How Long does It Take to Become a Dentist? - Dental Jobs Expert

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How Long does It Take to Become a Dentist?

How long does it take to become a dentist? It’s an intriguing question that is often asked by many high school students aiming to be a dentist. This post will explain the education phase, licensing phase, and getting-the-job phase to make you fully understand and estimate the time needed to be a dentist.

How long does it take to become a dentist?

Most people only know that to be a dentist you should enroll in a dental school. What you need to know is that you need to have finished an undergraduate education from a college (with good grades in some dentistry-related courses such as biology, chemistry, physics and math) before you can get into a dental school to be a dentist. In general, this pre-dental college education takes about two to four years. Some brilliant student may be able to finish in two or three years, but most people finish at four.

At the dental school, the average duration would be three to four years. Of course, this may vary differently depending on which dental school you choose.

From here on there are two options;
1. Become a general dentist
2. Become a specialty dentist (oral surgeon, pediatric, etc)

You need to complete a post-graduate education in order to be a specialty dentistry. The length of the post-graduate dentistry education is varied, depending on which specialty you choose. Some only takes about two years to finish, while some other takes about six years.

That being said, most of the States in United States that don’t require specialty license for specialty dentistry practice. Statistically speaking, you can practice specialty dentistry without specialty license in 33 states. Therefore, a lot of new dentists prefer to work as a general dentist first.


In conclusion, here’s the answer for the “ How long does it take to become a dentist ” question: After getting your high school diploma, you will spend 2-4 years of undergraduate education; 3-4 years of dental school; and 2-6 years of post-graduate specialty dentistry education (optional).

In other words, to be a general dentist it takes about 5 to 8 years after your high school diploma. To be a specialty dentist it takes about 7 to 14 years after your high school diploma. It does seems like a long way to go, but United States needs more dentists every year. Moreover, the dentist salary is pretty alluring.

So how long does it take to be a dentist? That depends on your hard work, really.


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