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How to Become a Dentist in New York

A career in dentistry requires several years of education, hands-on training, examinations and state licensure. At the end of this process is a career that is both rewarding and lucrative. Dentists are in demand throughout the U.S. and especially in New York state.

New York is home to five approved dental schools. Admissions can be competitive, so ensure you understand the requirements to meet or exceed them.

New York State Licensing Requirements for Dentists

New York licenses dentists through the New York State Education Department’s Office of the Professions. The first step in getting licensed is to gain admission to and complete an approved dental program. You can then apply for a license with the following requirements:

  • Proof of good moral character
  • An age of at least 21 years
  • Complete transcripts
  • Proof of approved training in identifying child abuse
  • Required dental board exam scores
  • Proof of required dental experience

Beginning in 2007, New York requires applicants for a dental license to have completed a minimum of one year of residency. This replaces the previously accepted clinical examination score and meets the dental experience requirement.

Board Exams for Dentists

One of the most important licensing requirements for dentists in any state is passing scores on the required board exams. This proves that a dentist is knowledgeable and ready to work with patients.

New York requires applicants to obtain passing scores on both parts I and II of the National Board Dental Examination.

New York Dental Programs

Five schools in New York are approved to train professional dentists. They offer Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) programs as well as many specialty degree programs.

Columbia University, New York City

Columbia’s College of Dental Medicine is one of just four U.S. schools that combines the medical school curriculum with its D.D.S. program. This prepares dentists to collaborate with physicians and provide patients with more systemic healthcare.

Admissions requirements include a bachelor’s degree in any major but specific prerequisite science and math courses. The program is competitive, so applicants should have good grades, a high Dental Admissions Test (DAT) score, community service, leadership experience and a proven passion for healthcare.

In addition to the D.D.S. program, Columbia offers residencies with New York-Presbyterian Hospital and postdoctoral programs. Specialization subjects include oral and maxillofacial surgery or pathology, pediatric dentistry, endodontics and orthodontics.

New York University, New York City

The NYU College of Dentistry offers a competitive and comprehensive D.D.S. program with a focus on clinical experience. The integrated program includes biomedical, behavioral, clinical, social and public health coursework in addition to the basics of general dentistry.

For admissions, a bachelor’s degree is strongly recommended but not required. Applicants must have prerequisite courses, DAT scores, evaluation letters and job shadowing experience.

NYU also offers research opportunities and master’s degrees in research, biomaterials and oral biology. Advanced studies allow dentists to specialize in periodontics, prosthodontics, pediatric dentistry and other areas.

Stony Brook University, Stony Brook

The Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine offers a D.D.S. program as well as specialty programs. Applicants must have completed prerequisites and are encouraged to have earned a bachelor’s degree.

Dentists can also choose to enroll in several Advanced Dental Education Programs. These include specialties like dental anesthesiology, pediatric dentistry and prosthodontics. There is also a fellowship available for special needs dental care.

New York Medical College, Hawthorne

The Tuoro College of Dental Medicine at NYMC is a new D.D.S. program. As such, the program was designed with the latest developments in dentistry and dental education in mind. Students have access to the most advanced equipment as well as opportunities for clinical experience. Requirements for admissions are similar to other dental programs, and Tuoro puts an emphasis on diversity and historically underrepresented applicants.

University at Buffalo, Buffalo

The School of Dental Medicine at the University of Buffalo offers a D.D.S. program as well as advanced education opportunities for specialization. D.D.S. applicants can choose from the standard program or a dual degree program that includes a Master of Business Administration degree. It also offers an international program for dentists trained abroad.

Some of the areas of advanced study available at Buffalo include biomaterials, endodontics, oral biology, oral and maxillofacial surgery or pathology, orthodontics, TMD and orofacial pain and pediatric dentistry.

University of Rochester, Rochester

The Eastman Institute for Oral Health does not have a D.D.S. program, but it does offer residency programs and advanced dental education. D.D.S. graduates can complete a residency here, earn an advanced specialization or participate in dental and oral biology research.

Opportunities for Dentists Working in New York

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), dentists are in demand across the U.S. The growth in positions available is expected to be 8% for the next several years. The BLS also reports that dentists earn a good living. The median annual salary in the U.S. is $163,220. Specialists, such as orthodontists, earn even more.

Projections Central reports that careers for dentists in New York are growing faster than nationwide. The growth in jobs in the state will be nearly 15% from 2020 to 2030, which means thousands of new jobs for qualified, licensed dentists. Salaries in the state are also competitive, with an average annual income of $154,130.

With such strong growth, finding opportunities in New York should be easy if you are licensed. Wherever people live, they need dentists, from rural areas to Manhattan. The most opportunities are in the largest population centers, including New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany.

Most dentists work in dental offices as small business owners or employees. These are not the only opportunities for dentists, however. You can find work with government agencies, physician offices, hospitals and outpatient care centers.

As a dentist in New York, you can expect to have a stable career with a good income. Dentists make a real impact in the lives of their patients, making this a rewarding line of work. The requirements for licensing take several years to meet but are less than those for physicians. If you’re interested in healthcare in New York, consider becoming a dentist.

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