Should I Become a Dentist?
Becoming a dentist would require a lot of commitment, education and passion. If you think you have the drive to serve people by helping them with their dental concerns, this field might just be for you. In addition to enthusiasm, you will also need to have excellent communication skills, organizational skills and lots of patience.
The following table outlines the basics of this career, including the key skills needed to become a successful dentist.
|Education Required||Doctoral or Professional Degree|
|Training||Required in case of specialization|
|Key Skills||Communication Skills, Dexterity, Patience, Problem-solving Skills, Leadership Skills, Organizational Skills, Detail-oriented|
|Annual MeanSalary,National(2019)||$178,260 (Dentists, General)|
|Annual Mean Wage (2019)-Alaska||$239,930 (Dentists, General)|
|Nationwide Job Outlook (2018-2028)||7%|
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Career Outlook for Dentists in Alaska
Dentists in the US enjoy a high growth in employment of 7%. This will add 155,000 new jobs nationwide in the years from 2018 to 2028. Alaska also has plenty of opportunities for dentists, with 190 general dentists employed across the state. Demand for dentists is expected to rise as the population ages and members of the baby-boom generation start to need extensive dental treatments. Dentists will also be required to carry out various kinds of dental work, such as dental bridges and implants.
Steps to Become a Dentist in Alaska
In order to become a dentist in Alaska, aspiring candidates need to follow a certain series of steps.
- Get a Bachelor’s Degree
This is a four year-long degree required to qualify for admissions into dental schools. No specific major is required at this stage, though certain prerequisite courses in biology, chemistry and physics must be completed.
- Clear the Dental Admission Test (DAT)
To get into a dental school, aspiring candidates need to clear the Dental Admission Test (DAT). This is a test that assesses the academic capability and scientific understanding of students. Most dental schools set their minimum score for this test for admissions.
- Get a Dental Degree
This four year-long program would end in a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). This is the minimum educational qualification required to practice as a dentist in Alaska. The program you choose must be accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA). Coursework would include topics in oral pathology, dental anesthesia and radiology etc.
- Get a License
All states require dentists to be licensed to practice. The Board of Dental Examiners under the Department of Commerce in the state of Alaska regulates the licensing process. Guidelines for the licensing process, requirements and fees are given on the official website of the Department of Commerce.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Dentist in Alaska?
In order to become a dentist in Alaska, candidates will need to invest four years in an undergraduate program, followed by four years in dental school. Dentists who opt for specializations will have to complete two to six years of additional training.
What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Dentist in Alaska?
The practice of dentistry is governed by the Board of Dental Examiners in Alaska. This board makes the final licensing decisions and meets four times a year to discuss various concerns. It regulates various dentistry professions in the state, including that of dentists, dental hygienists and dental radiologists.
Typical requirements for becoming a dentist in Alaska would include:
- Completion of dental school
- Passing the board-approved written exam
- No prior investigation reviews or unresolved complaints in the past five years
- No impairment that affects the ability to practice as a dentist
How Much Can I Make after Becoming a Dentist in Alaska?
Dentists in Alaska made an annual mean income of $239,930 in 2019. This income can vary according to the chosen specialization. For instance, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, Orthodontists and Prosthodontists would typically have higher earning potentials than general dentists. Salary outlook would also vary according to the industry of occupation. This information has been obtained from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.