The state of Michigan requires all dentists to be licensed to practice and the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) regulates this profession. LARA issues Michigan licenses to first time licensees and to dentists who are eligible to practice in other states. To get the license, candidates need to pass a licensing exam. The North East Regional Board (NERB) or the American Dental Licensing Examination (ADEX) is the qualifying exam for a Michigan dental license. However, this exam is the last step in a long education and experience based process for becoming a dentist in Michigan.
Let’s take a look at this process in the following guide on how to become a dentist in Michigan.

How to Become a Dentist in Michigan

To become a dentist in Michigan, candidates will have to go through the following steps:

  1. Get a Bachelor’s Degree
  2. This is a prerequisite for all dental schools. Some dental schools may admit students with 2 to 3 years of undergraduate study, allowing them to earn their bachelor’s degree as part of a joint degree. No specific pre-dental major is required at this stage, though coursework in biology, chemistry and physics is recommended.

  1. Clear the Dental Admission Test (DAT)
  2. This test is designed to check the academic capacity and scientific knowledge of students aspiring to be dentists. Scores from this test, along with GPA, letters of recommendation and interviews may be used by admission boards.

  1. Get a Dental Degree
  2. This is typically a 4-year long degree that ends in a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). During the first two years of this degree, students focus on classroom and lab training, while the last two years emphasize on clinical practice. During these years, students are taught to treat patients in a supervised setting.

  1. Get Licensed
  2. Michigan has a detailed application package provided on the LARA website. Some of the documents required for this are an application form that includes your basic bio data, including education, exams taken and criminal record etc. Along with this, you will have to submit fingerprint verification, certification of 2 years of training at an approved program, receipt of the NBDE exam results and completion of the NERB simulated written and clinical exam.This completed application package must be mailed to LARA for processing.

  1. Consider a Specialization
  2. Once you get your general license, you may consider going for a specialization. Specialty positions include dental anesthesiologists, dental and public health specialists, endodontists, oral pathologists, pediatric dentists and periodontists etc. You will need additional education and licensing for a specialization.

How Much Does a Dentist Make in Michigan?

As per 2018 data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, dentists made an annual mean income of $197,490 in Michigan. The amount of money earned would vary from specialty to specialty.