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Should Your Orthodontic Practice Hire an Intern?

An estimated 3.9 million children are orthodontic patients in the U.S., and this number will likely continue to grow over time. You may need to hire more people to ensure your orthodontic practice can run smoothly, and an internship can help provide the support you need. Hiring an intern is an excellent idea for many practices, and it offers a person valuable intern experience, shaping them for their careers one day. There are many benefits when hiring an intern to work with you; you’ll have an extra hand helping you on the days they’re in. However, when assessing whether you should hire an intern to assist you, it’s important to consider the pros and cons.

Advantages of Hiring an Intern

Having an intern is like having a second helping hand. Indeed, you’ll be able to get more of your work done and see to the needs of your practice and the people who work there. You will also go on to help your intern earn a steady income for the duration of their job, which is a beautiful experience opportunity to add to their resume.

Having an intern is one of the best ways to find new employees without going through the rigorous “filtering” process of picking them out hundreds of applications. After they’ve qualified, you can continue to have them in your practice, which is an opportunity for them, too, since they’ll be employed immediately.

Since the intern is likely passionate about the orthodontic field, they would likely want to do their best to impress. You can expect them to go above and beyond to shine.

Disadvantages of Hiring an Intern

While an intern can provide many benefits to your practice, there are also some disadvantages to consider. You’ll get lower quality than you would with a more qualified individual. The intern’s lack of experience may leave room for errors or things you may need to fix later on. This can be risky for a practice in some cases.

Taking time off to train your intern also means losing time that could’ve been invested in the business. Since you’re not sure whether this intern will work for you for the long term, training them is time and effort that may not give you the same return on your interest.

If you don’t have the budget to employ an intern for the long term but need them there, you may be spending a lot more. The fact that you’ll likely need to pay another salary, even a lower one than the rest of the employers, is still money you could use elsewhere.

A Cautionary Word for Practices Hiring Interns

There is an inherent risk to employers of all companies when offering unpaid internships. Even if the budget is small, offering at least minimum wage compensation alleviates the risk of defending against a Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) allegation.

Internships can vary wildly from one business to another. Since these people are not skilled and lack experience, they’ll need to get lighter jobs to carry out. However, regardless of the type of work an intern does, you should probably pay them. Not all interns are paid, while some businesses only pay a minimum fee to the intern every month or whenever the internship was arranged to take place. But often, paying the intern reduces the risk of going into a legal battle with them over unfair labor practices.

With 93% of children seeing some type of doctor within the past year, hiring an intern for your orthodontic practice can help ensure that your patients receive the attention they need. Consider the pros and cons above when deciding if opening up an opportunity for an internship is the right move for your practice.