07 Aug 2017 Thinking About A Career In Dentistry?
Dentists help people live healthier, more fulfilling lives through identifying and filling cavities, pulling rotten teeth, whitening teeth, installing and maintaining orthodontic
braces, and many other dental services and procedures.
Even though there are just short of 200,000 licensed dentists in the United States who currently practice, the American marketplace is short of approximately 7,500 dentists. Many people — whether they’re aware of this shortage, or not — choose to practice dentistry for their lifelong careers. Even though dentistry is rewarding for many practitioners and often provides high salaries, as the average dentist in the United States was paid over $172,000 in 2015, dentistry isn’t for everybody.
Let’s look into several things every aspiring dentist should think about prior to committing themselves to the in-demand field of dentistry.
Can you afford student loan debt if you don’t finish school?
The American Student Dental Association estimated that the average debt load of dental school graduates belonging to the class of 2016 was over a quarter million dollars, quantified at $261,149. This debt load is far greater than that of bachelor’s programs, averaging a far more manageable total of $37,172, in 2016.
As such, it’s far more affordable to take on a generic bachelor’s degree that can open doors for employment opportunities or other graduate degrees, than to attend dental school without finishing. This sentiment applies equally to those who complete a certified, doctoral-level dentistry program, but don’t practice dentistry for the rest of their careers. Unless your parents or family members are 100%, undeniably, assuredly — no matter what — planning to pay for your dentistry school, only consider this path if you’re entirely sure of your intents.
Dentists are sometimes stereotyped as “medical school dropouts”
Medical school is undoubtedly one of the most difficult education paths in the world. Dentistry is less competitive than the marketplace of people striving to become
physicians. As such, dentists as a whole have earned a reputation of being “medical school dropouts.” Even though a vast majority of dentists were not once enrolled in medical school, this stereotype often follows those practicing dentistry. Are you OK with your future potential occupation holding this stereotype? Usually only people who become dentists to help others, not make money or hold the title of “doctor,” are at peace with this less-than- stellar stereotype.
Do you strive to run your own business?
While many dentists are employed by other practices, a large portion of practicing dentists start their own practices. This allows for more freedom than working for another business, as well as a potential for higher salary. If you’re not risk-averse and are interested in operating your own business while meeting the many demands of patients, dentistry may be right for you.
Whether you plan on living in Holladay, Utah for the rest of your life; solely to practice dentistry; or only to visit our dental office, make sure to thoroughly review these aspects of tackling a career in dentistry prior to making any career- changing decisions.