhood premium; a positive relationship between a man’s wage and the number of children he has. However, when you compare men and women with the same educations, working full-time in the same capacity the gender gap in earnings has largely disappeared. It is often several years after accepting a position and the arrival of children that the gender gap in earnings shows up. If a woman chooses to move to part-time employment in order to spend more time at home it is when she returns to work full-time that she may accept a lower wage compared to the wage she would have earned had she stayed on full-time. It is important to note that if you work less hours you may have less experience and therefore you will possibly see a wage difference.

It is important to remember that, if a female provider works less than her male counterparts, it is reasonable to be paid less. However, if you find that you work the same number of days and hours and you still make less you might consider asking for a higher compensation rate. Remind your employer that you took on just as much student debt as your male counterpart therefore you have the same financial needs.

Tips for advocating better pay:

1. Remember you are always your best advocate. If you don’t stand up for yourself, no one will! Remind your employer that you received the same education, work the same schedule and you should receive the same pay.

2. Don’t be afraid to negotiate for a higher salary before accepting a position.

3. If you have an income guarantee or daily rate gently remind your employer that it should be the same for candidates who have the same experience and work the same schedule. However, if you receive a production incentive it will be up to you produce and meet the pre-determined goals the employer/practice has set.

4. If you are in a group practice be sure that you are seeing as many new patients as your male counterparts so that you can meet your production goals. Understand who and how the new patient exams are scheduled.

5. Know your worth! If you are active in the community and close to referring doctors be sure your employer understands the goodwill and referrals you bring to the practice.

Also, be sure to study up or even consider contacting a career coach on how you can develop and understand negotiation techniques advocating for better pay. Understanding the gender gap in pay has never been more important because the tides are shifting ladies.

Orthodontic Residents: Don’t Stop The Job Search

Shannon Patterson Ortho Resident Don's Stop The Job SearchIn the latest issue of Orthodontic Products Magazine, Shannon Patterson, Partner at Bentson Copple & Associates, provides advice to orthodontic residents as they navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

No one could have predicted what has happened in the world since mid-March, especially in the orthodontic world. Most offices were experiencing year-over-year growth spurred by advanced treatment technologies and a consumer push for cosmetic dentistry. Overnight we witnessed orthodontic offices across the country shut-down due to ADA regulations and recommendations. Approximately 9,000 orthodontists, their employees, and over 1,000 orthodontic residents are all on pause. Orthodontists who own offices had to make heart-wrenching decisions and tackle mounds of paperwork to apply for the stimulus loan package. Employed orthodontic associates are out of work not knowing if they will receive unemployment or will be rehired at a reduced schedule. Final-year residents who probably had a handful of potential opportunities are now experiencing radio silence on their phones.

There is a lot of uncertainty in the world, and as we watch media coverage of the virus it might feel selfish to be worrying about your potential career. However, the reality is you still need to find a job, and going dormant during this period may not the best scenario for job seekers.

Read the entire article in the April/May 2020 issue of Orthodontic Products.

Video: How COVID-19 is Impacting Orthodontic Residents

Shannon Patterson talks with Orthodontic Products’ Chief Editor, Alison Werner, about how the crisis is affecting residents – including the impact on classes, graduation, and licensure exams. She also focuses on how COVID-19 is affecting their job search and pending employment offers. Moreover, she offers advice to residents about how to manage this time and to established doctors who are wondering if they should be hiring now. Watch The Interview Here.

Five Reason to Participate in the Annual Resident Survey

Bentson_Copple_Annual_Orthodontic_Resident_SurveyBy: Laura Overcash
Director of Marketing

Over the last eight years, our company has conducted a nationwide survey of orthodontic residents to collect, compile, and analyze useful data about orthodontics in the United States. We are currently collecting responses from orthodontic residents and we encourage you to click on this link and participate in this vital survey.

It may sound like just another survey but it’s more than just a data collection tool – the Annual Orthodontic Resident Survey is a critical tool to understanding and predicting future trends in the industry. Still not convinced the survey is worth your time? Here are five reasons to participate.

Offer Insights
Unfortunately, we can’t read minds, so we need help in understanding today’s resident journey. The survey’s primary objective is to provide its participants and those within the orthodontic industry with relevant, accurate, and useful data. The variety of questions asked helps gauge residents’ plans and how it will affect the overall orthodontic industry. We believe that understanding resident sentiment is important since this group of young doctors and the decisions they make will have a great impact on the profession going forward.

Minimal Time Commitment 
Feedback Habits Survey reports that 45% of survey respondents aren’t willing to spend more than five minutes completing a survey. You are in luck with our Resident Survey – our team understands the time constraints you have while enrolled in your program. This short survey should only take three minutes to complete and then you can get back to what’s important, honing the art of creating beautiful smiles and building patient confidence.

Participate Anytime 
It’s no secret we are all programmed differently when it comes to productivity. Some are early birds while others are night owls, some love schedules and others fly by the seat of their pants – whatever the case may be, the Resident Survey can be taken at your convenience. Take it online while drinking your morning Caramel Macchiato, waiting on your DoorDash lunch delivery, or after binging your favorite show on Netflix after midnight.

Be Part of a Legacy 
During the last eight years, the Annual Orthodontic Resident Survey has received more than 3,025 responses. This survey provides insight into some of the major issues residents face today, from income expectations to student debt loads. Doctors nearing retirement age commonly ask us about residents and their anticipated plans. The data collected in this survey, along with other industry publications, help create a well-rounded picture of the industry to share with all orthodontists. Being able to compare and contrast this information with the previous years of gathered data from this survey will, hopefully, allow current residents and doctors nearing retirement to gain knowledge and make wise decisions regarding their future.

Responses Remain Confidential 
The answers provided in the Annual Orthodontic Resident Survey remain completely confidential. We want your honest feedback when it comes to the amount of student debt you are accruing, your preparedness to operate a practice, and your expectations for first-year annual income.

Be sure to tell us about your future orthodontic career plans by participating in the Annual Orthodontic Resident Survey (if you have not already). So, give us your feedback; we want to know what you think. Help us help you and take the survey now!

Orthodontic Job Opportunity: Tucson, Arizona

Tucson_BlogAn orthodontic practice located in Tucson, Arizona is seeking a full-time associate to join their growing practice!

Southern Arizona is full of natural beauty from the Sonoran Desert to the mountain ranges in all directions. Around Tucson, the area is divided into districts and neighborhoods, some linked by Sun Link Streetcar which connects five entertainment districts, others connected by streets made for bike lanes, autos, and bus routes. Downtown Tucson has been the city’s hub of activity for well over a century, but in recent years it has experienced a rebirth with new shops, breweries, and amazing restaurants. The year-round sunshine and laid-back atmosphere make Tucson a great place to call home!

To learn more about this opportunity, please forward your CV and letter of interest to shannon@bentsoncopple.com.

Click here to view additional practice opportunities available from Bentson Copple & Associates.

Orthodontic Job Opportunity: Clarksville, Tennessee

Clarksville BlogA state-of-the-art orthodontic practice in Clarksville, Tennessee is seeking a motivated orthodontic associate to join their exceptional team!

The practice is located about 50 miles from Nashville and the cost of living in this area is 14.4% lower than the U.S. average making this a great place to reside. The downtown area is historic, attractive, and filled with passionate business owners who love their community giving this city a well-preserved small-town feel. Clarksville is filled with natural beauty and offers a wide range of outdoor recreation.

If providing excellent service and hospitality is your priority, this private practice opportunity is for you. To learn more about this opportunity, please forward your CV and letter of interest to shannon@bentsoncopple.com.

Click here to view additional practice opportunities available from Bentson Copple & Associates.