Becoming a dentist is a career path that many want to take and there are often not enough seats in dental schools to accommodate all the students. That being said, apart from the dental school process, how many years does it take to be a dentist?
How hard is it to be a dentist, and should you become one? What is the job outlook in oral health?
Being a dentist can be a very demanding profession physically and mentally. This is what we’ll discuss in this article. Whether you’re thinking about pursuing a dental career or you simply want to know how many years it takes to be a dentist, make sure to read until the end.
Is It Hard To Be A Dentist?
Students often ask themselves how hard it is to become a dentist and for good reasons.
While the unemployment rate for dentistry is very low, there are still quite a few things to consider when studying the field, and one of them is how hard it is to become a dentist.
Also, it is important to note that some positions are much harder to get than others. In fact, in dentistry, there is a fair share of employment opportunities. It isn’t uncommon for dentists to switch their career path to being an orthodontist, a periodontist, or even a general dentist.
If you want to be a dentist, you are going to have to be determined and motivated about what you do.
Another important point to consider is the fact that several factors might play against you and affect the time spent studying.
Should You Become A Dentist?
Being a dentist can be hard, it is challenging, and you’ll spend various years studying. You might be convinced to be a dentist now, but is it really the right path for you?
Sure, dentistry is interesting, however, you will need to be genuinely interested and dedicated to teeth and oral health in general.
If you’re seriously considering becoming a dentist, make sure to do your research beforehand and consider all factors. Also, if possible, go to a dental clinic or hospital to shadow a dentist.
This will certainly help you get a better idea of what dentists do, how hard it is to become one if it’s worth all the years studying, and if you actually should become a dental specialist.
All factors considered, if you’re passionate about dentistry if you want to help people feel better, and if you feel you are committed enough to study for 6 to 8 years, it’s certainly a great career choice.
How Many Years Does It Take To Be A Dentist?
When you choosing to go down the dentistry route, you have to know that it’s going to take several years before actually completing all your studies and starting to work. The first thing you should know is that it is not the easiest of professions.
On average, it takes between six and eight years to become a dentist. First of all, dental school alone takes 4 years. In addition, the number of years does it take to become a dentist depends on how much you want to be a dentist and how far you want to go in the field.
After that, you might want to specialize in a specific area and, you will, therefore, spend more time studying.
Time At The School Depends On The Program You Choose
There are 2 dental programs that you can choose to become a dentist. The first would be to study for four years in an undergraduate program. These 4 years would then be followed by additional 4 ones at a dental school.
On the other hand, you can join a dentistry program that will combine both the undergraduate degree and the dentistry program. In this case, you’ll be able to be a dentist after 6 years of study.
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How Many Years Does It Take To Get Specialized In Dentistry?
Of course, regardless of the program you choose to take, you’ll always have the possibility to get specialized in a certain field.
For instance, the most common and sought-after specializations are general dentistry, periodontology, endodontology, orthodontics, and oral and maxillofacial surgery.
As a general rule of thumb, all specializations take 2 to 3 years, on top of the years spent in high school and dental school.
Your Application To Dental School Is Important
Getting into a dental school can be a very challenging and competitive process. In fact, other than needing a GPA to enter, you’ll need recommendation letters, completed semester hours, and more.
The U.S. News and World Report revealed that during the academic year 2018-2019, and out of 66 accredited dental schools, only 55.3% of applicants got the chance to be selected.
For this reason, you might need to skip one year if you’re not selected and don’t get a set at a dental school.
These are things to consider when becoming a dentist. In short, is it hard to become a dentist? Being a dentist can be really difficult. It is challenging to be selected and study hard at a dental school.
What Is The Quickest Way To Become A Dentist?
Is there a quick and slow way to become a dentist? More or less. However, it’s not about completing your degree in fewer years, but more about getting a better education.
If you’re willing to invest more money than average into your education, you will want to study in reputable and high-quality schools.
The difference between dental schools and high-quality, reputable dental schools is that the education in the latter will be better. This way, you’ll become an expert on dentistry, and you’ll avoid repeating years.
The best dental school in the United States is Harvard School of Dental Medicine and it will cost you a whopping $458,049 for 4 completed years of study.
Related: Why Is Dental School So Expensive?
Do You Need To Go To Medical School To Become A Dentist?
The steps to becoming a dentist will take you several years, sometimes more than 10. However, do you need to go to medical school in order to become a dentist?
Generally speaking, dentistry students do not need to go to medical school. Though, if you’re willing to specialize in a specific field after dental school, you will need to attend medical school.
Note that, while it will surely guarantee a better future and potentially better working conditions and tasks, you will need to attend medical school for 2 to 4 years more.
In short, you will need to get a Medical Doctor’s degree (MD) on top of your dentistry one to be specialized in one particular area, though it is not necessary if becoming a dentist is your ultimate goal.
Related: Is Dental School Harder Than Medical School?
Can A Dental Assistant Become A Dentist?
Dental assistants are a very important part of the dentistry world and they have endless opportunities to grow their career.
However, many dental assistants’ dream is to climb the ladder and become a dentist. But can a dental assistant become a dentist?
Absolutely, everyone can become a dentist. However, all dentists must have a college degree with completed semester hours on specific subjects as well as finishing a 4-year course at a dental school. Of course, the dental school costs will be the same as generic applicants which often means hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Our Bottom Line
This was everything you needed to know about the duration of the dental school, the specialization at a medical school, and the steps to become a dentist.
Of course, as we mentioned previously, it is a complex profession and lots of commitment has to be put towards it.
To conclude, how many years does it take to be a dentist? From starting high school to completing your dental school, it will take 6 to 8 depending on the program as well as 3 additional years for a potential specialization.
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