A dental degree will jump-start a wide range of dental-related professions, from entry-level positions such as dental assistant, all the way up to a doctor of dental surgery who specializes in a particular branch of dentistry. Those seeking a career beyond dental hygienist will need to past the DAT, or Dental Admissions Test, and some dental hygienists must pass similar testing. There are currently 56 accredited dental schools across the country. All require at least 2 years of college prior to enrollment.
Dental professionals have a number of job opportunities available to them, including:
- Dental assistant
- Dental hygienist
- Dental technician
- Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS or DMD)
- DDS/DMD specialist (Orthodontist, Endodontics, etc.)
Dental professionals need a wide range of capabilities, including:
- Verbal communication skills
- Exceptional visual memory
- Educational focus in science, math, anatomy
- Familiarity with wide variety of tools & technology
Overall, dental professions generally follow the ebb and flow of the economy, as their services are paid for out-of-pocket or by private insurance companies. The average income for a dental assistant is $14.53 per hour. The average salary for a dentist is $136,960. According to the ADA, 87% of dentists offer continuing education reimbursement to their assistants.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008