The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Many fields require attention, dedication, and time before you can become a working professional, and dentistry is no exception. If you’re planning to pursue a dental career, you need to make sure you’re taking as many preliminary steps as possible.
Enroll in a Pre-Dental Program
When you have your career goals set on becoming a dentist, you should enroll in a pre-dental program during your undergraduate studies. This type of program provides you with the necessary fundamentals to have a successful educational and professional career. You’ll gain both the hands-on experience and the knowledge needed to succeed. If you are currently enrolled in a different undergraduate program, speak to your advisor about how to switch into or add on the pre-dental experience.
Research Dental Schools
As you’re researching dental schools, you want to know what specific criteria to look for. For example, you might want to go into a specialty program, such as orthodontics. Further, you’ll want to consider where you are planning to start your career. In short, you must ensure that you have the proper certification to work in that location. Selecting a competitive program can also help you to gain a robust educational experience.
Get Practice in the Field
Dentistry is not a field that you can learn everything about from books. For example, dental assistant training can help you to gain the hands-on skills necessary to be a successful and effective dentist. During both your undergraduate and dental school experiences, be certain to apply for and pursue any hands-on experiences that are relevant and useful to your career. Working in the field also allows you to build connections with professionals who may be able to help you upon your graduation.
Understand the Lifestyle
Too many young people jump into careers without understanding what the lifestyle will entail. As a dentist, you are likely going to have to work some weekends and evenings in order to accommodate patients’ schedules. In the event that you are planning to go into emergency dentistry, your work schedule could include late nights, weekends, and holidays on a regular basis. While maintaining a work-life balance as a dentist is possible, you also need to know what to expect.
Preparation is key in many fields, and this statement is particularly true when it comes to any medical career. The health and lives of your patients are in your hands, so you need to make a firm commitment to your job. Learning about the daily life of a dentist during your schooling years is a pivotal part of the process.