You’ve Graduated as a New Osteopath! Great! Now What?

Make the right career moves now you've graduated as a new osteopath. Enjoy graduating even more by starting off on the right foot.

Your next best move as a newly graduated osteopath

Let’s talk strategy.

Being graduated as a new osteopath will be one of the greatest feelings you’ll ever have. You’ve survived four to five years of stress-filled exams, hard late study nights, and 9 am lectures. But now what?

This Osteohustle osteopathy guide to graduation will give you a few pointers on setting your feet firmly in the osteopathic community, allowing you to hit the ground running.

It can all seem a bit confusing, and you may not be entirely confident or sure of what your options are now you graduated as a new osteopath. As a team of osteopaths here at OH HQ, we’ve all been there.

This guide will go through the three main options you have to choose from and some tips and advice to help you make the best decision for your circumstances.

Once finished, you will have a better idea of what to expect next and where to turn for help.

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Ways to practice as an osteopath

3 main career options now you’ve graduated as a new osteopath

There are three main pathways you can choose from:

  1. Become an associate osteopath
  2. Build an osteopathic clinic
  3. Be a clinic owner and an associate

There are pros and cons to each pathway. However, each option is a highly viable choice. Whichever one you decide to choose, it’s vital to remember that you’re in business, think like a business person.

If you’re struggling, pop into your local bank and set up a meeting with someone who can give you ideas about money management and being self-employed. It’s essential to have a plan and budget for the next month, four months, and year. Google “SMART goals” to get started with practical goal setting.

Become an associate osteopath

Learn the ropes with minimal risk

This is the most common pathway for new graduates to take as it gives job security and is a dependable way to start earning. Although it’s tempting, don’t jump on the first offer you get. It’s essential to shop around to ensure you’ve made the correct choice for you.

Dress appropriately for the interview, be nice to the receptionist and listen to the phone. First impressions matter; all principals’ will ask the receptionist how you greeted them. The phone gives you a small indication of how busy the clinic is.

The standard associate rate is a 50/50 split. However, some will offer you a 55-60% split. It’s always worth asking if the percentage could increase as you see more people.

Being an associate allows you to cherry-pick which aspects of the clinic you value and apply them to your clinic if you eventually build one.

Furthermore, you are not locked into a particular clinic if you choose to leave. This allows you to give appropriate notice and apply your skills in a completely different area. However, it does mean you’ll have to start all over again.

Finally, you need to understand your roles and responsibilities as an associate. Knowing these kinds of questions will give you a better indication of what it’s like to work in that clinic.

  • Are you expected to be there even if you have no patients?
  • Does the clinic pay for marketing?
  • Do you have to attend all clinic meetings?
  • What are the clinic’s goals and ambitions for the next year?

Benefits of being an associate osteopath:

Associateships can offer many benefits including;

  • Learn how an established clinic is run
  • Observe experienced practitioners
  • Integrate with other associate practitioners
  • Understand how the principal promotes their clinic
  • Minimal expenses
  • Practice what it’s like to work a busy list
  • Participate in in-clinic group CPD events
  • Holiday flexibility
  • Paid salary plus bonuses

Build an osteopathic clinic

First prepare, then build your dream osteopathy clinic

Building a clinic is not an easy road, but it’s an incredible journey. Taking this option doesn’t necessarily mean you have to create a great and illustrious clinic. Many new graduates have rented a room/space then grow it as an independent business.

Before starting a business, it’s important to get in contact with your local council, osteopathy insurance company, and experienced osteopaths who have done it before to get some structure. This will ensure a smooth-ish start when you open.

Despite the almost endless list of things to do, learn, and juggle, the pay off is that you will get a sense of unparalleled achievement if you build a successful clinic.

There are so many different learning curves of things you need to learn how to do or cough up the money for someone else to deal with.

Some of which include;

  • Creating a brand
  • Doing your taxes
  • Running social media
  • Investing in equipment and software
  • Paying rent and utilities
  • Building a website and effective SEO
  • Learning efficient clinic marketing methods

Clinic owner top tips

Rent/lease grace period:

Always ask your landlord if there is a grace period available before you start. Especially if you’re paying some months in advance and you’re looking to make a few changes.

An excellent website to hire professionals to do anything. From logo design and website building to video editing and SEO. Affordable and amazing.

Real receptionist:

It’s better if a real person answers your phone. You can hire a virtual receptionist if you can’t afford a clinic receptionist.

Keep to one diary:

I recommend the Bullet Journal Method. Write everything down and review every day to build momentum.

Community is key:

If you can get involved within your community, your name and reputation as an osteopath will spread much faster.

A fantastic website to easily create social media posts for your clinic. It has 100’s of templates for you to use and modify to keep on brand.

Professional handouts:

Use professional services like or, even better, a local printing service to create your business cards and other handouts.

Learn an expensive skill:

Save yourself thousands over the span of your career by learning expensive skills like Google Ads, website building and social media ads.

Be a clinic owner and an associate

Test the waters before diving in

Lastly, you could do what I did, establish a clinic while being an associate at another. I chose this option because it provided me with an income to pay off my business expenses. It also put me in a position to see how other clinics worked while allowing me to grow my own business.

Communication is essential for this option. We encourage you to always work with other osteopaths. I was open and honest about running my clinic with my associate clinic owner, which allowed us to have an excellent working relationship. When I closed my clinic to move overseas, I was more than happy to recommend my associate clinic to many of my patients.

Global opportunities

Before you even think about how you’re going to work, you must first think about where. The place you graduated as a new osteopath is not the only place you can work. Osteopathy opens up international working opportunities. Many osteopaths find themselves in the U.K, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Canada, the Middle East, and everywhere in-between.

Visit to find incredible job opportunities around the world.

It will take a bit more planning, but you have gained a powerful qualification. We encourage you to use it to its maximum potential.

If you’re looking for a volunteering opportunity of a lifetime helping people in Bali, take a look at the Hands With Heart Foundation on Facebook.

Enjoy a graduation holiday

Your body and mind need to recharge

One of the greatest mistakes Alan made was going straight into a job without taking a well-earned break. Remember that you’ve just graduated as a new osteopath after completing a tough academic course that has taken you years to complete. Do yourself a favour and go somewhere you’ve always wanted to go.

There will most likely be a blissful period where you don’t have early morning classes, and your associate job or clinic lease doesn’t start for a while. Allow yourself to recharge for as long as your body and mind needs. You have just completed a gruelling course, tiresome essays, and endless exams.

We understand the pressure and stress to get it right. It’s alright to take your time with the next few decisions you’re about it make. Not only that, but you also about to leap into the professional world, it can often feel like you’re never ready.

Burnout is not something that only happens to our patients. We need to be self-aware of our health and allow ourselves an emotional CT lift. Alan burnt out one year after graduation, which caused me to suffer physically, emotionally, and financially. So, seriously consider taking a minimum of a two-week holiday. Once you get back, then it’s time to double down and put all your years of study into ‘practice’.

Do your research. Seriously

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

This is an un-skippable step because it allows you to minimise your mistakes. Trust us; you’ll need to keep expensive mistakes few and far between.

Not your “I did a hypothetical business plan in the third year” research. Proper research.

  • Who is my competition?
  • How much should I charge per patient?
  • Which associateship offers me the best opportunities?
  • How many people do I need to see to supplement my desired lifestyle?
  • Can I see myself working here for 5 or more years?

Those kinds of questions.

Wherever you are looking to work, get to know everything about that community as they will be the people who keep you in a job. Join existing and online groups for local running clubs, gyms, or dog walkers, etc. Find out the best cafes and restaurants. The more involved you are in the community, the quicker your reputation as an osteopath will spread around the area.

Sit outside potential clinics and count how many people walk past in an hour. Is the local area filled with single people, families, older?

Think about the types of patients you would see in that community and ask yourself;

  • Are these my ideal patients?
  • Would I enjoy treating the type of people in this area?
  • Can I use my experience here to become an expert in the fields I’m most interested in?

Find an osteopath career mentor

Okay, so you’ve briefly become a detective and you’ve thoroughly researched all aspects of the career path you’re aiming to take. Great! Allow someone to show you the way.

Find yourself a mentor. It may be your associate clinic owner, a tutor, or a clinic owner you admire, or anyone who inspires you as an osteopath. Build a relationship with them and pick their brains about everything.

The more support you have, the more confident you will be in how you treat, and how you conduct your business. All of these will make you a better osteopath.

Create a support network

The first few months of being a full-time osteopath are tough for most people. Having a group chat with a few trusted osteo friends helped me significantly.

Having a confidential group to bounce ideas off, share what you’re going through as a new graduate, and people to turn to for guidance in every aspect of my professional career has been invaluable. As you move on from your first few months, you will begin to find your rhythm. That’s because you have a professional support network.

Once you’ve steadied yourself, it’s time to focus on courses and subjects that work towards your goals, just as you are. If you’re aiming to build your patient list in your second year, invest a good amount of CPD into marketing and communication courses. For example, if you see more ankle injuries than expected, choose a course that will boost your credibility and expertise in that field.

Making mistakes

This is important. You will make mistakes and a lot of them, and that’s okay.

If you do, it’s time to spend some time reflecting on what happened and how you can improve in case the occasion arises again.

You have an amazing support group and mentor, you have trusted people to speak to who can help you learn from your experience. Chances are they may have been through a similar experience. You have an amazing qualification which offers something different every single day, not many jobs can say that.

Being graduated as a new osteopath also enables you to earn an okay amount of money without working a load of hours. So, take advantage of that. Enjoy time away on city and countryside breaks, and holidays, spend time with family and friends. You have just entered a brilliant profession. So, sit back and pat yourself on the back.

Take action

Osteohustle was created to provide osteopaths the tools they need to learn how to be great marketers. We want to show the osteopathic community that marketing can be easy, ethical, and effective.

Osteopathy is in desperate need of a shakeup, and that starts with you. We’re here to empower you to take control of your brand, clinic, and marketing. We need to come together as osteopaths and communicate how incredible osteopathy can be.

Written by Alan Zaia M.Ost

Founder & CEO of Osteohustle. You’ll find Alan coaching osteopaths, travelling in a van or writing our weekly newsletter, The Hustle.

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Subscribe to The Hustle

The greatest osteopaths in the world never stop learning.

Get the best business and marketing resources for osteopaths in 30 words or less into your inbox every Monday.  

By subscribing to The Hustle, you agree to our terms and conditions. We’ll never send spam.