California is a very good place to work for dentists, with the highest employment level in this occupation. According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018, the state of California had 17,240 dentists working in the state, followed by New York, with 8,700, Texas with 8,110 and Florida with 6,840.
If you want to become a part of this field in California, you have come to the right place for all the information you need. The following guide lists down the time required to become a dentist, the salary and growth in this field.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Dentist in California
On average, it can take you around 8 years to become a dentist. However, the exact time taken would vary from program to program and the kind of dentist you intend to become. Let’s take an in-depth look at the breakdown of these 8 years.
- Bachelor’s Degree – 4 Years
This is a pre-requisite for getting into dental school. Students are encouraged to take courses in science, biology and pre-dentistry. This would help them meet the admission requirements for dental schools.
- Studying for and Passing the DAT (Dental Admissions Test)
Most students take this test in the third year of college, so no additional time is counted for this step. However, you must keep in mind that you will be spending a substantial amount of time on this while in college. Applying for dental schools would require the successful completion of the DAT, which is kind of like the SAT or ACT for dental schools. It is comprised of four consecutive multiple-choice tests, which are Survey of Natural Sciences, Perpetual Ability, Reading Comprehension and Quantitative Reasoning. The test time is 4 hours and 15 minutes and it is scored on a scale of 1 to 30, with the average score being 17.
- Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) Degree – 4 Years
This is the minimum amount of education you will need to work as a dentist in California. The four-year long degree will have a curriculum based on classes and clinical rotation hours. Both these programs are preparation for licensure and each takes the same amount of time to complete.
- Postdoctoral Training – 2 to 4 Years
Dentists who want to specialize in a particular area can opt for specialty education. This could include specialization in orthodontics, pediatric dentistry or oral and maxillofacial surgery. These programs are usually in the form of a 2-4 year long residency in an accredited institute. Some specialties might take longer, for instance, oral and maxillofacial surgery programs usually take 4 to 6 years to complete.
How Much Does a Dentist Make in California
Dentists in California made an annual mean wage of $151,490 in 2018, as per data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. California had the highest number of jobs for dentists, with 17,240 people employed.