Dentists’ responsibilities include treating various diseases of the mouth, teeth and gums. They perform tooth replacements, root canals, extractions, dental cavity fillings and give advice on oral care and hygiene. They also study X-rays of the mouth to diagnose problems, etc.
In 2019, there were 450 dentists performing their duties in West Virginia according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you also want to pursue a career as a dental services provider in the Mountain State, then read this guide to understand what you have to do.
Should I Become a Dentist in West Virginia?
|Education||Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD)|
|Key Skills||Judgment and Decision Making, Communication, Finger Dexterity, Critical Thinking, Arm-Hand Steadiness, Problem Sensitivity, Complex Problem Solving|
|Annual Mean Salary (2019) – National||$ 178,260 (Dentists, General)|
|Job Outlook (2018-2028)||7%|
|Annual Mean Salary (2019) – West Virginia||$126,880 (Dentists, General)|
Sources: US Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*NET Online
Dentists usually have two main groups: specialists and general dentistry practitioners. As a specialist, you will spend an extra 4 years studying and training in the field. In terms of work routines, long hours on the job are quite common for dentists.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted a 7% growth in job opportunities for dentists between 2018 and 2028. This projected growth is greater than that expected for many other vocations. Furthermore, an ageing population will result in rising demand for dental services.
Steps to Become a Dentist in West Virginia
Following are the steps you need to take to become a Dentist in West Virginia.
- Bachelor’s Degree Program
Your journey will start with enrollment in an undergraduate degree program. It doesn’t matter which subject you major in at this stage. However, taking a few science courses is recommended. Some dental schools also take in students with 2 or 3 years of Bachelor’s studies completed. In this stream, you can earn your Bachelor’s degree as a component of the dental education program.
- Dental Admission Test (DAT)
After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree, you can take the Dental Admission Test (DAT). Your admission to dental school will rely heavily on the score of this exam. So, try to do as well as possible.
- Dental School
- Dental School
In dental school, you can opt for either a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. Make sure you pick a school where the dental programs have been endorsed by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) which works under the umbrella of the American Dental Association (ADA).
- West Virginia Dental License
Following graduation from dental school, you can forward your licensing application to the West Virginia Board of Dentistry. Candidates normally have to pass the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) along with a clinical exam approved by the state. Don’t forget to check out the website of the West Virginia Dental Board for any other licensing criteria.
- Specialty (Optional)
You will have the following options to pick from, should you decide to leave general dentistry and become a specialist.
- Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
- Dental Public Health
- Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
- Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
- Pediatric Dentistry
You will need about 2 to 4 more years of education and possibly a residency program to hone your craft in your specialty of choice.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Dentist in West Virginia?
You will spend a minimum of 8 years to become a dentist in West Virginia. These 8 years will be divided into 4 years of undergraduate education and 4 years of dental school. In case you want to specialize after that, an additional 2 to 4 years of training and education will be needed.
What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Dentist in West Virginia?
Meet the requirements below to become a dentist in West Virginia.
- Completion of Bachelor’s degree.
- Completion of a dental degree (DMD or DDS).
- Earning a license from the West Virginia Board of Dentistry.
- Choosing general dentistry or an area of specialty.
How Much Can I Make after Becoming a Dentist in West Virginia?
According to the most up-to-date records of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, general dentists in West Virginia made $126,880 in annual mean wage in 2019.