How to Become a Dentist in Texas-12 Best Steps

How to Become a Dentist in Texas
How to Become a Dentist in Texas

You may have been preoccupied with the thoughts of becoming a dentist, but you have been searching for concise steps on how to become a dentist in Texas, or wondering if that venture will really come off as being a very profitable venture.

Well, if you didn’t know already, Texas is by far the second largest state in all of the US, in fact, its population and landmass are rumoured to be a lot more than some European countries.

This population fact, as well as its cultural diversity, confers on it a good advantage, cuz, wherever you’ve got a lot of people like that, surely there are a lot of patients too, whether you choose to accept that or not. Hence, our reason for writing this article is to not just show you the steps on how to become a Dentist in Texas but also some of the untapped health-related possibilities that exist in this region.

Steps on How to Become a Dentist in Texas

We have outlined the 12 best steps on how to become a dentist in Texas below.

  1. Requisite Educational Training
  2. Choose your most preferred Dental school
  3. Seek out ways to attract financial aid
  4. Complete course work in your first two years in dental school
  5. Ensure you are successful in Part 1 of the NBDE exam
  6. Gain clinical experience in your last two years in dental school
  7. Excel in part 2 of the NBDE exams
  8. Earn your degree
  9. Aim for further education if you intend to specialize
  10. Ace a Texas approved clinical exam
  11. Receive your dental license
  12. Secure a Job as a Dentist

Now, let us take a proper look at these 12 best steps on how to become a dentist in Texas.

1. Requisite Educational Training

Basically, all dental schools require that you must have completed an undergraduate degree for applying to study dentistry or related courses. And because the application processes are usually very competitive, it is usually advantageous if applicants studied courses related to chemistry and biology in college.

This does not mean people who studied unrelated courses cannot apply, just as has been said it only confers an advantage on such a person’s applications. Meanwhile, regardless of what you studied, to further improve your chances of getting in, all applicants are expected to have written and passed the Dental Admission Test (DAT), an exam organized by the American Dental Association. Usually, this test comprises about 280 multi-choice questions, and applicants are graded on a 1-30 scale.

Of course, serious applicants are expected to score a minimum of 18 to better provide themselves with a higher possibility of getting selected.

2. Choose your most preferred Dental school

While applying, you need to have it at the back of your mind that Dental school awards two major doctorate degrees, which are equivalent, meaning their curriculum are usually the same, in fact, course hours and academic projects are usually the same.

These two degrees are the Doctorate of Dental surgery (DDS) and the Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM). Just as has been said, they both carry the same equivalence.

Whilst making your choice, be sure to confirm that the institution of choice is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Texas has about two known systems of collating applicants’ information and these and the corresponding schools that utilize such systems are listed below;

Below are Schools using TMDSAS system:

  • Texas A&M College of Dentistry, Dallas, Texas

  • UT Health Science Center at Houston School of Dentistry, Houston, Texas

  • UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry, San Antonio, Texas

  • Texas Tech, Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine

Below are Schools using AADSAS system:

  • University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston
  • DDS and DMD programs outside of Texas

The above is the application portals for the exact schools you would love to apply to. You should note, however, that the choice of portals does not confer any extra advantage by itself, they are routes of choice you’d be required to take whilst applying to the individual schools.

Applications to these schools are expected to be done a year before the start of the academic program. The majority of applicants send in these applications during their junior year.

3. Seek out ways to attract financial aid

when it comes to the steps on how to become a dentist in Texas, this step is very vital. If you haven’t been told yet, you must know that the financial obligations that will come as a result of studying dentistry are quite heavy, and as a result, the majority of students are always researching ways through which they can attract loans or scholarships to help fund their dream of becoming a dentist.

For example, The Texas A&M College of Dentistry offers the following scholarships:

  • Academic Scholarships

Outstanding applicants who get accepted into the Doctor of Dental Surgery program are awarded scholarships by the admissions board based on their excellent performance. Non-residents who qualify for the scholarships also receive non-tuition waivers peculiar to their status as non-residents.

  • ADEA/Crest Oral-B Scholarships for Dental Hygiene Students Pursuing Academic Careers

This scholarship is given annually to students in the dental hygiene department as a reward for their outstanding performance. Students can send in their applications here at ADEA.org/student awards.

  • ADEA/Crest Oral-B Scholarships for Predoctoral Dental Students Pursuing Academic Careers

This scholarship is given annually to Dental students. Students can send in their applications here at  ADEA.org/student awards.

  • ADEA/GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Preventive Dentistry Scholarships

Twelve scholarship awards are given to 12 outstanding predoctoral students for their excellent performance. Students can send in their applications here at  ADEA.org/student awards.

  • ADHA Foundation Institute for Oral Health Dental Hygiene Scholarship

The American Dental Hygienists Association awards numerous scholarship awards with value in the range of $1000-$2000 to DH1 students. The following are usually considered in determining who wins this scholarship; GPA, need, and membership in the ADHA. Students can send in their applications online.

  • Alliance of the Texas Dental Association Memorial Scholarship 

Annually, $5000 worth of scholarships is awarded to one very outstanding D2 student. This amount is usually disbursed in their D3 year.

The following are usually considered in determining who wins this scholarship; US citizenship, Texas residency, interest in practising general or pediatric dentistry in Texas, and need.

  • American Dental Partners Foundation/Carus Dental Scholarship

Each spring, a scholarship worth $500 is awarded to D3 or D4 students who demonstrate professionalism, teamwork skills, clinical excellence, and leadership.

  • Ausmus Laursen Dental Hygiene Scholarship

Each spring, a scholarship worth $1000 is awarded to DH 2 students. The following are usually considered in determining who wins this scholarship; academic achievement, and community service. The Dental Hygiene department and a representative of the Ausmus-Laursen family if available make the selection.

  • Betty Scott Scholarship

Depending on the availability of funds, up to three outstanding students are awarded scholarships of $2000 in D4 and DH2 to be disbursed half in fall and half in spring of the current academic year. The following are usually considered in determining who wins this scholarship; participation in community service prior to and during dental school.

  • Bush Jones/Sprenger Scholarship

Scholarships worth $1000 are awarded yearly to D2 students with an EFC of less than $5000 and a GPA of 3.0 or greater. You do not have to apply for this scholarship. Scholarships are disbursed only on the basis of the availability of funds.

  • Class of ‘47

This scholarship which is primarily based on outstanding academic performance is worth $1500 and is awarded to incoming D1 students based on the availability of funds.

  • Dr Claude R. Williams Scholarship

Annually, one outstanding student is awarded a scholarship worth $2500. This is eligible to only a D2 or D3 student. The following are usually considered in determining who wins this scholarship; GPA, history of and continuing participation in community service, and membership in the Student National Dental Association.

  • The Dental Trade Alliance Foundation Dental Student Scholarship

Scholarship worth $5000 is awarded yearly to D3 and D4 students. Applications are done via the online portals and are available in the spring. The following are usually considered in determining who wins this scholarship; academic excellence, financial need, and a commitment to community service.

  • Emily A. and Robert Walker Scholarship

Based on the availability of funds, scholarships worth $1500 are awarded to a D1 student based on academic excellence.

  • Hispanic Dental Association Scholarship

A variety of scholarships with values in the range of $1000-$2000 are available online to Dental and Dental Hygiene students and are completed online in late summer or early fall.

The following are usually considered in determining who wins this scholarship; membership in the Student Hispanic Dental Association, academic excellence, and a commitment to improving dental health in the Hispanic community.

  • Kerney-Laday Scholarship

Yearly, $9000 worth of scholarships are awarded to a D3 student, depending on the availability of funds. The following are usually considered in determining who wins this scholarship; academic achievement, clinical proficiency, community/college involvement, and volunteer activities benefitting underserved communities.

  • Drs. Don and Cindy Le Scholarship

A single scholarship worth $2500 is awarded annually to a D2 student based on the following criteria; need, GPA, and history of community service.

  • Nancy Dickey Endowed Scholarship

A single scholarship worth $1000 is awarded to a DH1, D1, D2, or D3 student based on the availability of funds. The following are usually considered in determining who wins this scholarship; a 3.0 or greater GPA, leadership, professionalism, and a commitment to the community.

  • Ruth Riley Swords, D.D.S. Endowed Scholarship

A single scholarship worth $750 is awarded to a DH1 or DH2 student in the spring. The following are usually considered in determining who wins this scholarship; academic achievement, clinical proficiency, and leadership.

  • Texas Dental Association (TDA) Smiles Foundation Scholarship

D1 student in the top 20% of the entering class is awarded one to two scholarships annually. The following are usually considered in determining who wins this scholarship; Texas residency, need, and must not have received either the Emily and Robert Walker or Class of ’47 scholarships.

  • The W.R. Hammond Trust Foundation Scholarship

A single scholarship is made available to D1 students each spring. Applications are submitted online. The scholarship continues through D4 and the amount each year is based on fund performance. The following are usually considered in determining who wins this scholarship; academic achievement, extracurricular activities, DAT score, and financial need.

  • Scholarships for Graduate departments:

The following are scholarship programs available to graduate departments;

  1. AEGD Departmental Scholarship, 
  2. William and Jessamine Young Scholarship-Orthodontics Department, 
  3. Betty Whiteaker Scholarship –Periodontics Department,
  4. Dallas County Dental Society Public Health Scholarship-Dental Public Health Department.

Just so you don’t overburden yourself trying to keep up with different scholarship openings, most of the scholarship applications and instructions are usually sent be sent to the outstanding applicant groups each semester via email. Read on to see the remaining steps on how to become a dentist in Texas.

 4. Complete course work in your first two years in dental school

The dental school generally comprises four years, during which the first two years will be spent doing classroom work, this classroom work usually borders around knowledge relating to human anatomy, physiology, and corresponding diseases and their causative agents.

It is also commonplace to find simulations of clinical sessions while playing around with models of the teeth and the mouth in general. 

5. Ensure you are successful in Part 1 of the NBDE exam

Part 1 of the NBDE exams are usually taken during the first one to two years of dental school, and it borders around the basic science curriculum.

Typically, about 400 questions are asked, and students are given only 7hours to complete this exam. Results are graded on the pass or fail system.

6. Gain clinical experience in your last two years in dental school

The last two years in dental school were designed to allow you to gain firsthand experience of what everyday work life for a dentist looks and feels like. During this period you will be exposed to different patients with diverse health conditions and temperaments, this is to help you gain clinical experience.

After this period you’d have learned how to attend to patients of all kinds, a few of the kinds of patients will have to care for during this period include; geriatric, chronically ill patients, aged patients, as well as children.

7. Excel in part 2 of the NBDE exams

Students typically take part in part 2 of the National Board Dental Examination during their last two years in dental school, and unlike part 1 which bordered on just biological sciences, the part 2 majors on clinical dentistry.

It includes 500 questions and students are given two days to complete it. The scoring system is also judged on the basis of a pass or fail. Excelling in part 2 of the NBDE exams is a very vital step on how to become a dentist in Texas.

8. Earn your degree

The end of all of this is to earn either a DMD or a DDS. Whichever it is your school awards, do well to meet all requirements to be awarded at the end of your four years journey.

As has been said already, these two degrees are equivalent.

9. Aim for further education if you intend to specialize

Apparently, those who desire to practice in the area of general dentistry do not require further education, but those who would like to be specialists in one field in dentistry or the other will require further studies, and this could take between 2 to 6 years of residency so as to be thoroughly equipped with the requisite knowledge and expertise in such field.

Just in case you are wondering what areas in dentistry you could decide to major in, the following are the 9-ADA recognized fields in dentistry;

  • Dental public health; 
  • Endodontics; 
  • Oral and maxillofacial pathology; 
  • Oral and maxillofacial radiology; 
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgery; 
  • Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopaedics; 
  • Pediatric dentistry; 
  • Periodontics; 
  • Prosthodontics

10. Ace a Texas approved clinical exam

If you’d love to practice in Texas, you must ace the test administered by any of these four bodies; Western Regional Examining Board, Central Regional Dental Testing Service, Northeast Regional Board, Southern Regional Testing Agency, and Council of Interstate Testing Agencies.

Results from any of the agencies are valid to be used for licensing for five years from the date of the test.

11. Receive your dental license

Typically, you will have to submit to some background checks to ascertain your criminal records and related information, as well as pass the tests administered by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE).

Results of the Jurisprudence Assessment must be mailed to the TSBDE to be approved.

12. Secure a Job as a Dentist

This is the last step on the list of steps on how to become a dentist in Texas. Your dream is finally coming through, all you need now is to send applications to fill dentist roles in health institutions near you.

As much as you do, try as much as possible to get into institutions with a lot of patient in-flow, at this stage of your life, what you should desire is a place where you can consistently get your hands dirty. A place with so much influx of patients will help you gain expertise and experience very fast. You’d also be privileged to work with other dentists with profound track records.

Concluding words on How to Become a Dentist in Texas

The quest to play a part in the improvement of the dental health of people starts with a burning desire to see people live optimal lives, and a commitment to study. Nobody becomes a dentist by folding their arms and doing nothing. From your high school stage even through college, your desire should place a commitment to personal and academic improvement. 

Anyone can become a dentist in Texas if they set their heart toward it and commit to these steps outlined in this article. All it will take is intense study, diligence, and a deep love for people. What are your thoughts about these steps on how to become a dentist in Texas? Please share your thoughts below.

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