From dental hygienists to dental surgeons, the rewards of a career in this industry can be seen in the smiles of healthy, happy patients. Dental career requirements combine the medical skills of a doctor with the bedside manner of a nurse to prepare you to work for a group or open your own practice.
Paving the Road
Most dental students begin their training in high school with courses in the natural sciences, including biology, chemistry, and physics. The actual length of study depends entirely on the technical level you desire to attain. Regardless of your ultimate career goal, all dental career professionals are required to earn some form of state licensure at the end of their course of study. In addition, desired skills for pre-dental students include analytical thinking, manual dexterity, and diagnostic abilities.
Technicians and Assistants
Employment of dental technicians and assistant is expected to grow 29%. To meet this demand, the American Dental Association has approved 269 dental-assisting training programs across the nation. Dental career requirements for these job titles include a combination of formal classroom instruction and clinical experience that lasts between 4 and 6 months. In addition, the American Dental Association reports the following key concepts for candidates entering the profession as technicians and assistants: clinical practice and management, licensure and regulation, craniofacial research, financing and access, and global oral health.
Family and Cosmetic Dentistry
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of dentists is projected to grow 9% over the next decade; that's about as fast as the national average for all occupations. Two hot niches that show promise for aspiring professionals includes family and cosmetic dentistry. The typical route to these positions begins with 2 years of college-level course work in addition to a 4-year degree. Once complete, the credentials conferred include Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine.
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