Most of us dont like going to the dentist, but there are some people who consider becoming a dentist. Its a great professional career, with a good paying salary. I researched the career because Ive received a few emails asking, how long is dental school?
Well tackle the question and provide salary information, too. First, lets provide an overview of what a dentist does.
What does a dentist do?
Dentists are the specialists you seek when your teeth need the services of a professional – whether diagnostic, preventive or therapeutic.
Dentists have several specialty areas for which they have trained and acquired a license. Basically, their practice allows them to help patients in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, injuries, and malformations of the teeth, mouth, and jaws.
They are the go-to professionals for dentures, implants, braces, mouth guard, and other paraphernalia for the oral cavity.
Dentistry is a high-demand profession. As of 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics disclosed that the annual median salary for dentists was at $146,340, with a projected job growth of 16% from 2012 to 2022.
How many years does it take to become a dentist?
From start to finish, dental school will take about 8 years. Youll have to complete a four year bachelors degree, then complete four years of dental school.
To become a dentist, you’ll need first to complete a bachelor’s degree in any of the natural sciences.
For better prospects of getting admitted to dental schools, undergrads should opt for a degree which contains the following courses: Biology I & II, Physics I & II, General Chemistry I & II, Organic Chemistry I & II, and Calculus I & II.
It normally takes 4 years to complete a BS program.
Prepare for admission to DDS or DDM school
Before you can start with your application, you need to take the Dental Aptitude Test (DAT) before graduating from your BS degree.
The exam usually covers four comprehensive areas: reading comprehension, natural sciences, perceptual ability, and quantitative ability. After which you should submit your primary applications on or before July.
The application process alone can take almost a year to complete. If you plan to enroll in dental school in autumn of 2016, you should submit your duly accomplished application by early summer of 2015.
Application to dental schools is broken down into two levels: the primary and secondary levels, which are followed by series of interviews. Those who endure the first application proceed to the second for a battery of essays which are normally due by winter.
Your admission into dental school will ultimately depend on your level of performance during your baccalaureate years, and how you scored in the DAT. Every dental school in the US requires passing DAT scores for all entrants.
How many years is dental school?
After the rigorous admission procedure, and assuming that you get admitted into dental school, you will need to choose either to become a Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.D.M.) or a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.).
In either of the two options, it means that you will need to hurdle another 4 years of full-time education and intense training.
You’ll be spending the initial two years of dental school learning core science classroom and lab instructions, such as anatomy, pathology, and histology.
The rest of the two years will involve more advanced dentistry courses and supervised clinical training where you will learn and experience the real work in the dental profession.
Thus far, we have talked about the regular route to becoming a dentist, and that entailed 4 years of pre-dentistry degree plus 4 years of the dentistry doctoral degree. Overall, that’s 8 years of education and training.
If you want to take the fast route in becoming a dentist, you may avail of the accelerated program offered by some universities and community colleges throughout the country.
Several schools across the US offer a seven-year accelerated dental program. This three-step approach to obtaining a dental degree involves taking a demanding course load in pre-dental subjects during the baccalaureate years.
Students then proceed to prepare for the required Dental Aptitude Test to satisfy the program’s specified GPA and DAT score.
Finally, dental students take up advanced courses in dentistry to receive their degree, all in a span of seven years.
The program can be tough and intense, but it may be worth considering because of the 2 years saved on tuition and other school fees, other academic-related expenses, and the student’s living costs.
Get your license
To practice their profession, dental school graduates must acquire their license from the State Board of Dentistry, and should pass both the written and practical exams administered respectively by the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations of the American Dental Association, and the state or a regional agency.
Depending on the program you take, it will take you 7 to 8 years after high school to finish dental school if you are a full time student. If you intend to study part-time, then that’s an altogether different story.
Then there’s a fifth step for those willing to take the extra mile.
How long is dental school residency?
Dentists, as a way of advancing their career, may specialize in a specific field of dentistry, like pediatric dentistry, endodontics, and orthodontics.
It takes 2-4 years to complete a postdoctoral program, after which they need to undertake a 2-year residency course in their field of specialization.
Thereafter, a specialty license is required that would involve hurdling a state-administered specialty examination.
I hope this answers the question. How long is dental school?