Being a dentist (see our dentistry blog) requires a lot of dedication, but the satisfying feeling of the profession makes the
years of training worth it all. Improving the overall oral health of society is the main goal of a
dentist which in turn promotes better physical health altogether. Along with improving dental
hygiene and oral health a dentist will also utilize manual skills and improve their diagnostic
abilities. If you choose to open your own practice, you will also have to learn proper business skills
as well. In more severe dental cases, as a dentist, you will come across patients with serious
problems in life due to their dental issues where your role can be crucial for their well being. If you
are interested in this career path, understanding the steps to get into this profession is vital.
What education is needed to become a dentist? (learn all about our dentists)
Before the actual learning process, preparation is the first objective. You have to at least reach 100
hours of observing a working dentist with some schools even requiring more. Learning a skill which
will develop your manual dexterity will also come in handy. To get accepted to dental school you'll
first have to go through the DAT or (Dental Aptitude Test) which is a standardized exam online.
This test should be taken 15 months prior to starting dental school and usually begins after junior
year of college. Every dental program will differ when it comes to requirements, so be mindful of all
requirements before applying. Certain schools require certain class courses to be finished before
applying so be sure to have those covered as soon as you can. Many schools also require at least a
C average with prior education.
For competitive dental schools, a 3.5 GPA is required along with an overall strong academic history
performance. Try to aim for at least an 18 for each scoring section on the DAT. Shadowing and
volunteer work in dentistry can also help amplify your chances of acceptance along with a strong
letter of recommendation from reputable sources.
Along with all this, you must also have completed a bachelor's degree accompanied with
prerequisite courses. Attending a 4-year dental school program is also required followed by an
undergraduate degree. The last steps include attaining your Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of
Medical Dentistry degree. The average time table you should expect when pursuing this career
path is around 8 years, but it can be completed faster depending on your approach.
Dentistry is considered to be the 2nd highest paying job in the healthcare industry with an average
salary of $174,110 a year. That amount will also significantly increase when you decide to open
your own personal practice. You will definitely be financially set and feel fulfilled with a career in
dentistry without a doubt.
Now that you know the process of becoming a dentist as well as the benefits, it's now important to
figure out what specialty you want to focus on. There are quite a few options available for you to
choose from in dentistry. These niches include Endodontics which is in the nerves, Orthodontics,
Oral Surgery, Public dental healthcare, and Prosthodontics. Depending on where your passions lie,
it's always important to choose something to specialize in. Doing this will also make it easier for
customers to want to invest their money in you for treatments related to your expertise.
Overall, the benefits of pursuing dentistry are endless. The process to be able to be a practicing
dentist may take time, but it will make attaining your licensing and certificates an even greater
level of satisfaction. The sooner you start pursuing this career, the faster you will be able to change
lives with the knowledge you have.