How to Become a Dentist in Kansas
Dentistry is the medical art of caring for the teeth, mouth, and surrounding facial structures. It is a well-respected field that is as old as humans are. Today, dental work is highly regulated and the subject of great research. Dentists receive excellent pay for their work, and the field has much more room for career growth.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, licensed dental workers made between $80,000 and $300,000 as of May 2021. Dentistry is a large field with a broad range of jobs available, from dental laboratory technicians to specialized orthodontic professors. The range of fields and depth of specialization is where the impressive gap in annual income is derived.
Dentistry is a very demanding job. Each state places heavy restrictions and requirements on receiving a dental license. Formal education at a recognized dental school is one of the most notable requirements. Schools give students a Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.) or a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) degree.
There are a limited number of schools, and they also have high standards for applicants, making the programs competitive and desirable to students. Acceptance rates across the U.S. for these programs are roughly 50%.
Kansas Dentistry Requirements
Kansas, like all other states, strictly regulates dentistry in the state. The state requires successful graduation from a dental school or college approved by the American Dental Association, Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).
Applicants must also be at least 21 years of age and be of good moral character. Other requirements include:
- Submitting national board examination scores
- Submitting clinical board examination scores
- Proof of certification in CPR
- Notarized and sealed verification of original state licenses
- A National Practitioner Databank self-query
- One or more recommendation letters from dentists or relevant professionals
- An original transcript from your school of graduation
You must also submit a completed application. The application must include a standardized photograph, the application fee, and the application must be completed, signed, and notarized in the presence of a notary public. The whole application, including all elements mentioned above, must be mailed and cannot be completed online.
Kansas State Board Examinations
The state boards are clinical exams offered across the country for dental students to prove their proficiency and ability in the dental field in place of credentials and experience.
Each state curates a list of which tests they accept for licensure. Kansas allows graduates to take many of the offered exams to prove their competency. The approved exams include:
- Central Regional Dental Testing Service (CRDTS)
- Southern Regional Testing Agency (SRTA)
- The Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA)
- Western Regional Examining Board (WREB)
- Council of Interstate Testing Agencies (CITA)
Licensure in Kansas requires passing at least one of these tests and submitting proof of exam passage. You can request official scores from your chosen institute and have them delivered sealed and notarized for the application.
Barton Community College
Barton Community College (BCC) is just outside of Great Bend, Kansas. Roughly 6,000 students attended the college in 2015. The average in-state cost annually is $10,000. The college is well-known for its powerful and well-rounded sports teams, athletic community, and connections to larger four-year universities.
The college is a public school. Their acceptance rate in 2020 was roughly 100%, but students generally need to maintain a 3.15 GPA without being placed on academic probation or watch. Despite being heavily focused on top-class athletics, BCC also has a selection of pre-professional programs setting students on the path to success.
One notable fact about the college is that only 65% of the students here are 24 years old and younger. This fact shows the college encourages students of all ages to pursue higher education. In particular, their pre-professional programs are great for older students to gain valuable skills and knowledge to change careers and determine a new direction for their lives.
Barton Community College Pre-Dentistry
BCC offers students pre-professional courses in many fields of technical and trade skills. Of these, they offer pre-dentistry. Pre-Dentisrty is considered “pre-professional” because it is a preparation program for students who plan to further their career into a specific field. Do not confuse this with a clinical course in dentistry resulting in credentials.
BCC offers its students the opportunity to complete a recommended set of classes and extra-curricular activities that are curated to prepare them for their chosen dental school. Most dental schools require students to complete either a bachelor’s degree or a set of courses before they qualify to apply to the program.
As a community college, BCC have the same requirements for entry as any other standard university. Requirements include completing the free online application, taking the SAT or ACT and submitting your official scores, and submitting your official high school transcript or equivalent information. You will also need to declare your major or desired course.
After receiving an acceptance letter, you can begin classes. Completing the pre-dentistry program will give students an associate of science and allow them to apply to graduate programs at one of 67 dental schools across America.
Unlike a completed dental program, BCC’s pre-dental program will not allow students to apply for a dental license and begin practice in the field. Instead, it allows them to apply to prestigious programs across the country at schools that offer a bachelor’s degree.
However, specialized programs like BCC’s pre-dental allow students to apply for certain graduate programs and get around the additional two-year requirement.
Not all schools will accept the pre-dental course’s credit hours. So, students looking to continue their education should carefully vet which schools will accept the course hours.
While BCC does not offer clinical courses, its associate of science degree is accredited and recognized. If dentistry or university ceases to be appealing, the degree is still acceptable as a standalone.
Some schools will accept certain credit hours in the degree while not recognizing others. This can cause difficulty when applying for and transitioning into a full degree.
Thus, BCC has agreements with several four-year universities for credit transfers. Students looking for a hassle-free transition can inquire directly through the college to acquire information regarding these schools.