Finding a new associate position can be a daunting process for both new and experienced optometrists. While making a good impression on an interview is important, it is equally important to learn as much as possible about the practice. Here is a compilation of questions from job seekers who I have worked with over the years. I hope that this list will make the decision process less intimidating.


  • Employee or Independent Contractor?
  • Employee at will?
  • Is the doctor open to restrictive covenant in case of future ownership?
  • Is the doctor open to a transition period, if needed? (After purchase)

Type of Practice

  • What type of practice is it (full scope, pediatric, etc.)?
  • Age of the practice?
  • When/what do you refer out?
  • How many treatment lanes?
  • How many opticians?
  • How many technicians?
  • How much is the practice overhead?
  • How long has each employee been there?
  • What does the practice do to market itself?
  • How many FT and PT staff?


  • What is the patient pool like?
  • Have the number of active patient records been reviewed?
  • Is the practice growing or declining in number of patients seen, new patients attracted, and young patients?
  • Average number of cancellations per week?
  • Average number of patients seen by associate per day?
  • How far ahead is the doctor book filled?
  • How far ahead is the associate book filled?
  • Discounts/Bartering/payment plans?
  • PPO type of insurance? Insurances: accept all kinds or just selected ones?
  • How much is the discounted price of the PPO compared to the fee schedule?
  • Medicare or Medicaid acceptance?
  • What percent is FFS, cash and discounted PPO?
  • When was the last fee increase?
  • Are the fees low, high or average for the immediate area?
  • Do you offer patients credit?


  • Days, hours, on call, etc.
  • How many office hours and days per week is the office open?


  • Job description (separate document) or general description
  • Is the doctor responsible for pre-testing?
  • What were the most of the cases being done by the associate?


  • Supplies, equipment, support, etc.?
  • Is the practice EMR compliant? If so, what system is being used?
  • What is the square footage of the office? Can it be expanded?
  • Average age of equipment?
  • Do you have a confirmation system for appointments?
  • How do you deal with NO Show?

Term of contract

  • How long?
  • What is the required notice period should either party wish to terminate the relationship?


  • Is there a guaranteed salary, draw, daily rate or hourly rate?
  • Is commission determined from collections or production?
  • If collections, what is the collections rate in the practice?
  • What percentage of production/collections is used to calculate income?
  • Is there a chance to increase compensation in the future?
  • Taxes withheld?
  • How will the associate be paid? (Weekly/bi-weekly/monthly)
  • How much on average was the last associate making?
  • What was the average associate production per day?
  • Can I get a fee schedule of the practice?


  • Medical Insurance: health and dental?
  • Malpractice insurance?
  • Disabilities insurance?
  • Required CE courses? How much and for how many hours a year? Are they paid for/reimbursed? Is there a stipend?
  • Retirement?
  • Sick days # allow per yr.
  • Personal days/vacations # per yr. allow
  • Holidays?
  • What benefits are given to the staff?


  • Define, list, when paid, etc.
  • Will the practice support the acquisition loan (in case of future ownership), pay the overhead expenses and afford a reasonable income?

Other Questions and Notes

  • What is your practice Philosophy and Goals? For the Practice and with new patients?
  • Have you had associate before? How many? How long did they stay? What was the reason for the associate resignation?
  • How do you advertise?
  • Who determines how long I have to spend with new patients/initial exam and record?
  • Is there a particular doctor in the area who is your main competitor?
  • Who sees the patient first (technician or optometrist)?
  • Why was the partnership offer turned down by an associate (if applicable)?
  • Will I be able to visit the office during regular working hours?


  • Discussion/Formula/Price
  • What will be the time frame for an associate position before we can talk about partnership/buy-in/buy-out?
  • Is there an option for future ownership? Are you considering a move out of state?

Restrictive Covenant

  • Define

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