In the first of his new series, financial specialist Richard T Lishman considers the options open to a dental graduate on the eve of vocational training
For graduates transitioning from university life to foundation training, there are many factors that need to be perused. For example, when looking for a vocational dental practitioner (VDP) position, a graduate must consider how the job they take will impact their future and the options that will be available to them.
Each job offer must be carefully considered. After all, there are many potential pathways to follow in dentistry, and there’s no point accepting a position if it will hinder later career goals.
As for finding the ideal role – someone new to the profession would be advised to utilise the services of a recruitment firm like careers4dentists, firms that help a graduate discover the range of VDP vacancies available throughout the UK.
A graduate beginning a career in dentistry must also consider their student loan repayments. As it currently stands, maintenance loans vary from £7,097 to £11,002 depending on whether students live at home, in student accommodation, or are due to spend a year studying abroad. The loan is repaid through the tax system and is only initiated when the graduate is earning above a certain threshold.
For English and Welsh students who started their course before 1 September 2012, that amount is currently £17,495, and rises to £21,000 for those who started on or after that date. There are two different rates of interest to be added to the repayments, again depending on whether the loan was taken out before or after 1 September 2012. If it was before, the interest rate is set at 1.25%. If it was after the rate varies depending on graduate’s circumstances – something to consider when working out take-home pay.
The other important aspect to be aware of is income protection insurance, which can be taken out to cover income loss in the event of sickness or injury. Typically, the pay-out is equivalent to 50-65% of a person’s usual income, and can be paid until the termination of the policy.
There are many such policies available to graduates, and ‘own occupation’ cover is thought to be the most beneficial. Under these schemes pay-outs are based on someone not being able to perform their duties as a dentist. Be advised, this is not always the case. Other, more general plans will only pay a benefit if the policyholder is so sick or disabled that they cannot work at all. It will always pay to seek advice from someone who understands such pitfalls and can help you avoid them.
Starting dental foundation training is hard enough, and making sure your financial situation is in the right order can prove an additional mental burden. If you are about to become a vocational dental practitioner, find real peace of mind with help from specialist advisers.