Congratulations! You have labored and studied all these years and now you are about to receive your chiropractic diploma. Soon you will be a full-fledged chiropractor ready to open your office to throngs of patients waiting to see you. Life will soon be good and easier, right?
Well, it might not happen quite as easy as that, but with a little planning, the transition you make from student to doctor can be quite enjoyable.
Of course, it’s understandable if you want to open your own office right out of the gates. Most DCs love having their own office and doing things the way they want to do them. Still, for many, a good part of their success came from working for someone else first.
When you initially work under another DC’s license, you gain experience and make mistakes under the watchful eye of a more seasoned field chiropractor. You can really learn a lot of what you want to do and, equally important, what you don’t want to do. Here are some suggestions for getting hired by another DC:
1. Choose your internship wisely. Do not choose an internship just because you think it is a requirement for graduation. This is your main opportunity to get your feet wet in real practice before you are thrust out the doors of your chiropractic college. Analyze a number of chiropractors and their practices so you can figure out which ones best fit your life goals.
If you think you want to be a sports chiropractor, go find one. Pediatrics? Upper cervical? Extremity specialist? Go out and find these doctors and go work with them. You will learn a lot about yourself as well.
2. Join chiropractic organizations in the area where you want to practice. Even as a student, joining organizations is a great way to get exposed to the DCs who are members and may just be looking for help in their office. Try and go to some of their meetings and listen to the current topics they are discussing. You get exposure to field chiropractors and learn what is really happening out there. Plus, many organizations, including the American Chiropractic Association, have discounted rates for new doctors.
3. Make yourself marketable with electives at school and seminars in the field. The more knowledge and skills you have, the more appealing you are to DCs looking to hire you. It’s as simple as that. Look at your electives and look at all the seminars that are offered every month all over the country. It is amazing how affordable the outside seminars are to students. Once you graduate, the costs go up – sometimes way up. Take advantage of this while you can.
4. Work on your communication skills with anyone who will listen. Your confidence in handling yourself in a one-on-one situation will be noticed almost instantly when you talk to a potential employer. If you are shaky or unsure of yourself or your abilities, it could make you a weaker candidate for the position. Make sure you can speak confidently. This comes from knowing your subject matter along with practice, practice, and more practice.
5. Remember that the job you are applying for is supposed to be enjoyable. When you talk to field chiropractors, a majority will say they love their jobs. Try to have fun and genuinely enjoy learning all you can from other doctors.
6. Know when it is time to leave. For some, four years as an associate working for another chiropractor may be an adequate amount of time. For you, it might only be one year or it could be three years.
The rule of thumb for an associate position is to look to get out after about two years. But only you can answer the question of how long is long enough. Just make sure that before you leave, you pack a parachute so when you jump out of the plane, you land on your two feet.
The above ideas are intended to be food for thought. Only you can make the choices that are right for you. Whether you wind up working for someone or not, do your due diligence and poise yourself for the end of school.
With some good planning, you will be ready to join your colleagues in practice. That day will be here before you know it. Enjoy the ride!