If you’re one of those people who are passionate about joining the dental profession, then you have come to the right place. This guide will help you understand how to become a dentist in Pennsylvania.

Job Duties of a Dentist

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that dentists carry out the following tasks:

  • Extract or repair damaged teeth
  • Fill in cavities and remove decay
  • Place whitening agents or sealants on teeth
  • Examine x-rays of the jaw, gums and teeth
  • Educate patients about maintaining oral health – educate them about the use of fluoride, flossing etc.

Requirements to Become a Dentist in Pennsylvania

The following section will help you understand the requirements that need to be met in order to become a dentist in Pennsylvania:

    1. Education Requirements

You must complete a four year long doctoral degree from an accredited school in order to become eligible for a license. You have the option of pursuing either a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.).


    1. Training Requirements

Apart from completing the required coursework of your doctoral degree, you will also have to complete your clinical training component in the form of a professional internship.

    1. Certification and Licensing Requirements

The state of Pennsylvania has made it mandatory for aspiring dentists to obtain a professional license in order to protect the public from unethical and fraudulent practitioners. To get your license, you will have to make an application to the State Board of Dentistry and will be required to submit all the necessary documents.

Steps Involved in Becoming a Dentist in Pennsylvania

You will have to pass through the following steps if you set on a journey to become a dentist in Pennsylvania:

    1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Since medical schools seek candidates who have desirable preparation for dental school, therefore you will have to enroll in a bachelor’s program that allows you to study modules related to Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry and English. These courses will come in handy when you start preparing for the Dental Admission Test (DAT).

    1. Earn a Doctorate Degree and Fulfill the Training Criteria

Once you have met the pre-dental requirements and have cleared your Dental Admission Test (DAT) with flying colors, you can then apply to an advanced degree such as a Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D) or a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S) program. These programs will also give you an opportunity to gain professional training experience by letting you complete your internship credits.

    1. Get a License and Retain It!

The procedure of applying for a state license is mentioned below:

      • You will be expected to send your application to the State Board of Dentistry. Make sure that all the supporting material is sent to the Board. This includes documents such as your criminal history, databank report, education form and CV etc.
      • You will also have to pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam (written test) and the clinical exam.
      • After successfully completing these stages, you will be finally given a license.


Employment Data

Employment figures reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics have revealed that dentists in Pennsylvania are earning a lucrative salary. In 2018, their annual mean pay was $153,950.