Dentistry Degree Programs

A degree in the field of dentistry offers many career options including doctor of dental medicine or surgery, dental hygienist and dental asistant. Read on to learn what degree programs are available, as well as online availability and licensing procedures. Schools offering Dental Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Dentistry Degrees Are Available?

There are several degrees available to you if you'd like to work in the field of dentistry. To become a dentist, you'll need to satisfy undergraduate prerequisites before applying to dental school to earn a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). Completion of a doctoral degree in dentistry qualifies you for licensure so you can work as a general dentist. However, to work as a specialist, such as an orthodontist, you could need to complete additional training or education.

If four more years after your undergraduate training sounds daunting, there are many support positions that you can pursue. If you'd like to become a dental hygienist, you can typically begin by earning an associate's degree that prepares you to enter the workforce upon graduation. You can also consider completing a 4-year bachelor's degree program in dental hygiene, which can broaden your career options to include academia, research or clinical practice in schools. Master's degree programs in dental hygiene can help you establish your qualifications and potentially improve your employment opportunities.

You could also consider a job as a dental assistant. While some dental offices might offer on-the-job training, diploma and associate's degree programs include instruction in the administrative, patient and clinical duties that you'd perform as a dental assistant.

Dentistry Degree Programs Doctoral degree in dental medicine or dental surgery; associate, bachelor, and master's degrees in dental hygiene; diploma and associate degrees in dental asisting
Online Availability Some programs are available in a hybrid format.
Licensure Required in most dental careers, may not be required for entry-level dental assisting jobs

What Are My Online Training Options?

Some universities offer online bachelor's degree completion and master's degree programs in dental hygiene, and some dental assistant associate's degree programs are available in a hybrid format, requiring you to either complete some course or lab work at the campus or participate in clinical practicums at an approved dental site. The curricula and instructor interaction are typically available through an online course management system. Campus visits might be required for special coursework, practicums or initial orientation. Online bachelor's and master's degree programs could require that you work in the field in order to satisfy experience requirements, or you might need to have completed an associate degree program that meets practical lab and clinical qualifications.

Do I Need to Be Licensed or Certified?

All dental careers require licensing and certification. Earning your doctoral degree qualifies you to take the examinations required to obtain your license as a dentist. Once you become licensed, you could open your own office or work with other dental professionals in a cooperative practice. Alternatively, you can work in public health, education or research into maintaining dental health.

You'll also need licensure to practice as a dental hygienist. All states accept national testing administered by the American Dental Association (ADA), though some might also require that you demonstrate your expertise and knowledge of state laws through a practical state exam. Licensing requirements for dental assistants differ among states. For entry-level positions, a license is not always required, but to perform other tasks assigned by a dentist, you might need additional licensure or special training for duties involving advanced functions, such as radiologic procedures. More than 300 dental assisting training programs were accredited through the Dental Assisting National Board as of 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov).

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster

    Penn Foster responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Harvard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Cambridge
  • University of Pennsylvania

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
  • University of Florida

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Gainesville
  • Howard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Columbia (D.C.): Washington
  • Boston University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Boston