You Graduated as an Allied Health Professional... Now What

You just graduated as an Allied Health Professional. Allied Health covers many different areas of practice. However, no matter which type of practice you are entering, you are embarking on a new and exciting professional career. Congratulations!

There are many different types of facilities in which you may begin to work. These include: hospitals, clinics, outpatient centers, medical homes/integrated care settings, or schools, etc. The list is long; however, the issues often remain similar. This resource is a high-level overview of items to consider, but, each situation is different, and it is always best to consult with an attorney should you have questions.

Working for Someone Else

It is important to determine what type of relationship you are going to have with your new company. Depending on the type of arrangement, you may be hired as an employee or as an independent contractor. As an employee, you may be covered under your employer’s insurance, may be entitled to benefits, may have access to supervision and may even supervise others. As an independent contractor, you may be required to purchase your own insurance, provide your own materials/supplies, may file taxes differently and may not have supervision in this role. It truly depends on the situation in which you are entering, and each may have its own considerations as well as risks.


Prior to joining a company, you may be presented with a contract to review and sign. It is important to have an attorney review a contract before you sign. Keep in mind that any contract will not be drafted to protect you but, rather, the company you are joining. Often as a new graduate, you might be focused on getting that first job and may not have much bargaining power concerning the terms of employment as compared with someone who has years of experience. However, you may also be entering a profession or a company that offers sign-on bonuses or other types of incentives. Regardless of the arrangement, it is much easier to work on terms of the contractual language before it is signed than afterwards.

Contracts for employment/independent contractors may include:

  • Expectations
  • Hours worked
  • Benefits
  • Compensation
  • If licensed/certified, whether the employer will compensate you for the associated costs
  • Non-Compete clause (sets terms such as who you can/cannot work for and for how long after you leave employment)
  • Restrictions on whether or not you can have an independent practice within a certain mile radius of your employment and whether or not you can take your clients with you to your new location after you leave
  • Confidentiality agreement
  • Whether you can moonlight or engage in other employment while working for the company
  • Off-hours obligations, coverage
  • Continuing education compensation
  • Structure of reporting (whether you have a supervisor, are expected to supervise and/or collaborate with others)
  • Insurance coverage--whether professional liability insurance is provided; if you leave employment whether the coverage ends or continues for a period of time; as well as the coverage limits.

Opening Your Own Business/Practice

This may not be an option for many new graduates. However, some of you may consider embarking on your own business venture either part time or full time. There are many issues to consider some of which may include:

  • Ensuring you have proper capital to sustain the business.
  • Determining whether you need to retain a bookkeeper, accountant, or attorney for your business.
  • Selecting insurance coverage for you and your business. Note that not all insurance policies and coverage are the same. There are different types of policies which may be important to explore. Some of these may include:
    • Professional liability policy covering you personally and your company
    • General liability policy
    • Cyber liability policy

It is important to determine your needs ahead of time and be aware that as your practice/company grows, you may have changing coverage needs. Talk with an insurance professional and establish a relationship with him/her so you can ask questions as they arise. The following landing page explains the coverages offered by The Trust: Should you have questions, however, contact: or (800) 477-1200.

  • Evaluating which type of business entity you will establish (limited liability company, partnership, sole proprietor, etc.). It is best to determine ahead of time which type of business will be best suited for you, both from a business and tax perspective.
  • Whether you will have employees, partners or hire independent contractors. Keep in mind that a partnership is an important decision which you should not take on lightly. Obtain independent advice legal and tax advice prior to entering this type of relationship.
  • Should you hire employees or independent contractors, it is important to be aware of any applicable state and federal employment obligations.
  • If applicable, supervision procedures.
  • Social media policies, use of camera phones in office – for patients and staff; interacting with patients on social media (e.g., friending them or liking posts).
  • Determining the necessary type of forms you may need that comply with state and federal regulations.
  • Developing appropriate policies and procedures as well as signage for the office. Some of these may include:
    • Patient privacy documents (compliant with HIPAA and state laws) and informed consent
    • Administrative/office procedures
    • Telephone, appointment tracking
    • Email communication (encryption, whether it will be used, security, emergency procedures)
    • Texting communication
    • Patient documentation (type of documentation, missed appointments, informed consent documents). For additional information on documentation, see the article: “The Importance of Documentation in Allied Health.”
    • Termination documents (sample letters which can be customized for terminating the patient relationship)
    • Medical records: storage, retention, releasing records/information, destruction, whether an outside vendor will be used, and if so, whether a Business Associate Agreement will be needed).
  • Identifying whether you will use an electronic medical record (EMR) or written documentation. If using an EMR, it is important that you engage in due diligence to determine which system is appropriate for your practice and that you ensure it is in compliance with state and federal regulations.
  • Selecting a billing system and how it will be tracked and monitored.
  • Establishing a systematic quality review of your office, records and other issues that may arise.
  • Evaluating and selecting the most appropriate office environment. You should consider accessibility issues if patients will be seen in the office. Also, you may consider shared office space with other professionals and may even share an office assistant. This may cut down on costs considerably. However, it is important that you have proper signage to identify that you are not in a partnership with others in the office. If another office mate encounters a legal issue, it is important that your relationship, or lack thereof, is visible and identifiable to patients and the public.


Many of these business issues may not have been addressed in your training/education. At first glance, it may seem daunting. However, there are resources out there to help. If you have questions, it is always best to seek advice from an attorney.

Author: Kristen Lambert, JD, MSW, LICSW, CPHRM, FASHRM, Healthcare Practice and Risk Management Innovation Officer

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NOTE: This information is provided as a risk management resource and is not legal advice or an individualized personal consultation. At the time this resource was prepared, all information was as current and accurate as possible; however, regulations, laws, or prevailing professional practice standards may have changed since the posting or recording of this resource. Accordingly, it is your responsibility to confirm whether regulatory or legal issues that are relevant to you have since been updated and/or to consult with your professional advisors or legal counsel for timely guidance specific to your situation. As with all professional use of material, please explicitly cite The Trust Companies as the source if you reproduce or distribute any portion of these resources. Reproduction or distribution of this resource without the express written permission of The Trust Companies is strictly prohibited.