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A career in the dental field provides the opportunity to help people by improving their oral health and appearance. There are many career options in this growing industry and jobs are ripe for the picking. This article is geared towards providing information and resources about the various occupations, the education and training involved, as well as some salary information for the local Salt Lake City job market.
So you want to be a dentist?
Excellent choice! What kind? The American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes a number of specialties for dentist. Some of those included are a Periodontist, Endodonist, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon, and a Pediatric Dentist. Definitions of each of these specialties can be found on our FAQs page- Answer 17-20.
What does a dentist do?
A dentist diagnoses and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of the teeth and mouth. Additionally dentists serve to educate patients about their oral health, train future dentists and hygienists, and research new treatments and procedures to improve oral health.
How do I become a dentist?
Becoming a dentist typically requires attending a four-year dental school after obtaining a Bachelor degree. Some dental schools accept applicants without a Bachelor, so long as certain prerequisite courses have been completed. While Utah does not have a four-year dental program, the University of Utah offers a couple options through their Regional Dental Education Program (RDEP). This program is available to a very select number of students that either help to offset the expense of attending an out-of-state school or allow a student to attend their first-year of dental school at the University of Utah and then finish the remainder of the program at Creighton University School of Dentistry in Omaha, Nebraska. Tuition information for the Creighton University partnership is available here.
Not too far away from Salt Lake City, Utah- the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) School of Dental Medicine offers a four-year dental program. Tuition for an Out-of-State Resident is about $273,000.
A dentist must be licensed in the state he or she practices in. This involves taking a written and practical examination. Information on licensing in Utah is available on the Utah Division of Occupation and Professional Licensings website.
What does a dentist make?
Salaries vary by specialty and whether a dentist owns his/her own practice. According to the ADA, in 2009 the median earnings for a general practitioner in the U.S. was over $207,000 and a specialist averaged over $342,000. Salary.com lists the median yearly salary for a dentist in Salt Lake City, Utah at about $130,000.
Want to work in the dental field but dont want to be a dentist?
There are a number of other options. Following is information pertaining to career choices as a Dental Hygienist, a Dental Assistant, and a Dental Lab Technician.
What is a Dental Hygienist?
According to the American Dental Hygienist Association (ADHA), a dental hygienist is a licensed health care professional that works under the supervision of a dentist to provide preventative, educational, and therapeutic services to patients. A dental hygienist typically completes a two-year program after obtaining a Bachelor degree. However, many schools only require a minimum number of prerequisite credits to have been completed prior to acceptance into the program. The Salt Lake City, Utah vicinity offers a few different schooling options to become a dental hygienist. The Utah College of Dental Hygiene is located in Orem, Utah. The college offers a twenty-month program to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene (BSDH). Salt Lake Community College also offers a two-year ADA accredited Dental Hygiene Program. Tuition for this program is approximately $10,600. On average in Salt Lake City, Utah, a dental hygienist makes around $60,000 a year.
What is a Dental Assistant?
A dental assistant provides some patient care in addition to lab and office work. Training to be a dental assistant can be in the form of on-the-job training, formal training, or a combination of the two. There are many programs in the Salt Lake City, Utah vicinity available to those interested in becoming a dental assistant. Some of these programs are listed with the Utah Department of Workforce Services and the cost of such training programs ranges from $1,500 to $8,000. A dental assistant in Salt Lake City, Utah can look to make $9-$16/hour.
What is a Dental Lab Technician?
A dental lab technician manufacturers dental prosthetics as prescribed by a dentist. Training is typically on-the-job, but formal education is also available. The Fine Arts Dental Academy in Provo, Utah offers a training course and equipment for $15,000. In Salt Lake City, Utah, a dental technician earns an average of $11.69/hour.
The dental field offers many rewarding career possibilities and is one that continues to grow. The dental field is always looking for a few good men and women to help educate and improve the oral health and appearance of patients. Make sure to check out the various resources provided within this article and visit us at our website.