Doctors who acquire extensive knowledge and training to treat oral health problems related to teeth, gums and other parts of the mouth are called dentists.

Should I Become a Dentist in South Carolina?

Becoming a dentist is overall a lengthy process which requires determination, attention-to-detail, patience and excellent communication skills. Dentists, like all other doctors, also get to specialize in certain areas. For instance, those who specialize may work as, Orthodontists, Prosthodontists or as Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons etc. whereas, dentists who choose not to specialize work as General Dentists.

Education Required At least a doctoral or a professional degree
Major Requirement Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD)
License/Certification State licensure is mandatory
Experience/Training A 2-4 year Residency Program (Except for General Dentists)
Key Skills Dexterity and Patience, Detail-oriented, Decision-making, Communication and Organizational skills etc.
Annual Mean Salary

(National, 2019)

$178,260 (General Dentists)
Annual Mean Salary,

(South Carolina, 2019)

$177,480 (General Dentists)
Job Outlook


7% (Faster than the average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019)

Career Outlook

A 7% rise in the employment for dentists has been projected by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2018 to 2028. According to the BLS, a substantial rise in the demand for dental services is to be expected in the coming years because of the aging population. Moreover, the data reported by the BLS in 2019 showed that there were 1,560 general dentists working in South Carolina.

Steps to Become a Dentist in South Carolina

To work as a licensed dentist in South Carolina, interested candidates are required to complete a certain level of education and experience. This detailed guideline can help you get started!

    1. Get a 4-year bachelor’s degree

The first milestone on this journey is completion of a 4-year bachelor’s degree. Since this is a pre-requisite for dental school, be sure to choose your major subject from biological sciences e.g. Biochemistry.

    1. Clear the Dental Admissions Test (DAT)

It is also a mandatory pre-requisite to enroll in a dental school. Therefore, all candidates must gain excellent scores in DAT to get into a dental program.

    1. Graduating from a Dental School

After completion of all pre-requisites, you must enroll in and successfully graduate from a CODA/ADA accredited 4-year DDS or DMD degree. Several universities in South Carolina offer these degree such as, the Medical University of South Carolina.

    1. Residency

Since general dentists do not specialize in a particular area, they are not required to go through a residency program and can proceed to the licensure step. On the other hand, those who want to specialize must complete a CODA/ADA accredited residency program which may range anywhere between 2 to 6 years depending on the chosen area.

    1. Applying for a State Issued License

The South Carolina Board of Dentistry issues licenses to all dentists and prospective candidates must file an application with all relevant documents to get a license.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Dentist in South Carolina?

Becoming a licensed dentist generally takes at least 10 to12 years. However, if you choose to specialize, then it may take even longer. To work as a licensed dentist, all interested individuals must complete the relevant steps mentioned above.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Licensed Dentist in South Carolina?

To be a licensed dentist in South Carolina, a candidate must:

  • Graduate from a CODA or ADA accredited 4-year DDS/DMD
  • Clear the National Board Exam and the SC Jurisprudence Exam
  • Pass the relevant clinical exams approved by the CRDTS and ADEX
  • Agree to appear for interview, if called
  • Must have a clean record (those with any disciplinary issues will be reviewed on case by case basis-for details. Please see the official website of the South Carolina Board of Dentistry for complete information)

How Much Can I Make after Becoming a Dentist in South Carolina?

As per the data reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2019, all General Dentists employed in South Carolina had an annual mean salary of $177,480. Moreover, Rhode Island was named as the highest paying state for this career in 2019 with an annual mean salary of $262,900.