Many dentists take up to eight years to complete their education before moving into the workforce. Even with years of education, many dentists continue their education long into their careers. With speciality fields such as orthodontists and prosthodontists, many dentists take much longer than eight years to gain all of the knowledge needed for their speciality.
Before applying to dental programs, candidates must complete, at minimum, two years of undergraduate study. Candidates often major in biology, chemistry or health-related fields for their undergraduate degrees.
Admissions to Dental School
Dental schools require candidates to pass a Dental Admissions Test (DAT) before acceptance into their program.
With four-year programs, dental school students work in the classroom, laboratory and, for the last two years, with patients. With a balance of textbook and hands-on experience, they are often ready for their licensing upon graduation.
After graduation, most states require dentists to pass a written and practical examination before they are able to practice dentistry.
Other than the educational requirements, dentists must have near perfect manual dexterity and a good visual memory. Other skills such as spatial judgment and the abilities to recall and diagnose are also important.