Negotiate your contract


Like with most legal documents, it’s a very good idea for you to have your employment agreement reviewed by an attorney. Working with an attorney who understands health care and employment agreements is very important. Everyone has a friend or cousin who is an attorney and will do this for next to nothing, but your money savings now could cost you down the road. You don’t want this process to get bogged down if it takes the attorney weeks to review it. Give them a deadline.


Most physicians need more time than they realize to complete all the paperwork necessary to start practicing, such as state licensure, hospital credentialing and getting set with insurance providers. Then there are all the personal matters involved, including house hunting trips and the actual relocation. Most people agree that you will want to have at least six months available from the time you finalize your employment agreement until you expect to start seeing patients.

This means that if your training ends in June, your goal should be to have a job by the end of December. It takes longer to acquire a license in some states than others, so know your situation and give yourself more time if needed.

If you are not already, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the Federation Credentials Verification Service (FCVS). It provides a centralized, uniform process for state medical boards and credentialing staffs to obtain records of physicians’ core medical credentials. Some states require it while others won’t accept FCVS documents, so start now to see if it is for you or not.


Once you’ve signed a contract, you’re almost done. Here are the last remaining to-dos for your job search to be complete:

Before you take a job offer, you will need to answer only two questions: Can you work there? Can you live there? Don’t wait to get to an on-site interview before you start investigating those questions. And don’t think that answering “yes” to one of the questions makes the position a match.

Many former residents can attest to the fact that just because you have found a place where you could work doesn’t mean it’s a location where you and your family could live. The recruiter or someone else at the facility can provide you with community information including the area’s educational opportunities, housing suggestions, activities for you and your family, an overview of the local economy, etc.

As you research your options, know that it’s common to view job postings that do not mention salary packages or compensation ranges. Employers can be hesitant to list this information publicly, though they often know the salary range and are happy to discuss it with you at the appropriate time. When comparing opportunities, take into account differences in reimbursements and cost of living. Try to get a feel for the entire compensation package, including bonuses, relocation assistance, loan assistance and benefits. But don’t make money your first topic.

Ask colleagues who have finished their training in the previous year or two about their experiences, too. It’s important to use every resource available