Do you have an interest in medical care? Have you ever wondered what goes on when you have a cavity filled? Would you enjoy giving people beautiful smiles? You may be interested in a career in dentistry.
Dentists are responsible for a wide variety of medical procedures involving teeth. Some dentists may only handle preventative cleaning and cavity repair, while other dentists specialize in oral surgery or creating custom dental prosthetics like false teeth. It is so much more than drills -- dentists have the ability to give people attractive, confidence-boosting smiles they can be proud of.
Dentistry is a rewarding profession. Many dentists are self-employed, opening their own practices to serve a particular neighborhood or community. They will also be responsible for the nurses and medical secretaries who help with patients care and medical records. As a dentist you will work in a clean, quiet office that will put your patients at ease.
Dentistry does come with liabilities. As a medical care provider you will need malpractice insurance to guard against lawsuits, and its cost may take up a significant share of your yearly income. You may also have difficulty attracting new patients as many like to stick with their current providers. The start-up costs for a dentistry practice can also be steep: purchasing office space, equipment, radiology machines, and computer systems can be a large initial investment. Despite these hurdles many dentists continue to enter this lucrative profession each year.
If you are interested in becoming a dentist you will need to acquire several degrees and certifications. First, your bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year university is required to pursue your DDS degree in graduate school. The application process for dental school can be extremely competitive for the best programs. After you complete your degree you will need to become a board-certified dentist, which could require several more months of study and preparation. After this you will be free to pursue any certification required by your state to practice dentistry.
Taking an aptitude test can help you match your interests and job skills with an appropriate career track. A career assessment by a trained professional will help map out your current job, your career goals, and the steps you need to transition to a new career. They may also be able to provide counseling or mentoring as you explore a new career opportunity.