A career in dentistry can certainly be financially rewarding, but it also has a great deal of challenges so you need to make sure that you talk to some experienced dentists about their job to find out whether you think you have the personality to work in this industry.
Once you’re sure this is the job you want to pursue, then you’ll need to work your way through the steps below to get the necessary education and dental training required to become dentist.
Your first step after school will be to enroll in a college and complete an undergraduate degree.
While there is no compulsory requirement to do so, most people enroll in a science based degree.
If you want to study some other major, it’s important for you to at least find out what science subjects are prerequisites for you to be accepted into dental school.
This will mean passing a test (the Dental Admissions Test – DAT) as well as demonstrating that you’ve met the study prerequisites for the particular school that you apply to.
You’ll therefore need to contact prospective dental schools well before you apply to them to make sure that you have all the bases covered in your studies.
Once accepted you will be studying for four years in order to complete the dental school program
Once you have completed the necessary studies, you need to apply for a license to practice.
These are issued at a State level, so you will need to locate the relevant authority in your particular state, contact them an find out what they need from you to grant your license.
When you’re just starting out it’s likely that you will get a job working for a dentist who has their own established practice.
This will allow you time to gain some experience and potentially build up a bit of a client base if you are planning to establish your own dental practice at some stage in the future.
Make sure you get as much info as you can from your employer about their business, what works and what doesn’t and use that knowledge to give your own business the greatest possible chance at success.
So How Long Does It Take To Become A Dentist?
Much like all the other medical fields a common question people have before they start studying has to do with how many years of school are required to become a dentist?
With an undergraduate degree at around 3 years, and 4 years of dental school you’re looking at 7 years as a minimum.
If you choose to go further with you studies in order to specialize in some area than it can be anywhere up to a decade before you’re out there working in the real world.
So you need to be fully aware of the good and bad aspects to the job before you commit yourself to this vocation.
But becoming a dentist can certainly give you a career path that is financially rewarding, if you’re willing to put up with some of the downsides of the job.