What are your dreams in life? Perhaps dentistry has crossed your mind once or twice. If becoming a dentist is something you want for yourself, then understanding the educational steps to become a dentist is very necessary. Becoming a dentist will take many years and the journey will not be easy. But with the right amount of passion, dedication and hard work becoming a dentist is a very possible goal for anyone interested in this profession.
A four year bachelor’s degree is one of the first steps an aspiring dentist needs to take. Many colleges offer pre-dental academic programs. You will spend at least four years pursing your bachelor’s degree. During these four years, you will get a glimpse of the dental world. At anytime during these four years you notice a dislike or disinterest in dentistry, it is best then to choose another profession. The education to become a dentist is expensive. There is no need in wasting money or going into a lot of debt if you are not certain dentistry is for you.
Once you have earned your bachelor’s degree, the journey is only half way done. You will still have more years ahead of you of attaining your dental education. Dental school comes next. Based off of your undergraduate degree and performance will determine which dental schools are the best fit for you. Even if you cannot get in the top dental schools, do remember that they all give out the same degree ultimately. Research dental schools ahead. Understand their tuition and academic requirements. Make sure you have a plan on how you will afford dental school and what career opportunities will be available to you after you have your dental degree. In the last few years of your dental program, you will get experience in the field. This is the time when you will get to work with dentists in an environment where you get hands on experience. This is one of the best times for you as a dentist to learn about your field before entering the workforce.
The third step is an accelerated path. This step is not required but is an option for those who do not mind taking a bit more longer to earn their education. An accelerated program takes about seven years to complete. Some schools offer these types of programs to people who want to get all of their education in one place to become a dentist.
You must receive a license from the state board of dentistry in the state you are going to practice in. After graduation, you be able to apply for your license. You will need a license in order to work in the field of dentistry. Once you have your license in hand it is then time for you to begin searching for work opportunities.
Finally, if you want to have a specialty you need to major in a postdoctoral training. Your postdoctoral education will takes at least two years and sometimes it takes even longer. This education is required for any specialties. A specialty license is required to work in some areas of dentistry like pediatrics.
These are the steps needed for you to launch your dream career. Many years and much money will be invested in order to become a professional dentist. However if this is your dream career, the investment is certainly worth it.