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What degree do I need to be a dentist?

Dentists help people of all ages maintain their oral health. When oral health becomes compromised, dentists help patients improve the quality of their dental health.

Prerequisites to becoming a dentist

While total commitment to the educational and professional requirements is crucial to becoming a dentist, the prospective dentist must also have excellent communiation skills. The requirements to get into dental school vary from one dental school to the next so it is imperative to check the requirements before starting an educational program towards becoming a licensed dentist.

Educational requirements

Dentistry is one of the fastest growing fields and one of the reasons is the required education. Unlike when trying to get into medical school, a candidate can be accepted into a school of dentistry while still in their third year of college at an accredited university. But if you do not have a minimum of a bachelor's degree when applying to dental school, it is even more important to have a solid foundation in a well-rounded curriculum. Courses in biology and chemistry are imperative, as are successful completion of physics and math classes. If deciding to obtain a bachelor's degree before applying to attend dental school, a degree in a science-related major should be successfully obtained.

Dentists must graduate from an accredited school of dentistry and must pass required written and practical exams. Taking a writing class and a public speaking class as electives in an undergraduate program will help ensure needed confidence when taking exams and throughout your career. It is only after successful completion of all educational requirements and exams that can a dentist become professionally licensed.

Career as a dentist

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the field of dentistry is expected to experience job growth in the next several years. The available positions as a dentist are expected to jump by 16%, which is faster-than-average job growth for all occupations. Due to fewer years of required education as compared to medical doctors, more people may look to the field of dentistry instead of a lengthy medical program.


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