End of Training Checklist

6 minute read

Transitioning from your training program into your first attending position can be stressful. The number of questions and additions to your list can be overwhelming.

We have put together a checklist that will cover important aspects of the process.

Completing these steps will help you eliminate stress and get you off to the best start possible as a new attending.

1. Prepare or edit your CV

When was the last time you updated your CV?

If you're like many residents, you last made serious edits between medical school and residency.

As you near the end of the residency, you should think back about the skills and experiences you have acquired since starting your training and update your CV accordingly.

Your CV summarizes your educational background and professional experience. Since many potential employers spend only a minute or two skimmings it’s important to be sure that your CV highlights your most relevant skills.

This might mean having different CVs depending on that employer to which you’re applying—for example, a CV for an academic position and a CV for private practice.

As a physician, it’s important that the details matter to you in practice, so any lack of attention to detail in your CV will have an impact on how a hiring manager sees you.

When you send your CV to a potential employer they have very little data to use to build an impression of you, so any errors will carry a heavyweight in the mind of a potential employer.

A good choice is to have someone read it over and make sure that there aren’t any typos and your language is clear and concise. It usually helps to have another person or professional CV editor take a look!

2. Find your ideal attending position

Now that your CV is updated and carefully edited, it's on to the job search!

One of the biggest fears we've heard from residents and fellows is that they will end up in a first practicing position that isn't what they wanted.

So before you start considering positions, you should decide what is a “must-have” and what is a “nice-to-have”.

Knowing what is most important to you will help when you start your job search. Think about aspects of the job such as the geographic area, lifestyle preferences, patient volume, current job market, and practice type.

Even if something seems like an impossible demand, put it on your list anyway. It’s a goal to aim for that will help shape your decision in a positive way.

When deciding what makes your “ideal position,” consider aspects of the position such as the types of patients and cases you want to see and the number of hours a week you’d like to work.

Think about the pay and benefits you’re looking for, how big of a group you’re seeking, and the sort of work environment you’d like best. Finally, what geographic area are you interested in?

Describing your dream position will help you to compare that with the positions for which you interview and see how much overlap you can get.

As you consider your ideal position, make sure to consider employer types too.

Each type of employer, from universities to HMOs to hospitals or private practices, will have its own unique pros and cons. When deciding where to work, think about the compensation, risks, benefits, opportunities, technology, call, ownership, duties, marketing, and staff.

For example, private practice will have better compensation than a teaching hospital, but it will also entail more risk.

All of these organizational and operational differences should be taken into consideration when deciding which type of organization you want to work for and also to evaluate the contract you receive.

There are various ways to apply for jobs, from conferences, colleagues, recruiters, websites for physicians, and the professional society for each specialty.

Most residents or fellows begin a job search during the final year of residency or fellowship, so it’s a good idea to have your ideal job description completed early during your final year of training.

Having that ideal job description in your mind will help you to navigate everything from networking at conferences to working with recruiters.

3. Understand and negotiate your contract

Congratulations! You found a great offer in the perfect location, and you have the contract to review. But how do you know if the contract is a good one?

Today's residents and fellows are trending toward using physician contract specialist attorneys because it’s extremely important to understand exactly what is contained in your contract. It definitely makes sense to do so because of the increasingly intricate nature of employment agreements.

You have to make sure that you know exactly what your contract is saying about malpractice, indemnification, restrictive covenants, your duties and responsibilities, and potential causes for termination.

If you decide to have your contract reviewed by an attorney, you need to make sure that you find someone who specializes in physician contract reviews. A contract review attorney can help you avoid potential snares such as having to pay back a signing bonus or accepting a subpar offer.

If you are interested in getting your contract reviewed by a professional, click here.

4. Take care of financial planning

You've found a great position, reviewed and negotiated the contract, and you're set...Well, not quite. A great idea for a resident is to make a financial plan now, so you know what to do with your soon-to-be increased income before your first attending position's paycheck.

As you are developing a financial plan in order to grow your personal wealth, you should consider budget, debt repayment, tax planning, savings and retirement planning, and catastrophe planning.


When you’re considering your budget, keep in mind that you may have a higher debt burden than many others and are starting your retirement savings later. However, that is offset by the fact that physicians earn higher salaries. So by making a budget, or a “road map,” you’ll have a plan of how to best reach your financial goals.

Debt Repayment

The average medical school graduate in 2015 owed $183,000, so debt repayment is a reality for many residents, fellows, and attending physicians. Check out our blogs on strategies you can use to come up with the best way for you to repay your student loans.

Tax, Savings, and Retirement Planning

From Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to 401(k)s to Roth IRAs, there are various ways of both considering your tax burden while investing for your retirement. When you are considering how best to invest, make sure you aren’t missing out on any tax deductions and that you’re adequately saving for retirement.

Catastrophe Planning

Catastrophe planning is a way to protect your future earnings, instead of being unprepared if you are injured in a way that would threaten your ability to work in your specialty. This includes disability, life, and liability insurance. Disability insurance protects your income and your and your family's financial security if you injured or sick and can no longer work as a physician.

Disability insurance especially offers benefits if you get it during training, due to the discounts available to residents and the lower premiums offered when you are young and healthy. You really should take care of this before you leave training since your training program discounts can save you thousands of dollars over your career.

If you're interested in getting all of your disability insurance quotes at once, you can fill out this simple form and we'll collect them for you.

Once you complete these four steps, you’ll have an excellent foundation to ease your transition from training to practice.