So you want to start a career somewhere in the medical profession, but you won’t want to spend your entire life (and life’s savings) in medical school. Dental careers may be the best fit for you, and with four different careers in dentistry to choose from, there are plenty of options to fulfill your description of what a dream job is.
Before diving head first into your dental job search, be sure to familiarize yourself with the four dental career paths:
- Dentist– Dentists diagnose and treat problems with their patients (just like any other doctor), except they strictly deal with the patients’ teeth, gums, and surrounding joints and bones.
There are a number of dental specialist jobs that fall under the umbrella of “dentist.” These include, but are not limited to: Implant dentist, cosmetic dentist, private dentist, pediatric dentistry, and gum doctor. A dentist, after graduating from a four year dental school, must be licensed by the state in which they want to practice in, as well as pass a written and oral exam. Once you’ve achieved all of these tasks, you can say hello to a median annual salary of $142,090.
- Dental Hygienist– Hygienists generally work under a dentists’ supervision and provide patients with preventative dental care (think teeth cleaning, polishing). An associate’s degree from a dental hygiene school is needed for this job, as well as state licensing after taking multiple exams. With a median annual salary of $67,340, this isn’t a bad route to take.
- Dental Assistant– Dental assistants also work alongside dentists and perform a number of patient care tasks, though they do not include the same tasks as dental hygienists. As a dental assistant, you will be performing laboratory and office duties. Although some people will attend dental assisting programs offered by community colleges, most receive on-the-job training and make a median salary of $33,230 a year.
- Dental Technician As far as dental careers go, this is the latest career in the dental job world. Technicians manufacture, assemble, and polish dental prosthetics based on a dentists’ specifications. As with a dental assistant, many dental technicians will receive on-the-job training. However, many dental practices are increasingly demanding that lab technicians receive some training from a community college, a request that may be well worth it in order to receive an annual salary of $34,820.
Dental careers are excellent for those who are looking to help others improve not just their oral health, but their overall well being. To learn more, read this.