Pre-Dentistry Studies

Pre-Dental, much like Pre-Med or Pre-Vet, isn’t a major in and of itself. It’s a track that leads to working in the dental industry, making it a pre-professional route. Dental work, in general, is to provide safe and effective care of people’s teeth and mouths. These specialized professionals are trained to diagnose and treat a variety of oral health issues. Dentistry can be studied at just about every level of education, from certificate to degree to medical doctorate.

All dental programs should be accredited by The Commission on Dental Accreditation, or CODA.

Certificate Level

Becoming a dental assistant requires a 1-year degree program. Dental assistants typically perform work alongside a licensed dentist, otherwise referred to as chairside assisting. They may also be required to greet patients, prepare exam rooms, and perform administrative work.

To become certified, students must pass the Dental Assisting National Board’s (DANB) Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination.

Associate Level

Typically a 2 to 3 year program, this track can lead to becoming a dental hygienist. Dental hygienists perform teeth cleanings, take x-rays, and administer sealants and fluoride treatments. Depending on the office, they may also take on administrative duties, such as maintaining patient records.

A degree in dental hygiene will include courses on patient/pain management, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, dental anatomy, radiology, pharmacology for dental hygiene, and more. To officially become a Registered Dental Hygienist, graduates from an accredited program must pass the clinical exams administered by the American Dental Association (ADA) Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations.

Careers for students with an Associate’s in Dental Hygiene: Dental Hygienist. The average yearly salary for this career is $72, 910.

Baccalaureate

Degrees in dental work aren’t typically available at the bachelor’s level; instead, they typically lead to a medical doctorate (MD) to become a fully-licensed dentists. To increase their wages or marketability, some dental hygienists will complete a baccalaureate, but it isn’t required.

Pre-dental students will often major in any of the biological and physiological sciences, which can help when taking the American Dental Association’s Dental Admissions Test (DAT) for admittance into an MD program. They provide exposure to laboratory work, biostatistics, microanatomy, genetics, cell biology, social behavior, and more.

If the intention is to continue forward and obtain an MD, students typically must have a minimum of a 3.2 GPA and complete certain prerequisite courses before taking the ADA’s DAT, which include:

  • Biology

  • General chemistry

  • Organic chemistry

  • Physics

  • Anatomy

  • Biochemistry

  • Immunology

  • Physiology

  • Math

  • English Composition

Doctorate Level

Dental school typically takes four years to complete, two in the classroom and two working in clinical settings. Upon graduation, to officially become a practicing dentists, graduates must take and pass the National Board Dental Examination. The NBDE is a two-part test, with both written and oral sections.

Specialization within this field, such as in orthodontics, can add anywhere between 2 to 4 years of school and require a residency, as well as further testing.

Careers for graduates with an MD in Dentistry (who have passed the NBDE): Dentist, Orthodontist, Endodontist, Pediatric Dentist, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Periodontist, Prosthodontist, Oral Pathologist. The average annual salary for those working as a dentist, or any of the specialized fields, is between $125,000 and $235,000. 

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Colleges

Boston University

Boston University is a private, non-profit university with a heavy emphasis on research. BU’s main location is right in its name—Boston, MA—but the university has flagship locations around the world, including in London, Sydney, and Washington, DC,...

“…Boston University is an elite university that is constantly improving. It is a very expensive college but has a lot of resources for its students. Students who wish to attend should be somewhat independent and not afraid to take full advantage of the...” – Daniel from Staten Island, NY

University of Maryland-College Park

Founded in 1856, the University of Maryland-College Park is a 4-year public research university in Maryland’s Capital Region and the flagship campus of the UMD system. UMD hosts 12 colleges and schools granting undergraduate degrees in 92 academic...

“…UMD, College Park is a school full of opportunities and great education. It has a campus feel, but is large enough to feel like it's own town and easy access to Washington, D.C. and other commercial areas, providing plenty of opportunities for...” – Jennifer from Western Maryland

Clemson University

Clemson University is America’s second-largest university by student population and South Carolina’s land- and sea-grant institution. Clemson is home to seven colleges and schools offering bachelor’s degrees in more than 80 academic majors. For...

“…Clemson University is a community that strives to promote equality among it's students, promote environmental sustainability through numerous on-campus programs, and provide a rigorous education for preparation for their career field. Clemson also...” – Matthew from Mount Pleasant, SC

University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT
University of Utah

The University of Utah is a public research instititution situated in Salt Lake City that offers more than 100 undergraduate majors. The U is home to three professional arts organizations to complement the College of Fine Arts, and even features a 3...

“…The university is a fun place to meet new people. It gives you a great education and the professors are really interested in teaching the topic. The location of the university is also great and has many surroundings to help you enjoy your college...” – Kayla from West Jordan, UT

University of Illinois at Chicago

The University of Illinois at Chicago is a public research university located in the Windy City. UIC’s 15 colleges and schools offer 87 bachelor’s degrees, 53 certificates, and more than 150 graduate degrees, as well as multiple research...

“…Although this is a commuter school, I love being here every day. The instructors are helpful and understanding of any situation you might be in and there are more opportunities on campus to get involved with than I had thought. You meet a lot of...” – Bart from Deerfield, IL

Lehigh University

Founded by a local industrialist and philanthropist, Lehigh University is a 4-year private school in eastern Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. Lehigh is home to colleges of Business, Engineering, Arts & Sciences, Health, and Education granting...

“…Lehigh University is a REALLY great school. Although the courses are more rigorous than I expected, they are do-able and serve as great character builders. It provides a friendly environment, overall, and, as it has made me happy, I'm sure it will...” – Benjamin from Phillipsburg, NJ

Ball State University

Originally founded as a teacher’s college, Ball State University is a public institution in eastern Indiana. Ball State is home to seven colleges conferring undergraduate degrees in more than 120 academic majors. Throughout the year, Ball State...

“…Affordable. Friendly. Helpful. ” – Maggie from Marion, IN

University of Dayton

Founded by Marianist priests in 1850, The University of Dayton is a Roman Catholic university and the second largest private school in Ohio. Dayton is home to schools of Law, Arts & Sciences, Business Administration, Engineering, and Education...

“…ud is the perfect school for a home away from home! academically, they have tons of programs and more classes than you can imagine with amazing professors. student life is so fun every night whether staying in with your floor mates, going out to the...” – Morgan from Cincinnati, OH

Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

Founded in 1869, Southern Illinois University in Carbondale is a public flagship university and the oldest university in the SIU system. SIU is home to ten colleges and schools conferring undergraduate degrees as well as an Honors Program. For...

“…The physical functionality of the school has its ups and downs. Though there are some students here with non-academic goals, there are just as many dedicated, aspiring professionals. The teaching and administration, and the opportunities offered are...” – Ashaun from Carbondale, IL

Eckerd College
Saint Petersburg, FL
Eckerd College

Located in St. Petersburg, FL, Eckerd College is a 4-year liberal arts institution on a mile-long waterfront beach. Eckerd offers upwards of 40 majors, all of which include 4 years of classes in art, literature, the natural and social sciences...

“…eckerd college is like no other college you'll find, often times referred to as camp eckerd. located on the waterfront, this very small college focuses largely on protecting environmental and marine habitats. eckerd provides amazing people, programs,...” – Mattie from St. Petersburg, FL

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Founded in 1869, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is the oldest university in the state and flagship of the NU system. Nebraska is home to nine colleges conferring undergraduate degrees. In addition to classroom facilities, the NU campus hosts The...

“…The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has been a very welcoming community of students from all across the world. The students, staff, and alumni of the university do a great job to make you feel at home and keep you constantly having fun. You will not...” – Nick from Holmen, WI

Boise State University

Boise State University is a high-research public university founded in 1932 by the Episcopal Church and located in Idaho's state capital. Boise State offers 200 areas of study through seven academic colleges, which include an honors college as well...

“…Boise State University is a beautiful school. It is very socialized with tons of campus activities such as sports. I enjoy going to school here as well as living in the dorm on campus.” – Yonsoo from Boise, ID

Lipscomb University

Affiliated with the Churches of Christ, Lipscomb University is a Christian liberal arts institution in Nashville. Lipscomb confers undergraduate degrees in 176 academic areas of study. As a Christian university, Lipscomb holds chapel services twice...

“…lipscomb is an excellent school with a very caring faculty and staff. the christian community here is uplifting and encouraging.” – Jessica from Smyrna, TN

Midwestern State University

Founded in 1922 in Wichita Falls, Midwestern State University is the only institution in the state to become a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC). The 255-acre campus near Sikes Lakes offers 49 undergraduate programs and...

“…Midwestern State has a very nice campus, small yet spread out, with well maintained buildings and lawns. The small class sizes give students a chance to connect with their professors. It was rated the best value in the nation among public...” – Richard from Highland Village, TX

Oral Roberts University

Named for a famous televangelist, Oral Roberts University is an Evangelical Christian institution in Tulsa. ORU is home to six colleges conferring undergraduate degrees in over 77 academic majors and 65 minors. As an evangelical institution, Chapel...

“…on a 1 to 10 i rate oru a 10. it is truly a fine university academically, athletically, and spiritually. it is an honor to say i attend oru!” – Michael from North Carolina

Maryville College

Founded in 1819 and situated near the Great Smoky Mountains, Maryville College is a 4-year liberal arts college in east Tennessee. Maryville confers bachelor’s degrees in more than 60 academic programs. Surrounded by a 140-acre forest, Maryville...

“…Maryville College is a great school to be at. It is a pretty diverse campus with students from all backgrounds and countries. The academic life is rigorous =, but it will prepare students very well for their lives after college. ” – Chehronai from Maryville, TN

Newberry College

Founded in 1856, Newberry College is a 4-year liberal arts college in South Carolina affiliated with the Lutheran Church. Newberry offers undergraduate degrees in over 30 academic majors. For musically inclined students, Newberry is home to nine...

“…Newberry College is a wonderful undergraduate institution that prides itself on its personalized learning experiences. The professors are actively engaged with the students and work to not only teach but to instill a love of learning inside each...” – Kay

Ohio Wesleyan University

Established by a local pastor in a former hotel, Ohio Wesleyan University is a liberal arts college in mid-Ohio. OWU confers bachelor’s degrees in over 90 fields of study and more than a quarter of the student body chooses to double major. Throughout...

“…It's a good school, but one where you only get out what you put in. This school has a surprising degree of academic rigor, but only if you seek it out; it has a lot of advanced and specialist scholarship opportunities, but only if you seek them out;...” – Jay from Dayton, OH

Vincennes University
Founded in 1801, Vincennes University is a public institution and one of the oldest universities in Indiana. VU operates four campuses around Indiana and has a state-mandated partnership with Ivy Tech Community College. Popular majors at VU are...

“…They are a great school, with one on one teacher assistance. I love it being local and to have classes that work around my busy life. The smaller classes make it easier to interact with the professor and other students. All questions I have had, were...” – Tina from Holland, IN

Minot State University

Minot State University is a public institution located in Minot, North Dakota. Minot State is home to three colleges, of Business, of Education & Health Sciences, and of Arts & Sciences. On top of the wide variety of majors and minors provided on...

“…It feels like home at Msu. The faculty are more than ready to help you sail through all tour difficulties. You will fain life experiences that you will never forget life as a beaver.” – Stephanie from Minot, ND

Snow College

Snow College is a public institution located in rural Ephraim, Utah. Snow is a community college that offers a variety of associate degrees and professional certifications as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Commercial Music and a Bachelor of...

“…Snow College has helped me to become a well-rounded young adult. This institution has aided me in the process of becoming an excellent student and a contributing member of the community. I have loved every second of my experience at Snow College. ” – Amber from Spanish Fork, UT

South Plains College is a 2-year community college based in Levelland, Texas with satellite branches in Plainview and Lubbock. SPC awards professional and technical certifications as well as associate degrees. Popular fields of study include welding,...

“…This school encourages you to pursue your career goals. The teachers are very helpful. The small environment encourages students to learn and get more face time with teachers.” – Jaslyn from Lubbock, TX

Southern Wesleyan University

Southern Wesleyan University is a Christian liberal arts college in upstate South Carolina affiliated with the Wesleyan Church. SWU confers bachelor’s degrees in over 25 academic fields of study. Additionally, the university sponsors a 9-month...

“…Southern Wesleyan is a fantastic college. The staff are excellent to work with. Everyone cares about the students.” – Austin from Cowpens, SC

Palo Alto College is a public institution located in San Antonio, Texas, and is one of five community colleges serving the Greater San Antonio area. PAC offers a number of uncommon programs alongside its more traditional options, allowing its...

“…home away from home, i feel at home here and the staff is wonderful. everyone here is so friendly and kind. i enjoy attending palo alto college come and join me.” – Genevieve from San Antonio, TX

Mt Hood Community College is a public, 2-year institution located primarily in Gresham, Oregon, with a satellite location in Portland. The campus features a wide variety of facilities for students to visit, such as the Visual Arts Center Gallery, the...

“…mt. hood is a wonderful way to get started on your academics, and help you find out what you want out of life. ” – Erica from Gresham, OR

El Paso Community College

El Paso Community College is a 2-year community college based in El Paso, Texas. The school operates five campuses and offers courses throughout the El Paso and Hudspeth counties. EPCC has an open admissions policy and offers programs for...

“…el paso community college is a great place to learn because the learning is more hands-on and personal. classes are usually available in different areas allowing less money on gas and more on educational materials. classes are also smaller allowing...” – Robin from El Paso, TX

Kilgore College is a community college based in Kilgore, Texas, and is one of the most affordable institutions of higher education in the state. Kilgore offers professional and technical certifications as well as associate degree programs....

“…I love this college. The classes are small. The teachers are patient” – Tenaria from Longview, TX

Grand Rapids Community College is a public, 2-year institution established in the state of Michigan. GRCC values experiential learning, offering students the ability to learn in environments beyond the traditional classroom in Service Learning...

“…grand rapids community college is a school that wants the best for you. this college is all about preparing you for the future. if you want a quality education without paying through the nose to get it this is the college for you.” – Isabelle from Grand Rapids, MI

Angelina College

Angelina College is a two-year community college based in Lufkin, Texas with nine other campuses throughout the state. The school has an open admissions policy and offers associate’s degrees and certifications. College credit is offered for life...

“…this college has been a great experience. the professors at angelina have given me the tools i need to transfer to a 4 year university. enjoyed the experience that angelina has to offer. ” – James from Nacogdoches, TX

Holmes Community College is a public, 2-year institution established primarily in Goodman, Mississippi. Along with the main campus, the college maintains satellite facilities in Kosciusko, Webster, Grenada, and Ridgeland. HCC offers a wide variety of...

“…This school is the ideal school for anyone who wants to pursue several associates degree completely online, (with proctored test that can be taken at any participating Mississippi Virtual Community College testing centers). Registration, advising,...” – Ravin from Greenville, MS

Cedar Crest College

Cedar Crest College is an all-female, private liberal arts college based in Allentown, Pennsylvania. It is an independent college, but historically associated with the United Church of Christ. The school hosts an annual Media Literacy Week headed by...

“…This is a great school for students looking for a small friendly environment. The faculty and staff here are always willing to help and know each student as an individual. The atmosphere and students are welcoming.” – alexis from Quakertown, PA

MCPHS University

Founded in 1823 as the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, MCPHS University is a private school of healthcare programs in Boston and the second-oldest college of pharmacy in the nation. MCPHS is home to 12 schools of healthcare hosting over 100...

“…This college is not for people who want to party all day long with a huge campus and get in trouble. This college is for aspiring medical students who want to make a difference in the world, in a small campus with tiny classes which help you focus on...” – Ashwin from North Potomac, MD

Northwest Vista College

Northwest Vista College is a 2-year community college that confers associate degrees and technical certifications. The school is part of the Alamo Colleges District and offers several Academic Workforce Programs through the Healthy & Biosciences...

“…Many people say that community college is a waste of time or exactly like high school. Northwest Vista College is nothing like that, while the classes are small, it allows for better one on one time with the teachers to ensure success. The classes...” – Andrew from San Antonio, TX

Northeast Community College is a 2-year institution with four campuses in northeastern Nebraska conferring over 110 degrees and certificates. NCC’s Wind Energy program positions students to work in one of Nebraska’s fastest growing renewable energy...

“…It's small. Almost everyone knows everyone else. Teachers are great.” – Dakota from Stuart, NE

Itawamba Community College is a public, 2-year institution established in the state of Mississippi, with three campuses in Fulton, Belden, and Tupelo. Classes at ICC are provided during daytime, evening, and on the weekends in order to suit any...

“…If I were to rate ICC on a scale from one to ten, I would rate it a ten. This school is great! I would recommend this college to all entering college students because it is a great start for college.” – LaKeisha from Nettleton, MS

Casper College is a public, 2-year institution established in the state of Wyoming. The college offers associate degrees and certificates across all subjects, as well as programs in continuing education, workforce training, and adult education....

“…Casper College has provided me with the opportunity to further my education, develop my social skills, and become an overall well rounded student. The faculty that has assisted me in my endeavors has been more helpful than I ever could have imagined...” – Katherine from Casper, WY

Northwest Mississippi Community College is a public, two-year institution established in the city of Senatobia. Northwest serves a population of over 7,000 students, and offers academic pathways to each of the public, four-year institutions within...

“…northwest is the best! the campus has a great vibe and everyone is very friendly and eager to help you with all of your needs. if you are looking for a college to be yourself in, this is the college for you!” – Shelby from Sarah, MS

Anderson University (IN)

Anderson University is a private, liberal arts institution located in Anderson, Indiana, and it is affiliated with the Christian Church of God. AU’s mission is to educate for a life of faith and service in the church and society through their five...

“…Anderson University has given me the tools I need to succeed. They have programs specifically designed for working adults as well as traditional college students. ” – Stephanie from Muncie, IN

St Philip's College

St. Philip's College is a public community college located in San Antonio, Texas, with an open admissions policy. SPC is an HBCU and an Hispanic-Serving Institution, the only college to be federally recognized as such. They offer associate’s degrees...

“…St. Philip's community college is a great school to attend your first two years of college. The staff and teachers really care about the students and will do everything they can to help you be successful. I'm so glad chose to attend St. Philip's...” – Janielle

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College is a 2-year institution with an open admissions policy. The main campus located in Perkinston, MS, while several satellite campuses and academic centers operate throughout the state. Mississippi Gulf Coast...

“…The campus is beautiful. The cafeteria has terrific food. The teachers are awesome.” – Megan from Pass Christian, MS

Originally established as the first agricultural high school for African Americans in Mississippi, Coahoma Community College is a 2-year Historically Black College. Academics at CCC are divided among 55 university transfer programs, eight Health...

“…its a very nice an up right school in the mississippi delta. the teachers are friendly and ready to help. at coahoma community college you feel like you are at home where everyone cares.” – Bobby from Friars Point, MS

Northeast Mississippi Community College is a public, 2-year institution established in Booneville, with satellite facilities located in New Albany and Corinth. NEMCC offers over 70 associate’s degree and certificate programs, with courses formats...

“…NEMCC is a great place to start your college career. They offer a long list of majors and areas of study. Not only do they have plenty of two and four year programs, but it is very easy to transfer to a graduate school with most of your credit hours....” – William from Iuka, MS

Barton Community College is a public, 2-year institution established in Great Bend, Kansas, with satellite campuses in Fort Riley, Fort Leavenworth, and Grandview Plaza.  Barton offers over 70 academic and career programs, nearly half of which are...

“…I am having a great time meeting new people and playing baseball. I am learning to organize my time better to get my homework turned in on time. Barton is just the right size to transition into college from High School” – Creighton` from Wichita, KS

Western Wyoming Community College is a 2-year community college located near the southwest corner of The Equality State. All of the buildings at WWCC’s campus are connected via indoor glass hallways, offering views of the school’s reproductions of...

“…Western has great academics and amazing teachers. The atmosphere is friendly, and the teachers care about you. You get to get out and meet a lot of new people.” – Amber from Rock Springs, WY

Austin Community College District

Austin Community College district is a 2-year institution based in Austin, Texas. ACC offers associate degrees and professional certification programs. High school students can sign up for dual-credit programs and earn college credit while working on...

“…Although this college is in fact a community college, it's really not that bad of a school. It definitely depends on campuses, but that's the great part about it; you can choose whichever campus you want, find the teacher you want, and choose from a...” – Mary from Austin, TX

Potomac State College of West Virginia University

West Virginia University Potomac State College is located in Keyser, WV. Potomac State offers more than fifty 2-year programs and holds multiple articulation agreements with six institutions, including Allegany College of Maryland and the College of...

“…Potomac State is a very diverse school with teachers and students being here. The Teachers are very flexible with the grades, classes and making you understand what is going on. The academic success center are always willing to help you and they are...” – Danielle from Martinsburg, WV

Dodge City Community College is a public, 2-year institution established on a 145-acre, suburban campus in Kansas. The college offers over 30 academic and vocational degree programs in a variety of fields, including Dietetics, Music, Agribusiness,...

“…Good place to earn degree, classes are not extremely difficult. Most teachers are approachable and will tell you when they are available. Affordable.” – K from Dodge City, KS

Treasure Valley Community College

Treasure Valley Community College is a 2-year institution in with four eastern Oregon campuses as well as a facility in western Idaho. TVCC confers degrees and certificates in more than 80 subjects including programs in Helicopter and Fixed-Wing...

“…Great college Five out of Five stars!!!!” – Titus from Nampa, ID

Alpena Community College is a public, 2-year institution established on a rural, 700-acre campus in northern Michigan. ACC offers over 75 academic programs, awarding certificates, AA degrees, AAS degrees, and AS degrees, along with one BS degree...

“…ACC is a great school especially in the nursing field. The professors and staff are friendly, helpful and always willing to answer any questions. I am so glad to be attending this school to earn my nursing degree.” – Krystallyn from Alpena, MI

Eastern Wyoming College is a 2-year community college with two campuses covering a six county area. EWC is home to seven academic departments as well as the only programs in Veterinary Technology and Cosmetology in Wyoming. EWC also features a...

“…eastern wyoming college is a great experience. the teacher's are always willing to help you if you fall behind. it is a smaller campus and a very friendly environment.” – Lucas from Torrington, WY

The University of Holy Cross is a private, Christ-centered institution established in New Orleans,  Louisiana, alongside the Mississippi River. UOHC’s catalog of over 60 academic programs primarily feature health-related fields of study, such as...

“…Holy Cross is an A school because it's small and private.All staff is willing to help the students anywaypossible.At Holy Cross you become family.” – Alia from New Orleans, LA

Western Nebraska Community College is a 2-year institution with three campuses in the Nebraska panhandle. WNCC offers degrees and certificates in over 50 fields of study and its Agriculture Science and Applied Agriculture Technologies programs...

“…great instructors that have an open door policy with students. everyone here wants you to succeed and graduate and are more than willing to help you any way they can.” – from Mitchell, NE