The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the need for dentists will increase by 9 percent through 2016, resulting in the creation of 13,000 jobs for general dentists. In addition to passing the required licensing examination, prospective dentists must complete required post-secondary education.
In the United States, the required post-secondary education for dentists is attending one of the 56 dental program approved by the American Dental Association's (ADA's) Commission on Dental Accreditation. Most dentists receive bachelor's degrees in a field like chemistry or biology before attending dental school, but some programs admit students with only two to three years of undergraduate study, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Dental programs grant either Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.D.M.) degrees. The programs incorporate both classroom work in courses like anatomy and physiology with hands-on clinical experience.
Dentists who receive bachelor's degrees typically require four years to complete their undergraduate post-secondary education. Dental programs usually require four years of study.
The average cost of dental school is between $20,000 and $50,000. Some dental schools offer discounted rates for students who are residents in the state in which the school is located.
Although dental school involves a large time and monetary investment, the financial benefits are considerable. In October 2009, the average annual salary range for dentists was between $81,962 and $191,655, according to Payscale.com.
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