Career Profile: Dentist
When you think of the career that you want to pursue for the rest of your life, you probably imagine a career that pays well and gives you a strong level of respect. Not many other careers command the respect and pay the bills like being a dentist. A dentist works with many patients to improve their dental health, diagnose issues, and give advice to maintain overall oral health. This is a particularly important job since oral health often has an impact on overall health in patients. They also oversee other tasks, like making dental models of patients’ teeth to map out certain issues, examine x-rays to find issues with teeth and gums, clear out cavities and rot, conduct regular cleaning sessions involving flossing, fluoride, and teeth scraping, write prescriptions for necessary antibiotics, and straighten teeth and conduct other minor surgeries.
What are the perks of the job?
The immediate perks to being a dentist in Canada is the high annual pay, which can average out to $108,195 a year or about $54.02 an hour (according to Payscale). Starting salaries alone can have you earning about $59,000 a year. The profession also commands a certain level of respect not only in the medical field, but in regular life. For dentists that pursue the entrepreneurial route and begin their own practice, they can also enjoy flexible hours and the independence to run the business as they long as they abide by regular medical practises.
What are some of the setbacks?
While the money sounds great, the amount of years you will spend in school is extensive. First, you need to take a bachelor’s degree program related to the field that teaches you in-class training over the course of four years. Most students take a degree in microbiology, anatomy, chemistry, and biology. After you get your undergraduate degree, you can then apply for a doctorate in a dental program from a college approved by the Canada Dental Association (for a complete list of their approved schools, refer to their Contacts for Admission page). Many of these programs offer a Masters of Science in Dentistry, a Ph.D in a dentist-related field or a medical doctorate.
How can I grow with this career?
Many dentists either work within larger companies or begin their own dental practice. As dentists start off, they can specialize in many different fields or take on many different positions, such as: dental public health specialists, oral radiologists, endodontists, pediatric dentists, orthodontists, and oral pathologists. There are different ways dentists can either be promoted or take on a new specialty.
That’s all great, but could I be hired for other careers?
The prospects you earn from working within the dentistry field can be transferred to many other professions, according to Prospects.com, including: a professor teaching in scientific fields or within dentistry, a science writer, a primary or high school teacher within the science fields, a health promotion specialist, and many others.
Payscale, “Average Dentist Salary”:
Study, “Dentist Education Requirements and Career Information”