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Associate Career Options and Dental Practice Types

This section of the toolkit helps you understand and evaluate your employment choices as an associate, explains the types of dental practices in which associates in California work, and provides information on alternate career options to consider.

Associate Dentist 101 - Finding Your Career Path

What is the next step after you’ve graduated from dental schools? These resources have been designed to help you through the next steps in finding your career path.

Associate Insurance Needs

This section of the toolkit is provided by The Dentists Insurance Company, a subsidiary of the California Dental Association.

It’s important to protect your personal and professional security at every stage of your career, and having the proper amount of insurance coverage as an associate is no exception. This chapter helps you understand insurance limits and coverage types as well as when and why each is necessary as an associate.

Associate Legal Relationships

As an associate, there are several ways to structure the relationship between you and the employer. In this resource, we review different options.

Becoming a Great Associate: Advice From Your Peers

The advice below was gathered from multiple interviews conducted by CDA staff with CDA dentists who are, or recently were, associates. The members selected for the interviews represent a variety of associateship experiences and backgrounds.

California Dental Licensure Options

A dental license is the first of many licenses, permits, certificates and registrations necessary to practice dentistry, as well as to own and operate a dental practice. In this resources, learn about requirements, application instructions and links for the most common ways to obtain a California Dental License.

Dental Plan Credentialing

Dental credentialing is the first step in is the process of a dentist entering into a contract with a dental benefit / insurance carrier. Learn more about it in this section of the resource.

Immigration process

As an international dental student (IDS) at an accredited IDS program, it is best to research and understand the process to obtain work visas in the United States at least 12 months before graduation. This section covers the various types of work visas applicable to international dentists who have completed an IDS accredited program in the United States. 

Legal Reference Guide for California Dentists - Appendix B: Sample Associate Agreement

Developed to assist dentists in understanding the contents of a typical agreement. Many common contract terms and conditions are included in this sample with considerations provided for those areas that may be ambiguous. 

New Associate Onboarding Checklist

First impressions matter when a new associate joins the team. Few onboarding goals are more critical than providing them with a positive experience in the first days and weeks of their employment.

The following checklist and suggested first-week schedule can be integrated into your practice’s onboarding plan. You may customize the checklist to fit your practice.

Preparing for Associate Job Placement

There are many elements involved in preparing and marketing yourself for employment. In this section you will get tips to create an effective curriculum vitae, write a compelling cover letter, understand your social media profile and how to use it to market yourself, how to network, how to budget and plan for your projected associate salary, and finally how to narrow down the location(s) in which you want to live and work.

Regulatory Compliance Tips for New Dentists

A description of actions a new dentist should take once they have obtained their dental license.  

Resources for New Dentists

CDA offers a variety of tools to help you easily navigate the transition into your new profession and your early years.

Successfully Navigating Your Role as an Associate Webinar

This 1.5hr webinar provides an overview of common issues associates face when entering into associate agreements and will provide an overview of important associate contract terms including the responsibilities and obligations of both practice owners and associates.

The Associate Interview

The interview process provides an opportunity for both the practice owner and associate candidate to assess whether their working relationship will be compatible. Get tips in this resource.