It typically takes eight years to become a dentist in the USA, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Adding some specialization, or a PhD, for example, the whole process may take longer than a decade.
But this extra effort is well worth, because dentists with some degree or specialization tend to earn considerably more money a year than their colleagues who possess none of these.
Here are the four simple steps you’ve got to follow, so as to become a practicing dentist in the USA. This is a stable career that one should pursue with patience and perseverance.
Get a BA Degree
First and foremost, you should earn a Bachelor’s degree in the field of dentistry. These programs usually take four years to complete and give you some basic understanding of dentistry as well as some core professional skills in the field.
It’s Time for DAT
All students who wish to apply to dental school should sit this exam during their first year in college. It is administered by the American Dental Association and comprises of four multiple-choice sections assessing the candidate’s reading comprehension skills, natural sciences knowledge, quantitative reasoning capabilities, as well as their perceptual abilities.
Earn a Doctoral Degree
At this stage you have two options – to get a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM) degree. Both programs cover more or less the same ground, but the former appears to be more specialized. If all goes well, you should be able to get your doctoral degree in four years.
Get Your License
Once you’ve earned your doctoral degree, you have to appear before the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) and sit their pass/fail test that focuses on basic sciences. Please note that some states may require an additional exam.