The fourth in a NetDoc.com series on Transitions in a Physician's Career
Finding the physician placement you'll love takes work and forethought.
As you complete your residency, you'll be turning your attention to finding your first job. As with other careers, finding the right job for your needs, interests, and skills can be a challenge, especially if you're not sure how to begin searching. To make your task easier, you should decide what you want early on then follow a few specific steps to help you land in the ideal opportunity.
Deciding What You Want
Your first job after residency will probably not be the job you keep for the rest of your career, but that doesn't mean you should be willing to take the first available position you find. Instead, you need to think about what you want in in your practice.
For example, you should consider where you want to work. Like most medical students, you have probably had to move away from your hometown in order to complete your education, so you might want to return to your native area. You might like where you are now and may want to stay right there. Or you might want to go to a completely different state to begin your career. As a physician, you have the remarkable ability to move almost anywhere in the world – the body is the same wherever you go.
Before you complete your residency and start your job search, think about three or four locations where you would want to work. Make your list and do some research to determine the requirements for getting licensed in those states.
Another decision you'll need to make is what kind of facility will you want to work. Some physicians want to start their careers in hospital environments while others prefer joining existing practices or clinics.
You may also want to think about the type of salary you want to earn. Remember salaries are going to vary by state – physicians earn more in California than they do in Indiana, for example. You also need to be realistic. While money is important, especially if you're going to soon start paying back the student loans that financed your education, your first job decision shouldn't be based solely on monetary considerations. Think long-term by choosing a job that will provide you with experience that may help you achieve a career goal or that will prepare you for starting your own practice.