How To Become a Dentist
There are many reasons why someone may choose to pursue a career in dentistry – whether it’s the potential to make a great living, the ability to help people maintain good oral health, or the satisfaction of providing people with a beautiful smile. Whatever your motivation may be, becoming a dentist requires dedication and hard work. Here are some steps you can take to become a dentist.
Step 1: Get an Undergraduate Degree
Most undergraduate programs require a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED. You will need to take classes in sciences, including biology, chemistry, and physics. You should also take courses in math, English, and other liberal arts. It is important to maintain a high GPA in order to be accepted into dental school.
Step 2: Take the Dental Admission Test (DAT
Once you have completed your undergraduate degree, you must take the Dental Admission Test (DAT). This is a standardized test designed to assess your knowledge and skills in the areas of natural sciences, reading comprehension, and quantitative reasoning. The DAT is administered by the American Dental Association and is required for admission to most dental schools.
Step 3: Apply to Dental Schools
Once you passed the DAT, you can then apply to dental schools. The application process can be lengthy and may require letters of recommendation, essays, and interviews. You should research individual schools to find out what their specific requirements for admission are.
Step 4: Complete Dental School
Once you are accepted into dental school, you will need to complete a four-year program to earn your Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree. During this time, you will learn about dental anatomy, pathology, pharmacology, and clinical practice. You will also have the opportunity to participate in hands-on clinical experiences.
Step 5: Pass the National Board Dental Examinations
After completing your dental school program, you must take and pass the National Board Dental Examinations. These are administered by the Commission on Dental Competency Assessments and include both written and practical exams. Passing these exams is required for licensure in most states.
Step 6: Get Licensed
Once you have passed the National Board Dental Examinations, you will apply for licensure in the state in which you wish to practice. Each state has its own requirements for licensure, so you should research the specific licensure requirements for your state.
Becoming a dentist requires dedication and hard work, but the rewards are well worth the effort. With the proper education, training, and experience, you can become a successful dentist and make a real difference in people’s lives.