21st Century Careers: Dentist

By Fatima Ismail ('22)


Photo courtesy of Wix

A dentist is someone who treats diseases of teeth and oral cavities.


To become a dentist, a person needs at least four years of college education, but if dentistry is an occupation someone wants to pursue, then they must attend a four-year dental program that follows the undergraduate degree.


In addition, an individual needs to obtain a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD).


According to dental student, Ms. Mahira Tamboo, someone can finish their bachelor’s degree in NJIT and work towards the DMD at Rutgers School of Dental Medicine. An individual will need to take a few courses, for example, two semesters of physics and lab, organic chemistry and a second English class. Therefore, in college it is recommended that students study subjects like mathematics, physics, and biology. A degree can range between $15,000 to $60,000 a year.


An internship is typically work done without pay. Relating to dentistry, internships help someone stand out apart from many dental students graduating every year. It also helps boost confidence and development skills. In addition an individual becomes more attractive to employers.


There are responsibilities that a person will need to accomplish when they are a part of this job. Dentists treat patients by removing tooth rotting, filling in hollowed-out areas, and repair broken and separated teeth. They work for about thirty-six hours per week. In order to be in this position, a person should be passionate, trustworthy, and comfortable with who they are working with.


There are skills and qualifications needed for this job, and according to Ms. Tamboo, “People skills are very important! You have to combine the science and the expertise with the ability to convey your diagnosis to a patient and create a treatment plan. Hand skills, or manual dexterity, is also very important because dentistry is such a precise practice and requires hours of lab work when you are in school.”


In this career, management is essential in order to be successful. A dentist must be knowledgeable about the subject. Also, they should be interested in oral health and care. Being knowledgeable about the subject is very important, so a person knows what they are doing when treating someone’s teeth. If they aren’t familiar with what they’re doing, this can cause failure to do their job correctly.


When someone is officially considered to be a dentist, they start off by making approximately $100,000. Dentists earn a median salary of $158,120. They also have a low unemployment rate of 0.9 percent. The projected number of new jobs is about 10,000 to 49,999. In addition, the projected growth rate is 19%, which is much faster than the average.

Overall, becoming a dentist is a huge commitment.


Ms. Tamboo said, “I finished high school in 2014, then received my bachelors in 2017 from NJIT and am currently in the RSDM class of 2021 working towards my DMD. I am a part of the seven year BA/DMD program so you can apply from high school into this program if you know that you want to pursue dentistry”.

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