While some dentists specialize in one area, such as periodontics, orthodontics or oral surgery, most are general practitioners. As a dentist, you’ll be responsible for educating patients on habits important to good hygiene, such as brushing, flossing and adhering to a healthy diet. You’ll fill cavities, inspect for tooth decay, apply sealants, improve alignment of teeth and repair broken teeth. It’s also possible that you’ll perform surgery to treat gum disease or extract teeth.
Many colleges and universities offer pre-dental programs that provide you with a solid foundation for further dental studies. These programs can be advantageous because they prepare you to be more competitive when applying to dental school. They include required pre-dental courses, such as chemistry, physics and biology, as well as opportunities to gain volunteer dental experience, shadow dentists and participate in student organizations. Many dental schools prefer to admit students who have earned a bachelor’s degree, but most require a minimum of two years of college coursework. To apply to dental school, you’ll need to take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT), which is administered by the American Dental Association (ADA).
Once you’ve obtained a degree from an accredited dental school, you’ll need to pass both a practical and written examination to become licensed. In most states, you and other candidates will take the National Board Dental Examination administered by the ADA for the written exam portion. The state in which you plan to work or a regional agency will typically administer the practical exam.
Radiologists are highly educated professionals. The road to a career as a radiologist typically begins with earning a bachelor’s degree. Medical school prerequisite courses include biology, chemistry and physics. A number of undergraduate students opt to work or volunteer in medical settings to gain experience.
The road continues with four years of medical school to become a physician. Medical school consists of two years of classroom education in the sciences, such as anatomy, pathology, pharmacology and biochemistry, followed by two years of clinical rotations in different areas of medicine, such as pediatrics, psychiatry, surgery and internal medicine.
After graduating from medical school, a physician must complete four years of a radiology residency, which is a combination of specialty medical education and paid on-the-job training, to become a radiologist. Residents complete clinical rotations in different subspecialties of radiology, attend lectures and conduct research. Some radiologists then go on to complete additional training so that they may further specialize. For example, interventional radiology, which requires doctors to use catheters, wires and other probes during certain imaging procedures, involves 1-2 years of fellowship training following completion of a residency.
In addition, the continuing emergence of new technologies requires extra training for the equipment to be used safely and accurately. It’s common for even advanced radiologists with many years of practice to take part in specialized training programs.