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How to Become a Dentist

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Are you interested in learning how to become a dentist? Dentistry is a career path that can be very rewarding both professionally and financially but in order to one day be a dentist you will have to be certain to take the right steps today. This article will explore the road that a prospective dentist should follow if they desire to one day be a dentist in their own right.

Being a dentist is a high prestige, high salary position. Many social surveys indicate that dentistry is among the top professions in terms of prestige and the average dentist salary is more than $135,000 according to salary.com. For these reasons becoming a dentist is a popular vocational choice among young people who are in the process of deciding upon a career.

How to Become a Dentist

Dentistry is more than simply looking into people's mouths. Before a person can become a dentist they will need to complete years of training and education. If you want to follow this career path, it is imperative that you get you into a top four year university. A university with a pre-med degree track is your best bet, but any top 50 university that has a college of natural sciences will be sufficient.

Your scores in your science courses will play a major role in what dental school you are ultimately accepted to. You will need to excel in biology, molecular biology, organic chemistry and anatomy in order to secure a position at a prestigious post-graduate dental school. You should have an eye on the dental school that you wish to attend before you finish your freshman year of your undergraduate studies. Take time to speak to the admissions rep of the dental school of your choice and, if possible, interview an applicant or two to get a feel for how the admissions process is handled.

Admission to Dental School

In order to pursue a doctoral degree in dental studies, you will need to score well on the Dental Admissions Test or DAT. The DAT is a standardized test that is employed by all the top schools as an admissions criteria. Your score can play a large role in determining if you are accepted so make certain to prepare thoroughly. There are many test prep courses for the DAT and you should look into getting tutoring before you take it for the first time.

Teaching students how to become a dentist takes place in dental school. You will be required to attend lectures, participate in labs, and conduct scientific study. The process is fairly arduous and will require four years of study. You will, during your final two years, be exposed to a clinical setting where you will get the opportunity to interact with patients while being supervised. This is a critical part of dental training and it is the place where your classroom learning gives way to hands-on dentistry.

Becoming a Licensed Dentist

Upon completion of dental school, you will have achieved another degree an earned some letters after your name. Congratulations you are one step closer to becoming a real, practicing dentist. Before you are able to open a practice or take a job as a dentist, you must complete the licensing procedure. In most states you must apply for a license by taking and passing your practical exam.

Getting your first job as a dentist

Once you have your license in hand, you are ready to look for a job. Very few new dentists are able to go directly from dental school to opening up their own practice. It is customary for new dentists to take jobs working at established dental practices where they begin to accumulate real world experience. Your first dental salary may be less than $100,000 but the experience that you gain will be impractical in helping you to eventually open a practice of your own.

Becoming a dentist will require a measure of planning and a hearty helping of devotion. If you are not prepared to spend at least eight years in a university setting then dentistry will probably not be the best career path for you. However, for those who are willing to expend the necessary time and capital, a career as a dentist can be very fulfilling at both the personal and professional level.

There are a number of websites devoted to exploring the issues pertinent to becoming a dentist. Regulations and licensing requirements are subject to change, so it is important that you stay abreast of the latest developments in the field. Choosing a career in dentistry should not be a whimsical decision and, as such, it is vital that you do your research when planning how to achieve your goal.


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