Dentistry is a rewarding field and a sensible career track to consider. In Idaho, there are specific requirements that each individual must meet to become certified to practice as a dentist. Before completing any examination or board standards, every person trying to become a dentist in Idaho must finish dentistry school. It’s often extremely competitive to be selected for one of these programs. Hence, the prerequisites and undergraduate standards are just as vital.
Idaho also has a limited selection of dentistry and pre-dentistry schools. However, this in-depth guide will go over the requirements and school options for people in the state.
State Requirements For Exams In Idaho
The specific requirements for dentists in Idaho come from the American Dental Association (ADA). Here is a breakdown of the initial licensing requirements from the Idaho State Board of Dentistry (ISBD):
- Individuals must pass either The Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA), Council of Interstate Testing Agencies (CITA), Central Regional Dental Testing Services (CRDTS) or the Western Regional Examining Board (WREB) examination
- The CDCA, which used to be the NERB, is acceptable before the year 2018 if the individual took the periodontal section
- The CRDTS is acceptable before 2018 with the completion of the periodontal section
- The CITA is acceptable for 2018 and 2017
- The VERB is acceptable before 2018 with the completion of the periodontal section
After 2018, individuals must complete these requirements, but they don’t all have to be from the same testing option.
The Idaho Code states that individuals must complete:
- Patient-based periodontal section
- Simulated endodontic section
- Simulated prosthodontic section
- A written competency examination
Along with the specific exam requirements, there are also steps that every licensed dentist has to take. Here is what the laws are in Idaho when broken down step by step:
- The applicant must not have convictions for any relevant crimes outlined in the Idaho Code. There are exemptions if the individual can prove rehabilitation.
- The individual must complete and graduate with a degree in dentistry from an approved school
- They must finish 500 hours in a clinical setting under the direction of a licensed supervisor
- The person then has to finish the exams for licensure, and they must pass the written and clinical portions of the exam with at least a 75%
- The individual must complete the application for licensure and pay the $600 fee
Completing dental school and the examinations takes many years of study, and it’s important to receive both undergraduate and graduate-level instruction from an accredited school with an established program.
Idaho State Board Information
The Idaho State Dental Association(ISDA) details information on their website about the Idaho State Board of Dentistry. This Board is in charge of licensing dentists and dental hygienists in Idaho.
They state that their mission is to “assure the public health, safety and welfare in the state of Idaho by the licensure and regulation of dentists and dental hygienists.”
It’s also important to note that they are a different entity from the Idaho State Dental Association. The ISDA is a professional association, and dentists in Idaho can join and be part of this membership.
After completing the initial licensing requirements to become a dentist in Idaho, individuals must stay current with their license.
To have an active status as a dentist, each person must complete 30 continuing education hours. Each credit stands for one hour of continuing education instruction. Idaho also requires one credit connected to the Idaho Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP).
Interested parties can look at the ADA’s interactive map to get more information about licensing in Idaho and other states.
Dentistry Programs In Idaho
Idaho State University has a Department of Dental Sciences, and they offer the only dentistry degree program in the state. They also provide an Idaho Advanced General Dentistry option for postdoctoral students looking to advance their careers.
Boise State University (BSU) is in Idaho’s capital, Boise. Their pre-dentistry pathway isn’t a specific degree program. Therefore, individuals who get their undergraduate degree this way won’t get a diploma that says “pre-dentistry.”
Instead, they can customize their degree to meet prerequisite requirements that most dental schools look at from applicants. Students interested in this non-degree pathway can work with the College of Health Science Student Services and Academic Advising Office at the university to create a personalized program.
After completion of dentistry school and the required examinations, dentists have many options in the state. The average wage for dentists in the United States is $163,220 each year. This information comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The agency notes that the field of dentistry continues to grow at a steady rate of around 8%. While the exact salary for a dentist in Idaho will vary, it is a high-paying job with many positions available across the state. Demand for dentists will likely continue to grow at a steady pace.
There are many other advantages to a career in dentistry beyond the stable salary. Some benefits include that dentists can start their own practice if they wish and have a good deal of say over their schedule and approach compared to other healthcare jobs. They can also work at a practice with a group of dentists if they don’t want to take on many managerial roles, giving a good deal of flexibility.
It’s possible to specialize further to focus on areas like cosmetic dentistry, pediatric dentistry or many other options.
Dental professionals can make a significant impact on their communities as they promote the importance of dental health. Becoming a dentist does take considerable effort, and it’s a competitive field. However, those who complete the requirements have a long-term career that is often fulfilling.