Most new dentists I speak with ask rather quickly in our conversations about compensation. I don’t recommend bringing this topic up immediately in your interviews, but it is an important point to discuss when exploring various opportunities.
Compensation offers do vary from place to place. When talking to other doctors, sales reps, or recruiters ask what they are seeing in your places of interest. Various factors affect what practices are willing to offer in their compensation packages. Some factors: number of dentists in the area looking for jobs (basic supply and demand); particular skills or experience levels desired by the practice; is the office fee for service or HMO/Medicaid driven; how badly does the office need the position filled.
As a new doctor you should be able to find an opportunity where you can make at $120K your first year. A common example of a compensation package is $500 per day guarantee or 30% of collections (whichever is greater). The usual first year production expectation is about $300K to $500K.
There are a lot of great paying opportunities out there. Pay attention to what other job seekers are talking about. You will need some point of reference in order to determine if you are getting a fair offer.
There is a great survey conducted by Dental Economics each year that is great. It takes a look size of local, productions, and compensations. Here you can find the 2008 Survey.