Careers in Dentistry

A dental education opens up a world of professional opportunities.

The US News & World Report consistently rates being a dentist in the top 10 of their annual best jobs list. Dental graduates can work in private practices, or they can choose to work in clinics, hospitals, emergency rooms, large group practices, research facilities, teach at dental schools or travel with international health and relief organizations. They have a low unemployment rate, flexible hours, and high earning potential.

Top 10 Reasons to Become a Dentist

  • Serve Others: Help people maintain and improve their oral health, quality of life and appearance
  • Balance Your Lifestyle: Dentistry offers flexibility to balance professional and personal life
  • Empower Your Patients: Give patients smiles they are proud to wear
  • Research: Be involved with the scientific advancement of dentistry
  • Be a Leader: Earn respect from your family, friends and community
  • Educate: Be an educator on the importance of oral health
  • Detect Disease: Treat oral health and detect disease - including cancer and cardiovascular disease
  • Be Creative: Merge your artistic and scientific talents
  • Succeed: With the aging population and increase in access to care, the demand and need for dentistry is on the rise
  • Be Your Own Boss: Own a dental practice and set your own schedule

Becoming a Dentist

General dentists are responsible for the diagnosis, treatment, management and overall coordination of a patient’s oral health. General dentists are trained in all dental procedures but choose not to specialize in only one specific area of dentistry. Dental specialists are dentists who have received additional education and training after receiving licensure as a general dentist. A dental education also gives you access to other career paths, like working in a hospital emergency room, conducting advanced laboratory research, teaching future dentists or even traveling the world with international health and relief organizations.

To apply to dental school, one must first complete an accredited 4-year bachelor degree program. Upon graduating with an undergraduate degree, students must take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT).

Dental school generally lasts four years and leads to a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM) degree. Graduates must pass required state examinations to be certified to practice as dentists.

Dental Education Programs:

GSLDS Career Shadowing Program

Did you know that students applying to dental schools are expected to have a 100+ hours of career shadowing completed? In an effort to support our future dentists, GSLDS offers a one-day Career Shadowing experience which allows the student to choose the type of dentistry they would like to observe. Most assignments offer 5-8 hours of shadowing credit.

To become involved with the Career Shadowing Program, either as a student or as a mentor, please contact Emily at 314-569-0444 or