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5 Steps to Planning Your Dental Career!

As a dental professional, you spend a lot of time worrying about your patients’ dental health. But how often do you pause to consider the health of your dental career? Whether you are a new dental graduate, or you have been working as a dental professional for years, you may want to consider these following tips when planning your next career move.

A career plan is the perfect way to reflect on where you have been, where you want to go, and how you will get there; while also considering your skills, talents, and interests. Taking a step back to examine your dental career can provide the ideal opportunity to launch into an exciting first, second or even third act of your dental career. Here are a few steps to consider when reviewing your career move.

Step 1: Reflection

The first essential element in creating a career plan is to reflect on the past. What did you achieve over the last 12 months? Perhaps you just graduated, or maybe you started taking on some new responsibilities at your dental office? Hopefully, you expanded your skills through continuing educational opportunities. Consider what did not go very well for you over the past year. These experiences can be helpful in identifying areas that need improvement and desire growth. Setting new goals for the year ahead is a good start to planning your dental career.

Step 2: Self-Assessment

Self-assessment is a crucial part of creating an effective career plan. There are self-assessment quizzes available online that you can utilize. In addition to self-assessment quizzes, consider the following questions along with others that you might think of. These will help you focus on what is most important to you and help you with step three.

  • What do you do in your current dental position?
  • What would you like to do?
  • What do you do well? What do you do not so well?
  • What do you value most about your current position?
  • Where do you want to work? (Consider location and ideal office environment)
  • What are your financial goals?
  • How much personal time do you want for yourself and family?

Step 3: Set Short-term or Long-term Life Goals

Identify your short- and long-term goals. Short-term goals should be specific and achievable. They should be designed in such a way that allows you to accomplish them within the next year or two.

Your long-term goal should be broken out into five-year, 10 year and life-time goals. In these goals, you should consider what you want to accomplish both financially and personally. These goals could include anything from starting a dental office to selling your dental practice. They could be moving up from a Dental Assistant to becoming a Registered Dental Hygienist. The sky is the limit when determining your long-term goals. Perhaps your goal is to retire at age 50, or to do something completely outside of the dental profession. Maybe you want to become a teacher or a stay-at-home parent.

When creating your long- and short-term goals, create a list of objectives and steps to accomplishing those goals. These steps should include every aspect of your life, including how you will manage your time, how you will care for your family, and what you will need to do financially (including both savings and costs) to help you accomplish those goals. Some of those steps may include working more hours, which you can do through a dental staffing company. Maybe your goals include spending more time with your family; that can also be accomplished by working with a dental staffing company. Maybe switching to a part-time, temporary position where you have the flexibility to work around a school or family schedule will work best for you. Dental staffing companies like Dental Dynamic Staffing can help you achieve these goals.

Step 4: Add Details to Your Plan

Add detail to your short- and long-term goals. Include an inventory of your current skills and areas of interest. Consider the steps you outlined in the section above and add detail. For example, if your goal is to further your career by going to school to become a Registered Dental Hygienist, start to identify dental schools you would like to attend. Get their schedules and start building your schedule. If childcare is needed, start identifying childcare providers.

Step 5: Identify Your Advocates

Everyone needs support. Reach out to your family, friends, colleagues, teachers, or a mentor who can help you accomplish your goals. Identify a Dental Staffing company you can work with in case you need extra hours or some new flexibility. There are many organizations including both industry specific organizations as well as personal support that can help you out.

It is easy to get caught up with your current path and ignore your ultimate goals. Do not let that be an obstacle for you. Career changes are difficult, but once you commit to the change, you will find there is more support than you realized available to you.