Oral Surgeon Degree Programs

Learn about the education options for an oral surgery career. Get details on the training and residency requirements as well as typical job duties and employment opportunities. Schools offering Dental Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Degree Do I Need to Become an Oral Surgeon?

In order to become an oral surgeon, you must first graduate with a bachelor's degree in a science-related field and score highly on the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). This will qualify you to gain admittance into dental school. Once you have successfully passed the exam and met all other educational requirements, such as a high grade point average and adequate letters of recommendation, you can begin to study in a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree program.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that DDS programs consist of coursework in dental biology, anatomy and physiology, and chemistry (www.bls.gov). Classroom instruction is paired with laboratory work, and after the first two years of study, you will start training in a dental office and begin to work on patients.

Oral Surgeon Degree Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
Typical Coursework Dental biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology
Residency Requirements 4-year or 6-year program with clinical training and research
Work Environments Employment opportunities in private practice, hospitals, surgery centers, universities

What Does a Residency Program Involve?

Once you have completed a DDS degree program, you must enroll in a residency program to prepare to work as an oral surgeon. These programs for aspiring oral surgeons take around four years to complete. There is also a 6-year residency option available if you wish to earn a medical degree in the process. Residency programs involve clinical training as well as researching, and all programs require that you practice extensively in the field.

As an Oral Surgeon, What Can I Expect from My Career?

As an oral surgeon, you will be responsible for surgical procedures relating to the areas of the mouth, head, jaws, teeth and gums. Oral surgeons can work in private practice or in a hospital or surgery center. Some oral surgeons may choose to focus more on maxillofacial practices such as plastic surgery, while others may choose to work strictly in a dental setting. You will also need to obtain licensure in order to practice in your state.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons earned a mean annual salary of $233,900, according to 2015 BLS data. While the majority of oral surgeons work in dental offices, employment opportunities are also available in hospitals and universities.

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:

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