Should I Become a Dentist in Virginia?
|Education Required||Professional or doctoral degree|
|Training||Required for specialization|
|Key Skills||Problem Solving Skills, Leadership Skills, Dexterity, Patience, Organization Skills and Communication Skills.|
|Annual Mean Salary (2019) – National||$178,260 (Dentists, General)|
|Job Outlook (2018-28)||7%|
|Annual Mean Salary (2019) – Virginia||$187,150 (Dentists, General)|
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Dentistry is a profession which has been constantly growing. It requires people to be passionate about oral health and the well-being of others. Dentistry needs a lot of hard work and determination to achieve success. It is one of the most popular professions in the field of medicine as it has a strong job outlook and offers high job security.
As the population is growing, the demand for dental services is also increasing. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, dentists are projected to experience a growth of 7% from 2018-2028. Since people have started associating their overall health with dental care, they access dental services more often. It is also expected that the demand for complicated dental work like, dental implants will increase in the coming years as well. A dentist requires multiple skills including communication skills, problem-solving skills and leadership skills.
Steps to Become a Dentist in Virginia
- Get a Bachelor’s degree
The first step to become a dentist is to get a bachelor’s degree. Students can choose any major as dental schools do not have any specific requirements. However, they have to take certain courses like physics, biology and mathematics.
- Take the Dental Associations Test (DAT)
Aspiring dentists are required to take the DAT. The standardized exam evaluates students’ academic capacity and scientific knowledge. DAT scores are required by all dental schools along with a letter of recommendation and a good CGPA.
- Obtain a Dental Degree
Students enroll in a dental college once they pass the DAT. The 4-year program results in a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. These programs have to be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). The first two years of the program focus on imparting theoretical knowledge to students. While, in the last two years students are allowed to work with patients and diagnose illnesses.
- Obtain Licensure
In Virginia, all applicants have to be licensed from an accredited college to apply for licensure. They have to pass all the parts of the National Board Dental Examination administered by the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations. These professionals are also required to pass board approved clinical-dental examinations. The Virginia Board of Dentistry awards licensure to applicants who fulfill all the requirements.
- Consider Specializations
Dentists who want to specialize in any field of dentistry have to obtain a post-DMD or a post-DDS degree. There are multiple specializations accredited by the CODA such as dental public health, pediatric dentistry, etc. It requires 1-2 years of additional education and training to become a specialized dentist.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Dentist in Virginia?
Prospective dentists need to complete a 4 year-undergraduate program followed by a 4-year graduate program at an accredited medical school. Once they fulfill the education requirements, they become eligible to apply for licensure.
What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Dentist in Virginia?
Following are the requirements to become a dentist in Virginia:
- Obtain an undergraduate degree
- Take the DAT and get admission in an accredited dental college
- Obtain a dental degree
- Pass all parts of the National Board Dental Examination
- Pass the board approved clinical dental examinations
How Much Can I Make after Becoming a Dentist in Virginia?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean salary of general dentists working in Virginia was $187,150 in 2019.