Bachelor's Degrees in Dentistry
Dentistry is a postgraduate field of study, so find out about undergraduate degree options in pre-dentistry or in a science area, such as chemistry or biology. Get information about courses available in these programs.
Can I Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Dentistry?
To apply for dental school, you must complete a bachelor's degree program. You can choose your major from any course of study, but most dental schools require extensive prerequisite training in lab-based science courses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many pre-dentistry students choose majors in science fields (www.bls.gov). You could also major in pre-dentistry, which will provide you with all the prerequisite coursework necessary for admission to dental school.
|Degree Availability||Bachelor's degrees in predenistry are rare, however related degrees in fields such as chemistry or microbiology are available at most universities.|
|Common Courses||Cell biology, statistics, chemistry, ethics|
|Prerequisites||Completion of the DAT; admission into dental school; licensure is required at the post-doctoral level.|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$156,240 per year (for all dentists)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||19% (for all dentists)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Can I Learn in Pre-Dentistry Programs?
In pre-dentistry programs, you take courses that prepare you for the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) and entry into professional dentistry schools. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the DAT consists of four parts that deal with the natural sciences, perceptual ability, reading comprehension and quantitative reasoning (www.ada.org). Pre-dentistry curricula focus specifically on science courses, including physics, organic chemistry and microbiology. Elective courses include ethics, psychology and statistics.
What Are Some Common Majors for Pre-Dentistry Students?
You can choose from majors that focus heavily on science courses, including chemistry and biology. If you choose to major in chemistry, you'll learn about organic molecule structures, chemical analysis techniques and genetic information transmission. You'll do lab work that focuses on biochemical procedures, molecular modeling and quantitative measurement methodologies.
In biology major programs, you can take courses in cell biology, homeostasis and genetics. In microbiology courses, you can explore human bacterial diseases, infection and immunity and culture techniques. Your lab time may include conducting experiments with recombinant DNA or learning about modern molecular techniques.
What Can I Do With This Degree?
After earning your bachelor's degree, you can take the DAT test and apply for admission to one of the 50 dental schools accredited by the ADA's Commission on Dental Accreditation. Your acceptance may be based on your DAT scores, undergraduate GPA, reference letters and a personal interview.
Most dental school programs can be completed in four years, according the BLS; you are then awarded either a Doctor of Dental Medicine or a Doctor of Dental Surgery. After receiving your doctorate, you must pass state exams to earn licensure, which is required for dental practice. According to the BLS, the median salary for dentists as of May 2018 was $156,240.