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Find a Job As a Dentist

Dentists are health care professionals who diagnose and treat gum and tooth problems, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment of dentists is projected to climb by 16 percent through 2018, and their median annual wages in May 2008 were $142,870, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. After completing four years of dental school--which include classroom instruction along with hands-on clinical training--just a few steps can help you to successfully land a job as a dentist.

Make sure you are licensed by your state to practice dentistry. Most states will require you to complete a written and practical examination in addition to having your Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine degree. Regional or state testing agencies typically give the examinations, but passing the National Board Dental Examinations often will fulfill the written exam portion of your state's licensing requirements, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If you want to practice a dental specialty such as orthodontics or oral surgery, you will have to complete two to four years of postgraduate education and sometimes a special state exam as well. In addition, you should be prepared to complete up to two years of a postgraduate residency term in this specialty area.

Contact your academic institution's career services department. This department should give you information about openings for dentists in your area. In addition, ask your dental instructors if they know of any area dentists who are looking for an employee. Use your teachers as a resource, for they often have strong ties to the local dental community.

Go to online job search sites to look for dentist openings near you or in the area in which you wish to practice. For example, well-known sites such as Monster, CareerBuilder and Indeed list dentist positions along with information about the prospective employers and job requirements. Many of these positions are those for associate dentists, who work for other dentists, and require new hires to complete tasks such as reviewing dental radiographs, placing restorations, performing extractions or removing tooth decay, according to CareerBuilder.

Call dentists in your area to see if they are looking for an associate dentist or partner. Focus on general dentist offices or specialty offices depending on your level of dental training as well as your area of interest. Also, send a resume to any offices of interest along with a cover letter, and mention a time you plan to call and follow up to see if they have any interest in working with another dentist.

Contact a dentist recruiting service that will help you to find openings in your area, such as DDS Resources Inc. (see Resources). These types of services can give you information about openings you otherwise might not find online or through your academic institution, and they can provide job boards for your regions of interest.



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