Why Physicians Often Invest Two Years Before Becoming a Partner

Two physicians shaking hands after one has been made partner at their practice

Becoming a partner in a medical practice is a significant career milestone for physicians. Not only is it a personal professional achievement but it also signifies their commitment to the long-term success of the practice. If you’re entertaining an offer that lists this stipulation in your contract or even if you’re just beginning to ease into the job market, learn more about this common practice and why many require physicians to invest two years before ascending to partnership. 

It gives the staff time to examine how you fit into their office culture. 

Joining a medical group is akin to entering a professional family. The two-year period allows physicians to demonstrate their alignment with the practice’s culture, which is a delicate and essential aspect of any healthcare environment. It encompasses communication styles, work ethic, values, and the overall atmosphere within the practice. It’s not just about clinical competence; it’s about being a team player and embodying the ethos of the practice. It is critical to use that time to build trust and ensure seamless integration within the group.  

The prolonged trial period demonstrates long-term commitment which eases concerns about costly turnover. 

Partnership is a substantial investment for the practice and they want to be reassured their time spent with you will be beneficial in the end. Turnover is very expensive for a group to incur and carries a lot of risk: loss of revenue from seeing fewer patients, longer waiting times for patients who subsequently take their care to a competitor, and increased stress on staff. The two-year term serves as a trial period in which the physician can showcase their commitment to the continued success of the practice. 

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The process acts as a thorough onboarding that will offer a complete understanding of business operations. 

Medical practices are not just centers for patient care; they are also businesses. Physicians transitioning to partnership need to understand the financial and operational aspects of the practice. Two years offer an opportunity for physicians to familiarize themselves with the business side of healthcare, including billing, compliance, marketing, staff management, and strategic planning. 

It’s a great opportunity to refine your current skills and develop new ones. 

While clinical competency is a prerequisite for any physician, the two-year period provides an opportunity for additional skill development and refinement. Whether it’s mastering certain procedures, enhancing leadership skills, or contributing to practice improvement initiatives, this time allows physicians more professional growth. 

You can develop your core patient base that you will carry through your partnership.  

Building and maintaining a patient base is a critical aspect of a physician’s role within a practice. Over two years, physicians can establish and market themselves within the community, forge relationships with patients, and showcase their contributions to the growth of the practice. 


The two-year period leading to partnership in a medical practice is not a mere formality; it’s a strategic investment in the success and cohesion of the practice. It allows physicians to prove themselves not only as skilled clinicians but also as dedicated team members who align with the practice’s values and vision. Aspiring partners should embrace this period as an opportunity for professional and personal growth, recognizing that the journey to partnership is a shared commitment between the physician and the practice.