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Becoming a Dentist in Pennsylvania - PA

Dentistry is a rewarding, well paid career, and Pennsylvanian dentists are among the best paid in the country. When you’re ready to begin, you’ll find that initially there are many different routes you can take. By following these simple steps, you’ll have a good understanding of how to become a dentist in Pennsylvania, and what lies ahead:

  1. Dentistry schools are competitive, so do as well as you can in high school and college, making sure to take part in extracurricular activities that will look good on transcripts. Dental school applicants in Pennsylvania need a bachelor’s degree to be considered, usually one in a science-focused or medically relevant discipline.

  2. Before you can apply to one of the handful of prestigious dental schools in Pennsylvania, you’re required take and pass the DAT, or Dental Admissions Test. There are numerous resources that will help you ace the exam, from guidebooks and simulated tests, to online training programs and seminars.
  3. Once you’re actually attending a dental school in Pennsylvania, you’ll find that your curriculum is split into two two-year sections. During the first component, you’ll be in the classroom where you’ll learn oral anatomy and health systems, and become familiar with the tools you’ll use to perform your wide range of duties as a dental professional. The second half is spent in a special teaching clinic where you’ll perform everything from teeth cleanings to root canals under the supervision and guidance of licensed dentists licensed to practice in Pennsylvania.
  4. In four years you’ll be nearing the end of your doctorate of dental science degree program. Before you can practice; however, you’ll need to take the national certifying exam known as the NBDE. This test is designed to rigorously test both your knowledge of dentistry and your clinical ability.  This exam takes place over the course of three days.
  5. When you’ve passed the NBDE, you need only to apply for a license from the Pennsylvania board of Dentistry. To stay in good standing, you’ll need to complete 20 continuing education hours every 2 years, and renew your license periodically.

Dentist Schools