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)

 

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!

What Should Be Accomplished During an On-Site Visit Interview?

What should you accomplish on a site visit interview?By: Shannon Patterson, CPR, CMSR
Partner, Kolbe Certified™ Consultant

When a potential employer and/or partner is interested in you, chances are you will be invited to visit the practice. Whether it is your first opportunity post-residency or you’re moving on from a previous opportunity you need to make the most out of the site visit. You should know a few basics and questions to ask about the practice and community to ensure you find the right opportunity in the right place.

When, What, and Who?
As you share with co-residents you will quickly realize that no two site visits are the same. It will be up to you to do some homework before the visit to ensure you get the most out of it. Understanding the three basic W’s – the when, what, and who will help you prepare for the visit.

When Does a Visit Take Place?
Typically you are invited to visit a practice after initial conversations with a potential employer and confirming you both are interested in moving forward. At this point, you should understand the position and have a genuine interest in the practice and the community in which it is located. I have had candidates visit practices as early as their first year of residency if the practice meets their goal parameters and is located in their geographical area of interest. Most potential employers, especially those offering a path to equity, are looking for a person who can adapt to their practice culture and they are definitely willing to wait on the right candidate.

What Does the Visit Include?
A site visit is designed to showcase a practice and the community and what it has to offer a candidate in a very short amount of time. We highly recommend an overnight stay to maximize the visit. Most of the time the visit is tailored to each candidate but has a standard format which usually includes additional interviewing with the doctor, meeting with the team, clinical shadowing, touring the community, dinner with spouses and possibly a social event in the community. We also recommend meeting with a local realtor if you feel strongly that you will accept the position.

Who Should Join You?
Although it is you the practice is interviewing if you are married your spouse will likely have a very important role during the visit. Orthodontic practices typically are very involved in the communities they serve and want to ensure that you and your family will feel comfortable and welcomed. Spouses are often the number one reason candidates reject a job offer especially if the spouse did not attend the site visit. One of the most important parts of the site visit is to envision yourself and your family living in the community where the practice is located. The second part of the “who” question I often hear is “who” pays for the site visit? A potential employer should pay for you to visit the practice. That usually includes airfare, hotel, and a rental car. It is customary that the potential employer reimburse you for travel expenses after the site visit is complete but some employers offer to make travel arrangements for you; either is fine just be sure to get a plan in writing so you understand what will be covered.

Remember your goal on a site visit is to gather as much information as possible about the clinical position, the practice culture, and its alignment with your own values, and the surrounding area and whether it will meet your social needs. At the end of a site visit, you should confirm that the opportunity has the right culture, the right team, and is located in the right place for you to start a successful orthodontic career.

Personal Takeaways from GORP 2019

Bentson_Copple_Associates_GORP_2019By: Mandy King
Client Support Associate

I had the opportunity to attend my first GORP (Graduate Orthodontic Residents Program) this year in St. Louis along with Shannon Patterson and Anthony Copple. Here are a few things I took away from time spent with our industry’s current orthodontic residents and other vendors.

Orthodontic residents are rock stars! They have a drive for success and a passion for their future. As they took time out of their schedules to stop at our booth, I was able to chat with several of them about their plans and where they see themselves after residency. Many have narrowed down a general location, some are open to going anywhere, and several want to find the opportunity that is the perfect fit. I think the one common denominator was that they are all so excited about the career path they have chosen and look forward to sharing that joy with their future patients.

GORP is a great time for residents to come together and celebrate their journey and where they are headed in their professional careers. They are all working hard to achieve the same goal, so for residents from all over the country to be in one location is incredible. Being able to sit back and observe them meeting one another, talking about residency, and simply having fun together was priceless. Several of the residents expressed to me that GORP is an event that they feel like every resident should attend. They are able to take a step back to breathe and relax for a few days, while still being immersed in learning about the path they have chosen.

I think I can speak for the majority of the vendors at the event when I say we were all there for one purpose – to get to know the next generation of orthodontists and to share our knowledge about the industry or products with them. There is just something about being able to meet people face-to-face that allows you to connect with them and understand who they are as individuals.

While GORP might be known as one big party, it is so much more than that for residents. It is a time for being refreshed. It is a time for learning about the industry and what they can expect once they begin their careers. It is a time that we as vendors can take to hang out with the residents we work closely with to form relationships that will better help us serve them.

Thank you all for a great first time at GORP and I look forward to seeing you all again in the future!

Music to The Ears of Orthodontic Residents

Bentson Copple & Associates - Music to the Ears of Orthodontic Residents
As Steven Tyler of Aerosmith belts out in the chorus of Dream On, his unforgettable raspy voice sings, “Dream on…Dream on…Dream on…Dream until your dreams come true.” Isn’t that what life is really all about, making your dreams come true and reaching for stars in both your personal and professional life? Reaching for your dreams is a common theme heard across all musical genres. Here are just a few musical examples that quickly come to mind:

  • Gonna Fly Now – Bill Conti
    This is an inspirational ode to Rocky Balboa; how can you not be motivated to reach for your goals after hearing this tune?

However, along the way, everyone needs a little bit of help obtaining his/her dreams or goals. Help in overcoming the roadblocks that might be encountered. Help tackling any setbacks that might happen along the journey. Help maintaining the inspiration to keep one’s goal in sight. Help in overcoming all forms of discouragement. When it comes to obtaining career goals, help comes in a variety of outlets, from one-on-one connections, to educational opportunities, to lifetime mentorship (just to name a few).

Let’s focus on one excellent learning opportunity created solely to help residents focused on their future orthodontist career. For over 28 years, the Graduate Orthodontic Residents Program (GORP) has been an educational outreach designed to arm residents with the tools needed to become a successful orthodontist. The 3-day event offers a variety of educational lectures, access to industry vendors, raffles and exciting extracurricular events.

This year, GORP is being held in Cleveland, Ohio (home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – hence the musical inspiration for the blog post), at the Cleveland Marriott Downtown Hotel, August 3-6, 2017!

If you are planning to attend GORP, take a moment to meet Shannon Patterson, CPR, CMSR, Director of Practice Opportunities and Anthony Copple, JD, Transition Specialist. Shannon and Anthony, along with our entire team, are here to provide doctors, both new and established, help in reaching your orthodontic dreams and goals, in terms of your future orthodontic careers. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding practice opportunities, placement services, buyer representation services and current market trends.

If you are unsure about the direction of your future orthodontic career, Shannon Patterson, our Orthodontic Placement Specialist, can provide guidance with your career choices and discuss current market trends in the orthodontic industry. She will have a list of our current practice opportunities, including associate positions, equity-minded associate positions and practices for sale throughout the United States. If you have identified a practice purchase opportunity or an opportunity to join an existing practice as a partner, Anthony will be available to address questions you may have regarding buyer representation.

To quote the famous catchphrase of Casey Kasem, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars!” Also click here to listen to a great playlist assembled by the Huffington Post about pursuing your dreams; hopefully it will provide inspiration during your orthodontic journey!

GORP 2016: Connect With Your Future Career

Bentson Clark & Copple GORP 2016
The 2016 Graduate Orthodontic Residents Program (GORP) is quickly approaching and our team is excited about attending this year’s event. The meeting is being held in Ann Arbor on the University of Michigan campus, August 4-7, 2016.

If you will be attending GORP, please take the opportunity to meet with Shannon Patterson, CPR, CMSR, Director of Practice Opportunities and Anthony Copple, JD, Transition Specialist. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding practice opportunities, placement services, buyer representation services and current market trends.

If you are unsure about the direction of your orthodontic career, Shannon Patterson, our Orthodontic Placement Specialist, can provide guidance with your career choices and discuss current market trends in the orthodontic industry. She will have a list of our current practice opportunities, including associate positions, equity-minded associate positions and practices for sale throughout the United States. If you have identified a practice opportunity with equity, Anthony will be available to discuss and address questions you may have regarding buyer service representation. We look forward to meeting you Michigan!

Time for GORP 2015

The 2015 Graduate Orthodontic Residents Program (GORP) is quickly approaching and we are excited about attending this year’s event (July 30–August 2, 2015).

Plan to stop by our table and enter to win an Apple Watch by participating in Bentson Clark & Copple’s 2015 Annual Resident Survey. A QR code will be displayed at the booth, providing easy online access to the survey. If running short on time at the event, pick up a postcard with the QR code and submit your answers to the survey at your convenience. Please note that the survey must be completed by August 7, 2015 to be eligible to win.

Even though we are only giving away one Apple Watch, everyone is a winner at GORP! As a thank you for participating in the annual survey, each doctor will receive a complimentary electronic subscription to the Bentson Clark reSource newsletter for the remainder of his/her residency.

In addition, Shannon Patterson, our Director of Practice Opportunities & Executive Recruiting, will be on hand to speak with you regarding purchasing an orthodontic practice, seeking an associateship position or entering into an employment situation. She can register you in our database of practice opportunities, which allows us to provide potential opportunity matches as they come to light, based on your specific geographic preferences and future ownership desires.

Orthodontic Partnership Seminar Announced

Bentson Clark & Copple Partnership SeminarPartnerships are on the rise. They are one of the fastest growing practice types throughout the United States. However, creating a successful partnership between two dental professionals isn’t easy – it’s more than just a handshake. Clear expectations and a solid financial plan are the keys to a smooth transition. Establishing effective and inclusive partnerships takes time. It is important to create the right framework from the start and review both the structure and process of the partnership on an ongoing basis.

If you have considered adding an orthodontic partner or even a pediatric dentist to your practice, we invite you to attend a full-day lecture, hosted by Bentson Clark & Copple, which will focus on the key elements of partnerships from a panel of distinguished experts with first-hand experience.

Building a Lifelong Partnership is scheduled for Friday, June 19th from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the O. Henry Hotel, located in the heart of Greensboro, North Carolina. This educational lecture will focus on the business of building a lifelong, successful partnership. From the legal aspects of creating a partnership to the physical building requirements needed for a partnership, our guest speakers will offer their first-hand experience of long-term partnerships with both orthodontists and pediatric dentists. Many topics will be discussed, including the different types of partnerships, considerations in building a partnership and how to locate a partner.

The lecture will close with an open forum, panel discussion, where you may pose questions to the Bentson Clark & Copple team and guest presenters regarding anything partnership-related. Scheduled to present are Chris Bentson; Doug Copple, CVA; Dr. Jeffrey Johnson; Joyce Matlack, RDH, ASID; Dr. Michael F. Nelson; Shannon Patterson, CPR; Dr. Ronald K. Risinger and Daniel Sroka, JD.

Bring your potential orthodontic partner, future pediatric dental partner and/or your spouse to this event. Registration is open now. Early bird rates of $499 are available before March 1, 2015. Registration fees will increase to $599 after that date.

 

Reaching Your Goals at GORP 2014

GORP 2014One of our favorite events each year is the Graduate Orthodontic Residents Program (GORP), which is right around the corner (July 31–August 3). Our bags are packed, our flight has been confirmed and we are ready to exhibit on the campus of the University of Michigan.

Want to win a Nike Fitbit at the event?!  We will be holding a special soccer-themed contest at our booth. Stop by our table and learn how to enter.

In addition, Shannon Patterson, our Director of Practice Opportunities & Executive Recruiting, will be on hand to speak with you regarding purchasing an orthodontic practice, seeking an associateship position or entering into an employment situation. She can register you in our database of practice opportunities, which allows us to provide potential opportunity matches as they come to light, based on your specific geographic preferences and future ownership desires.

Each resident is also encouraged to contribute to Bentson Clark & Copple’s 2014 Annual Resident Survey. A QR code will be displayed at the booth, which allows easy online access to the survey. Paper copies of the survey will also be available at our exhibit booth, so be sure to stop by.