Pre-Dentistry

Pre-dentistry programs can prepare you for admission to professional dental programs. Read on to learn more about this field of study, including employment outlook.

Is Pre-Dentistry For Me?

Career Details

Dentistry is the branch of health science that focuses on how to treat and prevent diseases and problems concerning teeth, mouth tissues and gums. Working as a licensed dentist can be a rewarding career choice, but it requires extensive education. Not only must you pass both written and clinical exams for the license, you must also earn a doctoral degree from an accredited dental school.

Pre-dentistry bachelor's degree programs are designed for undergraduate students interested in becoming dentists. They allow you to complete prerequisites required for admission into dental school.

Employment Information

Licensed dentists enjoy good job prospects, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with an increase in employment opportunities of 16% expected between the 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that the average annual salary among general dentists was $164,570 in May 2013.

How Can I Study Pre-Dentistry?

Education and Qualifying Exam

While a background in science can be beneficial for a dentist, most dental schools require well-rounded students with experience studying science and non-science subjects alike. Pre-dentistry is not an actual degree program, but by declaring a pre-dentistry academic track, along with your regularly intended major, you will have to complete all of the prerequisite courses in addition to completing an admission exam. Pre-dentistry programs typically will provide you with assistance in preparing for this exam.

As a pre-dentistry student, your required courses will typically include calculus, physics, inorganic and organic chemistry and biology, as well as courses in behavioral science and English. You are also required to complete many of these courses with labs. Some pre-dentistry programs also may offer an introductory dentistry course that would expose you to the field of dentistry.

As a pre-dentistry student, you may also have opportunities to enroll in extracurricular programs that give you additional information about the dental profession and different dental specialties. Upon completion of a pre-dental program, you're required to pass the Dental Admission Test (DAT). The DAT is composed of four separate exams for a natural sciences overview, a perception test, a reading comprehension test and a quantitative reasoning test.

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