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Physician Job Search Guide: When to Start Looking for a Job

Welcome to the first part of our Job Search Guide. In this series, we break your job search into four main areas and provide tips, recommendations, and things to look out for with each one. Be sure to check out Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 as well!

As they say, the first step is admitting you need it! Whether you’re still completing your training or are looking to move to a new location or better position, you first need to decide that you are in fact looking for a job. Now the hunt for the perfect placement can begin – it’s just a matter of timing. And that will depend on your answers to the following questions:

Are you currently in training?

Typically, employers will start considering candidates one year in advance of when they complete their residency or fellowship. You don’t want to apply too soon because you’ll be spending time searching before any employers are ready to make a decision. And you don’t want to start too late because the placement process can take a while. For your best chance at success, you’ll want to prepare your CV (more on that in Part 2 of this series) and meet with a physician recruiter one year in advance.

Are you looking to relocate?

Do you know what city you’re looking to move to or are you open to a more general area? You can search for a job on our site by city, state, or region. We have nearly 7,000 physician jobs posted at any given time, so there’s a good chance we have some within your specialty in the area you’re looking for.

Preparing for a move to another city or state (or even country, if you are coming from outside the U.S.) can take a lot of time, and not just for the job search. We recommend starting early on this so that you have time to line up everything else related to your move (housing, schools, movers, etc.). As a rough guide, give yourself at least six months.

Will you need new credentials or licensing?

If you’re moving to a new state, be aware of the licensing timeline & requirements. You can check the Federation of State Medical Boards’ list of state-specific requirements to see the requirements for the state(s) you’re considering moving to. On average, it can take 2-3 months for the licensing to go through, assuming you’ve provided all the correct records.

Will you require visa sponsorship?

If you are a foreign national looking to practice medicine in the U.S., you may need a J-1 visa waiver and/or an H1B visa. Some employers are willing to sponsor you and will help you acquire the waiver and/or visa; you can read more about J-1 waivers and H1B visas here. We recommend allowing six months to a year for all the paperwork to go through.

To sum up, you’ll probably want to start your search 6-12 months in advance. If moving to another state, you’ll have added complexities when starting your new job, so the further in advance you can start planning, the better. And since you’ll have a lot on your plate as-is – either finishing your training or continuing to work each day while looking for a job – it could really be beneficial to work with a physician recruiter. Our team of specialty-specific recruiters works with you to find the perfect job.

Search for a job today, or contact us to get your own personal career consultant.

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