It is mandatory in the United States for dentists to not only be well trained, but licensed as well. However, one can only qualify for a license after they have successfully graduated from a dental school that is accredited by ADA. Examinations take the form of both practical and written tests. The employment outlook in the United States in the dentistry industry presents a scenario where by most of the dentists (about seventy five percent) practice on their own.
Education and Training Requirements Starting with high school education, if you need to pursue a course in dental training, you have to take the following subjects: biology, health, mathematics and physics. The same also applies at the college level, whereby you have to study courses in the aforementioned subjects. In fact, if you take more science courses at college level, that boosts your chances of qualifying for entry into a dental school should you pass the exams. As such, there are two alternatives here for you:
1. Major in any science course, for instance chemistry, physics or biology or 2. Major in a different subject but still take the necessary science subjects in your coursework. As of 2008, statistics showed that the number of accredited dental schools in the US were fifty seven. The body responsible for the accreditation is the American Dental Association, or simply the ADA. All the dental schools have a set minimum entry qualification for students. One has to have undergone at least a two-year pre-dental education training at a recognized college. However, in most cases, the students who are admitted into these dental schools (approximately 85 percent of them) normally have a bachelor’s degree or higher a qualification. For the few that come with the 2 year college-level training, you have the choice of completing your degree as you go on with your training at the dental school.
Another mandatory requirement before being admitted into a dental school is the DAT –Dental Admissions Test. The scores in this test helps to seed out non-qualifying students, in conjunction with other standards like the student’s averages of grade points as well as interview scores and any other information that the dental school might gather through recommendations.
Dental training is a four-year intensive coursework in any of the accredited dental schools in the US. Some of the introductory coursework that the students cover are in microbiology, biochemistry, anatomy, clinical sciences, physiology and laboratory introductory techniques. Towards the last two years of dental training, the students are introduced into the practical field in dental clinics and given an opportunity to treat patients, though under supervision and guidance of dentists who are well qualified and licensed.
After successful completion of your dental training, you are awarded a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree or a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree (DMD). After that, you will also be required to take the relevant state licensing exams of the National Board of Dental Examinations and pass before you can be allowed to start practicing. If you wish to advance in your training, these programs are also available in the dental schools as well as hospitals, and this can take you between two and five years.
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