If you’re interested in a career in dentistry, how do you get started? Start now. In school, take classes in:
- At a minimum: chemistry, biology and math.
- If you can take physics in high school, do it.
- If you can, take AP (Advanced Placement) or college dual enrollment courses in the sciences.
A good foundation in high school can be tremendously helpful in doing well when you take these topics again in college.
Learn all you can about dentistry now
Do what you need to do to get exposure to clinical dentistry. How?
- As a start, ask to volunteer or shadow at your family dentist, pediatric dentist or orthodontist’s office.
- If you are located near a dental school, ask if there are programs for high school students to get exposure to dentistry.
- Call your local dental society or association (a Google search should help you find one) and ask if there are dentists who like to have high school students in their offices as volunteers.
- If all else fails, start calling dentists’ offices until you find an office who welcomes you.
It is very important that you get exposure to dental careers. Why? You may find that the reality of dental practice is not what you want for your life. Now is the time to find out what’s really right for you.
While you are in college
You can major in any subject you like in college, as long as you can complete the required prerequisite courses for the schools you are interested in attending. Take the time now to find out what the required courses are. Not all dental schools require the same prerequisite courses. Talk with a counselor or advisor at your school about the types of courses you should be taking. Find out when you should take the DAT and when you should apply to dental school.
Do I need a bachelor’s degree to go to dental school?
In the past, dental schools frequently admitted students without them earning a bachelors degree first. This is no longer commonly done. While it is possible to be admitted to dental school without a bachelor’s degree, it is becoming increasingly rare.
Want more information?
Learn all you can about the dental profession now. Check the “State and National Dental Associations” section of our website’s helpful links page. We also have an annual Pre-dental Forum for high school and college students.