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Dentistry Major

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Dentistry

6,374 Doctor's Degrees Annually
$122,320 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Dentistry Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many dentistry graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Doctor’s Degree 6,374
Graduate Certificate 29

What Dentistry Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to dentistry and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Dentistry Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

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  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

Skills for Dentistry Majors

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to dentistry:

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  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Abilities for Dentistry Majors

As a dentistry major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:

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  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

What Can You Do With a Dentistry Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with dentistry:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Dentists, General 19.4% $151,850
Health Specialties Professors 25.9% $97,370

How Much Do Dentistry Majors Make?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that dentistry students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree made a median starting salary of $231,200 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $231,200 (25th percentile) and $231,200 (75th percentile).

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It is possible that some of these people may have taken positions that were not related to dentistry.

Salaries According to BLS

Dentistry majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $122,320 to $175,840 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Dentistry Major  ( 122320 to 175840 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with dentistry may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

Find out what the typical degree level is for dentistry careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 1.2%
Some College Courses 4.2%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 5.2%
Bachelor’s Degree 5.2%
Master’s Degree 18.4%
Doctoral Degree 58.2%
Post-Doctoral Training 8.0%

Online Dentistry Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 64 schools offered some type of dentistry program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 0 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 0 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 0 0
Bachelor’s Degree 0 0
Post-Baccalaureate 0 0
Master’s Degree 0 0
Post-Master’s 3 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 1 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 64 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Dentistry Worth It?

The median salary for a dentistry grad is $122,320 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 207% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,648,400 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to dentistry.

Major Number of Grads
Nursing 63,380
Rehabilitation & Therapeutic Professions 23,124
Medicine 19,720
Public Health 18,212
Pharmacy/Pharmaceutical Sciences 16,970
Health & Medical Administrative Services 14,633
Mental & Social Health Services 14,322
Allied Health Professions 11,260
Communication Sciences 9,970
Osteopathic Medicine 6,700
Veterinary Medicine 3,297
Alternative Medicine & Systems 2,714
Chiropractic 2,608
Dietetics & Clinical Nutrition Services 2,301
Optometry 1,747
Advanced Dentistry & Oral Sciences 1,654
Health Sciences & Services 1,526
Medical Illustration & Informatics 1,418
Other Health Professions 1,292
Health/Medical Prep Programs 1,117
Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science 842
Medical Science 809
Podiatry 579
Bioethics/Medical Ethics 553
Allied Health & Medical Assisting Services 475
Veterinary Biomedical & Clinical Services 455
Alternative Medical Support Services 129
Dental Support Services 83
Movement & Mind-Body Therapies 79
Energy & Biologically Based Therapies 34
Ophthalmic & Optometric Support Services 19
Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants 3
Health Aids/Attendants/Orderlies 0

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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