Dentists examine and treat patients who have contracted any illness/disease of the gums, teeth or mouth. They offer oral care and hygiene guidance, conduct mouth X-rays, perform root canals, extractions and replacements of the teeth, etc.
According to the latest records of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019), Washington had 3,300 general dentists. If you want to add to their numbers by joining them, then this piece is for you. Find out everything about becoming a dentist in The Evergreen State here.

Should I Become a Dentist in Washington?



DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine)
Major Requirement Dentistry
License/Certification Required
Experience/Training Required


Key Skills

Communication, Problem Sensitivity, Judgment and Decision Making, Complex Problem Solving, Active Listening
Annual Mean Salary (2019) – National $ 178,260 (Dentists, General)
Job Outlook (2018-2028) 7%
Annual Mean Salary (2019) – Washington $185,240 (Dentists, General)

Sources: O*NET Online and US Bureau of Labor Statistics
As a dentist, you will either be a general practitioner or work in a specialized area. To become a specialist, you must undertake additional education and training programs once you have your dental degree. Like all medical professionals, dentists tend to work long hours and often spend their weekends on the job.

Career Outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 7% rise in employment opportunities for dentists from 2018 to 2028. This will be faster than the average expected in many other fields. There will also be an increased demand for dental services as more people become senior citizens.

Steps to Become a Dentist in Washington

The following process will help you become a Dentist in Washington.

    1. Bachelor’s Degree

You will begin your quest to become a dentist by enrolling in a Bachelor’s degree program. Pick any major you like but take at least some courses in sciences like biology, chemistry, psychology and physics, etc. Various dental schools also accept students who have finished 2 or 3 years of undergraduate studies. Such a program will enable you to earn your Bachelor’s degree as part of dental education.

    1. Dental Admission Test (DAT)

After undergraduate studies are done, you have to take the DAT (Dental Admission Test). Doing well in this test is essential for entry to dental school.

    1. Dental Degree

Next up will be 4 years of dental school where you will study for either a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree. The program at your selected school has to be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association (ADA).

    1. Licensing Application

Following graduation from dental school, you have to apply for your license from the Washington State Department of Health. Eligibility requirements include clearing the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) along with one of the state-approved clinical evaluations. Check the department’s website for a complete list of requirements.

    1. Specialty Education and Training

As a licensed dentist, you will have the option of working in general dentistry or choosing a specialty.

You can specialize in one of the following areas.

  • Dental Public Health
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Endodontics
  • Prosthodontics
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
  • Periodontics
  • Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology

You must study and undergo residency training for a further 2 to 4 years if you wish to become a specialist and get your license from the Washington State Department of Health.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Dentist in Washington?

It takes at least 8 years to become a dentist in Washington. You will first enroll in a 4-year undergraduate degree program before going on to dental school for the next 4 years. After that, you will spend another 2 to 4 years studying and training (residency), should you decide to work as a specialist instead of a general practitioner.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Dentist in Washington?

You have to come up to the following requirements to become a Dentist in Washington.

  • Completing undergraduate education.
  • Earning a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree.
  • Obtaining a practicing license from the Washington State Department of Health.
  • Choosing either a specialization or working in general dentistry.


How Much Can I Make after Becoming a Dentist in Washington?

According to the latest public data made available by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, dentists in Washington made $185,240 in annual mean salary in 2019.