Education Requirements for a Dentist
Dentist have one of the most important jobs in the world. They have the responsibility of helping us take care of our teeth. When we have a tooth ache or any cosmetic tooth problem, a dentist is our best friend. It’s no surprise that having such an important job requires years of study and training. There is a long list of requirements a person must meet before becoming a dentist. In addition it will take some time to meet this requirements.
Dentists are doctors who diagnose and treat conditions of the mouth. They also have the job of educating their patients on oral health care. The first step in becoming a dentist is to get a bachelors degree. Most programs require completing at least 90 hours an undergraduate program. Students who are going the pre-dentistry route usually choose a science-related major. This will most likely help them meet prerequisite requirements. Getting good grades is important at this level. GPA will be a determining factor when trying to get into dental school.
To get into dental school students are required to pass the the Dental Acceptance Test which is given by the American Dental Association. This five hour test consists of nearly three hundred questions. Large parts of the test consists of reading comprehension and science based questions. There are thirty possible points on this test and the average score is around 19. Those looking to enter dentistry school should shoot for a higher score than 19.
Once you have passed the Dental Acceptance Test, the next step is to begin your dentistry program. There are two basic programs that students can go through: the Doctor of Dental Surgery and the Doctor of Dental Medicine. Despite the different titles these two programs are very similar. The coursework for both is very similar. It is essential that students enter a program that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. This will guarantee that students will be able to get licensure.
The American Dental Association acknowledges nine basic categories that students can focus on. These categories are as follows: Prosthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics, Endodontics, Dental Public Health, Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology and Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.
The next major step for a dental student is getting licensure. Each state has its own licensure requirements for dentists, but the steps are usually similar in nature. After completing their course of study, students must pass two covering written and clinical components. The National Board Dental Examinations are given by The Joint Commission on National Dental Examination. These test cover a variety of topics which include dental anatomy, ethics and biomedical sciences. These exams are monitored by each state’s board of dentistry. Testing centers are used to overlook the testing process.
The American Dental Association estimates that 200,000 dentist are practicing across the country. The median salary for a dentist is near $160,000 a year. The process for becoming a dentist is clearly not easy. The hard work however is well worth it if you can finish.