How to Become A Dentist. Skills & Requirements

It’s not easy being a dentist. Dentists have to study for years in dental school before they can reach their goal of working in a dental office with patients. But what does it take to become one? You’ll need about eight years of education after high school before you’re ready for your license! But the rewards are worth it – dentists are some of the highest-paid professionals around! Read on for more information about becoming a dentist.

Overview Of A Dental Education

The process begins long before a student applies to dental school; a person must first complete high school and then begin college or an associate degree program at an accredited dental school. The application process usually involves:

High School Requirements

A student must have completed both high school and some college to be accepted into a dental program, but taking the right classes in high school can prepare you for what’s ahead. To learn more about the coursework required of prospective dentists, check out the following pre-med requirements:

You’ll need to take advanced math courses including algebra II or higher and study biology. Advanced science is also recommended as well as history and English/writing. Earning good grades will look very impressive on your application! Also consider joining a club like Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) or National Technical Honor Society (NTHS). These organizations provide networking opportunities with other students as well as opportunities for recognition of your leadership skills.

Career Options For Dentists

The career options available to dentists are virtually limitless; you can be a general dentist, orthodontist, or even a periodontist that specializes in gum disease! A graduate degree is required after dental school for certification in those specialties. The median annual salary for all dentists is $158,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That’s more than some professions make! There are many different sub-specialties as well:

All these various paths are open to you after graduation from dental school, but remember that you’ll need to pass board exams administered by the American Dental Association (ADA) before becoming licensed in your state.

Diplomas & Degrees Offered In Dental Schools

A dental school program is a four-year course of study that serves as the basic training for students interested in becoming dentists and orthodontists. These programs are available through universities, community colleges, technical schools and junior colleges all over the United States. A diploma or degree may be awarded based on the number of years completed, but most likely it will earn you an Associate’s Degree in Science (AS) or a Bachelor of Science (BS).

Before You Apply For Practical Training

Most states require prospective dentists to complete a period of practical training before they can apply for their license. This typically takes place after you’ve finished dental school and are ready to enter the workforce. The time it takes to complete your practical training will vary based on state licensure board requirements and where you choose to work while completing the required hours.

Things To Do Before You Graduate

Before you graduate from dental school there are some things that should be done as soon as possible:

1) Get licensed by a national, state or province licensing agency. Every dentist must have a valid license to practice dentistry in any state he works in. Even if there is no set expiration date for this type of license (i.e.: cosmetologist’s licenses), it is good practice to get it taken care of right away. 2) Apply for an American Dental Association (ADA) number. This is an essential part of your professional identity as a dentist. 3) Check with the licensing board in your state to verify that you are able to take the necessary exams.

Getting A Job In The Field Of Dentistry

Once you have completed all of these steps and passed your licensure exam, it’s time to look for employment! There are so many avenues for finding a good job: job fairs, networking with dentists at work or school, staying up-to-date on professional newsletters, etc. Local dental schools offer free information on their career services like job listings in order to help students looking for jobs in their area once they graduate. You can also seek out practice managers who may be able to provide insight into what type of position would be a good fit for you.

As a dentist, you typically work in an office setting with one or more dentists and staff members. You may also find yourself in the emergency room when patients come to you with oral injuries. The duties of a dentist vary greatly according to their specialty, but they generally include:

· Treating and examining patients with tooth decay, periodontal disease or other dental-related problems · Extracting teeth that are too damaged by cavities or gum disease · Performing fillings (called “restorations”) on decayed teeth · Making crowns (caps) for teeth that have undergone root canals · Diagnosing oral symptoms like pain, swelling or any other medical conditions that require immediate treatment · Repositioning misaligned teeth with braces and/or using other orthodontic treatments to move them into their proper position · Giving patients the education they need about brushing, flossing and regular dental visits

So, did you think it would be easy? Most people don’t and many are surprised by how much studying is involved. Even though there is a lot of hard work ahead of you, we hope this information has inspired your interest in becoming a dentist!

What Next? Here Are The Steps You Should Take To Get Started…

1) Decide which dental school program is right for you.

By doing some research online, on forums like Reddit’s /r/dentistry subreddit, or by talking to an advisor at a university near you, you can easily access the information that will help you decide which program would be best. In order to find out what each dental school offers look over their website and talk with students who have already attended the school in question.

2) Choose your undergraduate major.

If this is going to be your first time going into college it may be challenging deciding on a major. However, since many dentists are highly skilled in science, math and research we recommend choosing one of these majors if possible. This said however, any type of college education will give you a great head start when applying for dental schools later on. Note: Since some states require certain coursework (i.e.: Chemistry, Biology, Anatomy) in order to be accepted into their dental schools, if you do not have a pre-determined major , it may also be wise to choose a minor that will satisfy these requirements.

3) Go through the application process of your choice .

The application usually includes an admissions test and an interview with one or more members of the dental school faculty. After your application has been reviewed, you will be notified as to whether or not you were admitted. If so, congratulations! You are now officially accepted into a graduate program for dentistry!

4) Take some time off from college (if needed).

Since most students who go on to become dentists will already have completed four years of undergraduate education, they will need to take a “gap year” before starting dental school. (This includes earning the pre-requisite courses, like Chemistry and Biology).

5) Go on to graduate school at the university of your choice .

During this time you will be going through eight more years of schooling including classes such as: calculus, organic chemistry, pathology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology. You may also have to complete an externship or residency program , which is essentially a paid internship in a hospital setting. Either way, after four years of classes and one year of hands on experience (this means seven years total), you can then earn your DDS (or OD ) degree !

6) Take state board exams .

This means that you would be taking an exam that will allow you to become licensed in your state . While some states will offer test preparation courses, most states require their students to prepare on their own or by choosing a program that offers one.

7) Start work as a dentist.

If there are openings at the dental office where you completed your residency/externship, it may be possible for them to hire you right away. Otherwise, you may have to look elsewhere and send out resumes (or even go door-to-door). Keep in mind that this is just the beginning for you! Now is when all of the studying begins to pay off. You will need various certifications , licenses and possibly even insurance . However, once these are acquired (and hopefully maintained), you can begin to enjoy your career as a dentist and all of the opportunities it has to offer!

Now that’s what we call exciting, right!? So go ahead and take the first step towards becoming a dentist. Simply click on our blue ” apply now ” button below to get started on preparing for your future as a dentist. As always, if you have any questions at all, feel free to let us know . Good luck!


How hard is it to become a dentist?

It is not easy to become a dentist. However, it can be very rewarding at the same time . Many dentists feel that this process is quite challenging (as well as exciting) because you are essentially setting yourself up for many years of schooling and hard work (with no real guarantee that you will make any money in the end). Nonetheless, there are many reasons why dental students choose this profession including: job stability, long-term income potential , flexible hours and so on. Therefore, if you have what it takes academically and financially to follow through with becoming a dentist then we recommend doing so.

How much does it cost to go to dental school?

The average yearly tuition for an American student attending dental school in was $25,149 . As a result of rapidly rising costs , the American Dental Association (ADA) reports that the average tuition will rise to $83,290 by 2020. That being said, this number is debatable because it depends on whether or not you are attending a private school or public one. Either way, there are options for low-cost dental schools , minority help as well as scholarships available to students entering into dental school. In fact, some students even receive full-tuition scholarships in order to attend their favorite dentistry program!

How many years does it take to become a dentist?

To earn your degree and become an actual dentist , you will need at least eight years of schooling and four years of experience (between your on-campus classes and externship/residency). Keep in mind that some students will have to take the National Board Dental Examination or complete an oral examination (or both) before they can earn their license to practice.

In addition, you may also be required to obtain a state license depending on where you live . This is not only so that you can operate legally and ethically as a dentist but these licenses are also greatly beneficial to your career because it shows how committed you are to the field of dentistry. On average, this process takes about one year.

What kind of salary do dentists make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , the annual mean wage for all dental practitioners was $175,390 in 2015. This figure is based on the median salaries of dental hygienists, dentists and so forth (such as orthodontists) working in the field that year.

In addition, there are many factors that contribute to your final salary including: education level , location of work and years of practice . For example, research has shown that the mean annual income for general dentists with less than 10 years’ experience was $160,000 compared to those with over 20 years’ experience at an average of $201,000 . That being said, remember that this is just a rough estimate! So make sure you do what it takes to succeed in order to reap all rewards!

How can I become a dentist? First things first, you need to decide if dentistry is the right field of medicine for you. Ask yourself what makes you happy and if it involves working with your hands, interacting with patients and so on. If so, then dental school might just be right up your alley!

Keep in mind that this process takes many years (typically 8+ years) of hard work and dedication . However, if studied carefully , maintained a good GPA and continue to stay focused then you will surely set yourself above other applicants at the interview stage. With that being said, please check out our application page  for more information on how to become a dentist as well as helpful tips along the way!

I’m an international applicant…what do I do about this??

If you aren’t an American citizen, then your process will be a bit different. The only thing you need to do is make sure that you have the correct visa in order to study at a US school! Keep in mind that student visas are usually very strict and difficult to obtain . Therefore, we recommend talking with someone from a reputable study abroad company for more information on this subject.

How can I save money during my years of schooling?

First things first…don’t worry about saving up your money before heading off to dental school ! It’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever end up using it anyway. Instead, focus on establishing good habits early so that once you’re earning a steady income as a dentist, there will not be anything that can stop you from saving your money.

Make sure to pay off all of your credit cards every month and agree on a monthly budget with your significant other. This way, you’ll know exactly how much money is coming in and going out each month (as well as where it’s being utilized). The key here, however, is to spend wisely! Try not to go crazy on unnecessary things like fancy dinners or designer clothes — these will only take away from the amount of income that you should be saving per month. What else can I do? If this sounds difficult for you then we recommend talking with someone who has more experience in this area . For instance, perhaps asking a friend or family member for some advice because they’ve learned their lessons the hard way.

Now, if you don’t know anyone then we suggest contacting our dental school admission consultants . They have graduated from several different dental schools and can provide your with valuable insight into what they did in order to save money during their years of study.

Regardless of where you turn, make sure that you are confident in the decisions that you make because poor choices will only result in regret later on down the line (such as needing to take out a loan or being unable to pay for something important).

Finally…make sure not to put yourself into any unnecessary debt ! Try not to get too caught up in the idea of buying things just because they’re there. In fact, it’s best if you avoid this thinking all together!

How do I pay for school?

There are many scholarships that are available to foreign students! Just make sure you research them carefully because some of them may ask for a certain GPA in return . In addition, it’s best if you contact the American Embassy or Consulate in your country as well as your school’s financial aid department.

In general, we recommend trying out one of these websites:

Keep in mind that this process is not going to be linear — meaning that things won’t always go by smoothly and perfectly from start to finish! It’s okay if there are some bumps in the road (just as long as you don’t get so distracted that you fail out of school).

Where should I go to graduate school for residency?

This is a very important question and one that we receive often. We’d recommend applying to schools near your home but if you’re really interested in going further away then make sure it’s somewhere you can handle! There are many things to consider here such as cost, location, reputation and even proximity to family.

For instance, if there is a more expensive school nearby but no dentists from other schools will be accepting patients from this particular area then it may not be worth the extra money and time spent commuting back-and-forth just to see your loved ones.

In addition, we’d highly recommend looking into the class size of each school (because it makes a big difference) as well as the patient caseload at each location. Make sure you get involved in research or other extracurricular activities so that you can learn more about how things work from an insider’s perspective! You never know what doors may open up for you this way and who you may meet while out networking!

However, if there is one thing to keep in mind then it should be that if we wanted to go on vacation with our family then we would have stayed home and not gone off all of travel , right? So don’t do anything crazy just because you want to make your family happy — instead focus on what will make you happy!

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Final thoughts

The road to becoming a dentist is long. To get started, become an excellent student and pursue extracurricular activities that will get you ready for dentistry school. You’ll be ready to apply when you’re well-versed in the skills required of dentists.