Welcome back! Last time on the Dr. Rose blog we talked about why somebody might decide to take up the mantle of ‘Dentist.’ If that discussion got your gears turning about possibly doing it, then this post is the perfect follow up for you. This time on the blog we are going to discuss how might you become a dentist, what’s the process you must navigate and steps needed to get that DDS (or DMD) at the end of your name.
The first thing about becoming a dentist is to receive an undergraduate degree. In the U.S. at least, any prospective dentist needs to have attained a college education. While pursuing a program you will take a variety of courses, such as biology, chemistry, and physics, that will be required to build on later. This is on you. If you are fresh from high school and already have the clear goal of becoming a dentist, then ensure that as you take your courses throughout college, they are leading to that ultimate goal. You’ll then take the DAT, the Dental Admissions Test. Pass? Success! Next, you’re going to dental school!
Dental school, on average, is four years of further study. During this time a prospective dentist will also learn how to treat patients in the dental school’s clinics, the first hands on experience! While in school, if you have the time available and ability, you may find work in a dental office. While learning, you’ll accumulate professional experience and connection.
Following graduation, (congratulations!) you’ll now have the DDS or DMD and you’ll need to get your board exams handled. These are national and state level to certify your knowledge is up to snuff to operate.
Following that you can either specialize even further or begin your career. That means likely finding an existing practice and becoming an associate or buying it, or starting your own. There are several other particulars to wring out, like becoming licensed to prescribe medicine and maintaining your state licenses.
It’s a long road, eight years most likely, but in the pursuit of a career you love, it is well worth it.