Health Occupations
& Technology


To be a successful Dentist you should…

  • have excellent judgment of space and shape
  • be concerned for and committed to health care and oral hygiene
  • have good eye/hand coordination and precision
  • have excellent manual dexterity and patience for minute movement
  • have good listening skills and ability to communicate clearly
  • have an interest in biology and health sciences

Click here to view video.

What will my job be like?

Dentists, or Doctors of Dental Medicine (DM), or Doctors of Dental Surgery (DDS), diagnose and treat problems of the teeth and tissues of the mouth. Dentists are artists as well as scientists; to brighten one tooth or realign an entire jaw, dentists must have an artist’s aesthetic sense to help their patients look their best.

Dentists may specialize in the following:

  • Dental Public Health
  • Endodontics
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and Surgery
  • Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Periodontics
  • Prosthodontics

Where could I work?

Most dentists are “solo practitioners,” meaning they own their own businesses and work alone or with a small staff. Some dentists have partners, and a few work for other dentists as associate dentists. Dentists usually work with a dental hygienist, dental assistant, or nurse.

Most dentists work 4 or 5 days a week. Some work evenings and weekends to meet their patients’ needs. Most full-time dentists work about 40 hours a week. They may have their own practice or be part of a dental or medical group.

Other workplace settings:

  • Community Health Centers
  • Dental Research
  • Dental Schools and Clinics
  • Equipment Manufacturing Companies
  • Hospitals
  • Public Health Departments

What is the average annual salary?


What is the future of this career?

Overall employment of dentists is projected to grow 8 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations, according to the BLS.

About 5,000 openings for dentists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

What type of education and/or training do I need?

Dentists have at least eight years of education beyond high school, and specialization requires even more training. Students entering dental school are expected to have completed the equivalent of four years of college and have a science-based baccalaureate degree. All dental school applicants are required to take the Dental Admission Test administered by the Council on Dental Education of the American Dental Association.

Where can I get the education and/or training?

  • University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, Farmington

Do I need a license or certification for this career?

Licensure is required in the State of Connecticut. Prerequisite: Connecticut requires graduation from an approved Dental School and passing the National Board Examination; acceptable Regional Clinical Performance Test (e.g. NERB).

Please visit the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health website for more information.

Where can I get more information?

American Dental Association
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL   60611
(800) 621-8099