How long does it take to become an Dentist? For those considering orthodontic school, the answer may be more important than you realize. If you don’t have at least four years of dental school ahead of you, then you might want to consider another specialty. After all, becoming an Dentist can take up to five years from start to finish, depending on the time it takes you to earn your undergraduate degree and pass the Dental Admission Test (DAT). Here’s how to become an Dentist in the shortest time possible.
Pick up prerequisites
A number of undergraduate prerequisites are needed before attending a professional dental school. For example, aspiring Dentist must earn a bachelor’s degree and complete general biology, organic chemistry, physics and English courses. Prerequisites can vary depending on each school’s requirements;
However, it takes about four years to complete all of these courses. Of course, for those who have already earned their bachelor’s degree—in any field—some dental schools may offer pre-dental programs that take about two years to complete. In total, it takes about six years from when you start your undergraduate studies until you graduate from dental school and become an Dentist.
Decide on specialty
What Does An Orthodontist Do – While there are a number of Dental specialties, most individuals choose either pediatric or adult orthodontics. Pediatric orthodontics requires two additional years of schooling and focuses on helping children get their teeth straightened.
Adult braces are also often referred to as braces for adults; they correct bad bites and crooked teeth in those older than 12 years old. The length of time it takes to become a dentist depends upon which specialty you select but typically ranges from 8-15 years after high school graduation.
Earn your degree
Earning your degree is probably going to take about four years (assuming you don’t take any breaks). Most dental schools require a bachelor’s degree for admission. If you’re looking at graduate school, you’ll also need one year of pre-dental classes.
This can be taken at your current institution or as a post-baccalaureate program through a specialized school. After that, you’ll apply to dental school and go through admissions—which includes doing well on your DAT (dental aptitude test) and personal statement, interviewing well, and getting good recommendations from professors. Next come four years of intense coursework; try not to let it drive you crazy!
Complete additional training
Becoming a dentist is a big commitment, and many dentists don’t realize how much time and money it takes until they’re halfway through their training. If you want to become an Dentist, you can shave off years of study and start making money sooner by completing additional training.
For example, if you complete one extra year of post-graduate study (in addition to your dental school program), you can reduce your total program by one year. You can do even better if you complete two or three extra years—then shave off as many as four years from your program. This also reduces your tuition costs because it allows for more financial aid opportunities.
Finish license exams
Becoming a dentist requires you first become licensed. This is achieved by going through a bachelor’s degree program, followed by four years of dental school.
Then it’s time for residency, which varies but typically lasts two years. But don’t get too comfortable practicing! Many dentists take continuing education courses throughout their careers. It all adds up to 10-plus years before becoming a full-fledged orthodontist. Is that worth it? You bet! Becoming an orthodontist will allow you to be around people every day, help change lives and ultimately have one of those jobs people can’t stop asking about: How long does it take to be a dentist?
Get licensed and practice!
Of course, there are a lot of steps between choosing a career and getting licensed. Here’s how you can do it as quickly as possible. Determine if orthodontics is right for you: One of your first steps should be determining whether orthodontics is even your thing.
The best way to figure that out is by talking with orthodontists. You’ll get to see what they’re like, hear how they got into their field. And learn more about their day-to-day lives. If you find yourself interested in what they have to say, then go ahead and move on to step two! Get prerequisites out of the way: In order to become an orthodontist. You’ll need several years of undergraduate education (four years minimum), four years of dental school (six years total), one year of dental residency (seven years total), two additional exams (eight years total) and three or more additional years practicing under supervision before being eligible for licensure.
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