In 2013, US News and World Report rated dentistry as the number one career in America. In making this declaration, they noted that the future job prospects for the field are outstanding. That’s because the “Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment growth of 18 percent between 2014 and 2024, with 23,300 new openings.”
Other benefits of being a dentist cited by the magazine include “a comfortable salary, low unemployment rate, and agreeable work-life balance.” But if you’re thinking about becoming a dentist, you need to have a good aptitude for science and biology classes and you need to be prepared to study hard and get good grades in high school, college, and dental school.
We refer to dentists as doctors because “a dentist is a physician who practices in the field of dentistry.” Just like any other physician, a dentist must possess a comprehensive understanding of how the body works. That’s because all the body’s organs and systems are related to one another.
Dentists aren’t just concerned with your mouth, teeth, and gums. A dentist’s “areas of care include not only their patients’ teeth and gums but also the muscles of the head, neck, and jaw, the tongue, salivary glands, the nervous system of the head and neck and other areas.”
In order to become a dentist, a person must complete a rigorous course of study, pass several difficult examinations, and satisfy all the qualifications set forth by their local licensing board. This is a long and difficult process that provides dentists with extensive knowledge and expertise in their field. In fact, “the level of education and clinical training required to earn a dental degree, and the high academic standards of dental schools, are on par with those of medical schools.”
If you’re thinking about becoming a dentist, you need to start early by getting good grades in high school. Then you need to earn a four-year BS degree (Bachelor of Science) with a high GPA from an accredited college or university. Next, you’ll need to get accepted into dental school.
When it comes to getting accepted to one of the 65 dental school in the United States, the two most important factors are the student’s GPA and their Dental Admissions Test (DAT) scores. In recent years, “interest in dentistry in the United States has shown a steady period of growth.” Consequently, it’s getting more difficult to get into dental school, and the required GPA and DAT score scores are on the rise.
After completing four years of dental school, you’ll still need to pass the National Board Dental Examinations to become a licensed dentist. This is a difficult, two-part exam. Part one “is a comprehensive examination covering the basic biomedical sciences, dental anatomy and ethics testlets.” And part two “is a comprehensive examination covering clinical dental subjects, including patient management.”
Finally, after enduring 8 years of college and dental school and passing numerous examinations, you can apply for your dental license from your local board. It isn’t easy to become a dentist and that’s a good thing. It’s a very important job and we need to be sure that our dentists are qualified. But it’s also a very satisfying career. Dentists can be confident in the fact that they’re helping people every day.
At Lasting Impressions Dental Care, we offer a wide range of cosmetic treatments including dental implants to help you achieve the smile of your dreams. Call today to arrange a consultation and find out what we can do for your smile.