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Column: To-Do List for Residency’s Final Six Months

By Andrea Tsatalis, DDS, MS

Entering the last six months of residency? Here’s your to-do list:

  1. First and foremost, take the opportunity to make time for yourself. You’re approaching the conclusion of a 10+ year journey to become an endodontist—a journey that was likely riddled with sleepless nights, highs and lows, and multiple sacrifices.  Make time for yourself, your family, sleeping, recharging.  You’ve made it to the top and it’s time to reflect on your hard work.


  1. Find a job. An obvious to-do list item, but I’ll mention a few notes.  Utilize the AAE Career Center ( and inquire with mentors if they know of open positions.  Keep in mind that contracts are negotiable.  Moving out of state? Ask for relocation fees.  Seek advice from faculty or other practicing endodontists whom you trust, as well as legal providers.


  1. Get insurance. Congrats, finishing residency basically means you’re going to carry a lot of insurance.  Look into disability, malpractice, and health insurance policies—you’re likely being covered by your residency program/hospital system right now and depending on your job (W-2 vs. 1099 employee) you may be responsible for paying for these policies.  Take advantage of academic discounts before you graduate and seek multiple quotes.


  1. Prepare for credentialing. Every state has a slightly different licensure process—some require a specialty-specific license, some have longer turnaround times than others.  In addition to your dental license, consider applying for a DEA license (takes 4-6 weeks per their website).  Ask your future employer what their plan is for preparing your insurance credentialing and ensuring coverage.  Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork!


  1. Planning out your ABE Board Exams. Endodontic board certification requires successful completion of 3 examinations: written, oral, and case history.  While the written exam has a set date (May 16), the timeline for oral and case history exams is far more fluid.  Decide the order in which you want to challenge these exams, as you will be asked to submit this decision after (*fingers crossed*) passing the written exam this spring.

Best of luck with your final steps in this incredible journey to becoming an endodontist!

Dr. Andrea Tsatalis practices endodontics in Tampa, Florida. She is passionate about providing high-quality care to her patients & contributing to the greater endodontic community through her work as a lecturer, researcher, and clinician.