Have you ever been struggling with a career choice? Or you have a son or daughter trying to figure out what they’d like to do with their lives? In both cases, becoming a dental professional has a lot of benefits! At Mint Dental we are pretty biased, but we love what we do and encourage others to pursue this path if they are interested!
Weather you’d like to become a family dentist, a dental assistant, or a specialist we’ve outlined the steps it will take in the article below!
Becoming a Dentist
There are quite a few steps to becoming a dentist including lengthy education and a detailed training process. Because dentists are specialized doctors who take care of the mouth they are held to similarly difficult testing and education standards.
The first step to becoming a dentist starts with a bachelor’s degree. There is no requirement for a specific degree, but generally a Bachelor of Science is recommended with common courses being anatomy, biology, microbiology, and health.
Once completing your bachelor’s degree an aspiring dentist will need to apply to dental school. Along with your educational credits a good score on the Dental Acceptance test is required. This is a test administered by the American Dental Association and is a major component of any application to dental programs.
Once accepted to a dental school you will follow either the Doctor of Dental Surgery or the Doctor of Dental Medicine program tracks. By successfully completing either of these programs, along with clinical rotations you will be able to acquire licensure after school.
Finally, licensure will need to be applied for in the state that a dentist would like to practice. Each state is different, but most will require two different tests to be completed, along with all coursework and clinical from the dental program chosen.
There are also prerequisites in first aid, CPR certification and a background check or interview.
Becoming a Dental Assistant
Dental Assistants require various specific types of job training including performing sterilization of instruments, x-rays, scheduling appointments, assisting dental procedures, and general patient care.
Most aspiring dental assistants will complete a program at a technical school or a community college. These programs are generally one to two years and result in the student being given a certificate, diploma or associates degree upon completion.
These programs will include both hands-on and classroom learning and cover many common topics including anatomy, office administration, dental materials, pharmacology, CPR, and radiography.
You can potentially land a dental assistant job without completing one of these programs, but completing one gives you both a leg up on your competition when looking for a job, and a higher earning potential once you land one.
In addition, or instead of, a dental assistant program many choose to complete an internship. This gives both experience and practice, and can be especially helpful for those trying to specialize in pediatrics, endodontics, periodontics, maxillofacial surgery, or orthodontics.
Many states will require a certification or licensure at some point while working in the field. There are a few tests including DANB’s Certified Dental Assistant exam that are commonly used for this.
If you are considering a career in the dental profession, we strongly encourage you to start down the path! It can be extremely rewarding, and the job stability is very strong.
Questions? Contact us via the website or give us a call at 907-313-1862