Have you ever considered becoming a dentist? It takes time and effort, but it can be a rewarding career. So, how many years does it take to become a dentist?
If becoming a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD) is your path, it’s time to start planning. It requires a targeted college curriculum, dental school, and passing a licensing exam.
How many years of college to be a dentist?
Prospective dentists need a four-year bachelor’s degree plus four years of dental school. Most dental schools don’t require a specific undergraduate major, but some science courses are required to enter dental school, such as: biology, chemistry, physics, and more.
Some schools even offer pre-dental programs that put you on track for dental school. Check dental school prerequisites to make sure you’re taking the right courses as an undergrad.
What happens after you complete your bachelor’s degree?
Once you’ve completed your undergraduate studies, the next step is taking the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). While each dental school has different admission requirements, most will consider your DAT results and your undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA).
The American Dental Association recommends applying for dental school a year in advance of your start date. The process is rigorous. Applications can be submitted through the American Dental Education Association’s American Dental Schools Application Service, which allows you to fill out one application for multiple schools.
There’s more after dental school.
Graduating from dental school isn’t the end. To begin practicing, you will need to get a license from the professional board in the state where you want to practice. In South Dakota, that’s the South Dakota Board of Dentistry.
South Dakota, like most states, requires an applicant to take an additional dentistry exam for licensure. Results from the Central Regional Dental Testing Service (CRDTS) or the Western Regional Examining Board (WREB) are accepted by the South Dakota board.
Each state board will also require submission of documents, background information, even more tests, and other information in the rigorous application.
So how many years does it take to become a dentist? The answer depends on your path, but you’re looking at roughly 8 years to start.