Start the Search

Start researching job opportunities in the locations where you’d like to live

To get a feel for the job market in your specialty and region, start by casually looking at job postings on, and in PracticeLink Magazine 12 to 24 months before you plan to start work.

Other sources to start your job search include association websites, physician conferences, job fairs and medical journals. Speak with friends and colleagues and collect the postcards and emails about facilities that interest you. Discuss your personal and professional goals with a mentor to help you formulate your ideal career path. Though this step is done over several months, don’t underestimate its importance. It’s common for residents to begin interviewing before having a good idea of what they do or don’t want in a practice.

If you casually look at job opportunities before you start contacting potential employers, you will be more prepared and know better what you want. You will also learn what is being offered and what the job market is like in the areas in which you are most interested.

By starting your job search 12 to 24 months before you complete training, you will give yourself plenty of time to consider all your options.

Ideally, you will have secured your first job out of residency at least six months before completing training. That will give you time to complete all the paperwork necessary to open your practice. These essential time-consuming tasks include licensure, hospital credentialing and registration with third-party payers.

Begin working with an immigration attorney, if applicable

If you are an International Medical Graduate with visa issues, don’t treat your search process any differently - with one important exception. Before you get far into an application process, make sure the employer accepts J-1 or H-1B visa applicants.

Do a search on to look for qualifying employers. Confirm that they qualify for a waiver during your initial conversation.

Consult an immigration attorney before you begin your job search, preferably one experienced with physicians. They can help you determine, for example, how many visa slots are available in a particular state.

The key is to start your search early. You will have more paperwork than other physicians, so it is best to find a job as early as possible.

Starting your job search 12 to 24 months before you complete training gives you plenty of time to evaluate each opportunity.