The decision to become a dentist is not one to be made on a whim. Choosing this career path will take a minimum of four years of schooling that requires determination and focus. It can be costly, but the reward is a fulfilling career that allows one to help others.
Why would one become a Pennsylvania dentist? If helping others is a deep desire, this is the perfect career choice. Dentists improve people’s smiles, fix painful imperfections, and diagnose problems, followed by administering the proper treatment. This can greatly improve the patient’s self-esteem, as well as fix a true medical issue.
One also has to take into consideration their financial future. Dentistry has a higher average income than most jobs. Dental school graduates can expect to earn roughly $100,000 per year, once they have established a practice. Specialists can earn up to $200,000. Most importantly, dentists are in great demand at the moment. More dentists are reaching retirement age than there are students graduating.
It will take four years of schooling to become a Pennsylvania dentist. Students need to be well focused and devoted to this career choice. One will be expected to spend up to ten hours per day in lab work and lectures, five days each week, with only a couple of weeks off during the summer. Students take approximately 100 credits per year.
The first year of education students will take courses in gross human anatomy, including work on dissecting cadavers. Along with this they will have neuroanatomy, biochemistry, physiology, and pathology. Students may also have courses in dental occlusion and anatomy, oral biology, operative dentistry, and related labs. Lab work consists of drilling plastic teeth and making teeth from wax. During these courses one will be given extensive exams and quizzes, as well as practical exams.
By the second year of school, dental students will have more extensive lab work with daily quizzes. Many students feel this is the hardest year. Days consist of five hours of lectures. Labs cover dentures, pain control, oral surgery, and pediatrics. Courses are given in microbiology and pharmacology. By the end of the year one must pass the National Dental Boards part one.
The third year is much more hands on, treating real patients. Lectures drop to two hours per day. Courses will then include oral pathology, orthodontics, and oral medicines. Exams are now replaced with actually work on people.
By the fourth year students are expected to complete a set amount of procedures correctly before graduation, such as crowns, extractions, root canals, and other common dentistry. The year finishes with the Northeast Regional Board Exam and the National Dental Board part two. Passing both of these allows the student to move on to an actual dentistry job or an internship for further experience.
Students can find scholarships and student loans to help cover expenses. A four year program in public schools averages $150,000. Private schools are higher, running $300,000 to $350,000. Costs can be reduced if the student is a resident of the state they are taking the course in. One also needs to calculate in extras such as laptops, instruments, admission tests and software. Although it can become pricey, dental school is a good investment. With annual wages of $100,000 dentists manage to pay off student loans much quicker than many career choices.