The US News and World Report ranked dental practitioner the number one best job in 2013.  This guide will help you decide whether a career in the dental field might be a good fit for you.

Reasons to consider a dental career:

  • Income – There is no denying that a career in the dental field offers a good, reliable wage with the possibility of making a significant amount of money. Don’t be dazzled by the potential, though.  Dentistry is a difficult field with serious responsibility.  If you aren’t prepared to work your tail off for it, dentistry is the wrong career for you.
  • People – If you like working with people, you get lots of opportunity to help people in the dental field. Unlike some careers, it’s more about helping people than cold, hard cash.
  • Energy – When you go to see a dentist, it doesn’t seem like a fast-paced place, but it’s not a typical office job. There is always something happening.  In a given day, you may have a stressed out patient, a colleague call in sick, and a crisis root canal mixed into your day.  There is no opportunity to sit and will the clock to move faster.  You’ll be so busy you won’t even notice.

Reasons NOT to consider a dental career:

  • Education – Dentistry is not a field you can go into straight out of high school. You’re looking at 8 years, maybe more, of higher education.  It’s well worth the work, but it is work.  If you enjoy learning, though, it won’t be burdensome.  If you’re thinking that you’re going to suffer through the extra 8 year and THEN be done?  Think again, continuing education is crucial to staying on top of your field.
  • Cost – The work may not be burdensome but the cost may very well be. You can expect to graduate with a lot of student loan debt.  Don’t be discouraged, it will be worth it when you start your practice.

The American Dental Association offers comprehensive dental practitioners many opportunities for continuing education. Continuing education offers the opportunity to learn skills, stay on top of new developments in technology and procedures and improve business skills.

If you’re afraid getting a dental education will limit you to working as a dentist, it doesn’t.  Private practice is only one option.  You might also choose to work in a hospital emergency room, teach future dentists, conduct lab research or travel the world with a relief organization.  There are lots of possibilities.

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