There are a number of different degrees that a dental school can offer, but one that almost every school offers is the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. The DDS degree is a graduate degree that indicates that an individual has completed all of the clinical, dental, biomedical, and science courses necessary to be a dental professional and that the individual has a firm understanding of the dental procedures and practices that a dental professional may be required to perform. The DDS degree can be extremely helpful if you are planning to become a dentist, but there are a few things about a DDS degree that you should keep in mind.
- First, it is important to remember that you will need to meet a series of requirements in order to get into a DDS program. Most dental schools will require you to obtain a bachelor’s degree (a degree in science is typically preferred but not always required); complete a series of college-level science and English courses; complete at least one college-level math course; meet the GPA and Dental Admission Test (DAT) score requirements that the school has set (typically, a GPA of no less than a 3.25, a DAT academic average score of no less than an 18, and a DAT Perceptual Ability Test score of no less than an 18); as well as other similar requirements.
- Second, it will typically take you four years after obtaining your bachelor’s degree to obtain your DDS degree, but there are some programs that will allow you to earn your DDS degree in two or three years rather than four. This is important to know because a four-year program will require that you invest not only more time, but also more money. In fact, an extra year of dental school can cost anywhere from $25,000 to $90,000(most cost between $25,000 and $51,000), which means that an expedited or a combined degree program may be able to save you anywhere from $25,000 to $180,000.
- Third, a DDS degree is extremely helpful to have because it allows you to meet the education requirement for a license to practice dentistry in any state in the United States. This is important because you will be required to obtain a license to practice dentistry before you begin your career as a dentist, and you have to have a degree that the state will accept in order to obtain a license.
- Finally, it is important to note that a DDS degree may help you become a dentist, but it isn’t necessarily the only degree that you may need. Some states require you to obtain a specialty degree instead of or in addition to a DDS degree if you want to work in certain specialties. It is also important to note that a DDS degree will not necessarily guarantee that you receive a license because there are age, testing, and other similar requirements, in addition to the education requirement, that you must meet in order to obtain a license.