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Starting a Dental Career Later in Life

Posted April 9, 2018

Brooke Faulkner

You might be considering a career change for a number of reasons. You could be burnt out on your current career, want to help people, want to make more money in a rewarding industry, or decided to return to school after your kids grew up. A dental career might be the right choice for you.

If you’re worried about changing careers later in life, remember it’s never too late. Many people are choosing to pursue different careers mid-life and never regret the decision. Here are a few dental career choices you have in front of you and some tips to help you succeed.

Dental Career Choices

Maybe you’re already set on becoming a dentist. And there are many different dental specialties. If you’re ready to jump back into dental school, there are a few things you should know:

However, there are lots of other options in the dentistry field to choose from. After weighing the pros and cons of being a dentist, you might consider other options like dental hygiene. This might be a better path if you think you would enjoy working under the supervision of a licensed dentist, cleaning teeth, and educating patients about good oral hygiene.

There are also options that require less training or a short few months at a vocational school. Dental assisting programs can take as few as 9 to 12 months to complete and you’ll be on your way to a new career helping doctors and their patients.

But maybe you’re interested in the dental industry, but you don’t want to return to school. Or maybe you prefer an administrative role to more hands-on career paths. Dental offices need all kinds of employees to operate every day. What kinds of skills and experience have you gathered in your career so far? How can you apply that to a new job in a dentist’s office? A few unique dental career options include:

As you can see, if you’re interested in the dental industry, there will be a job fit for you. You just might have to get creative and network with professionals already working in the field.

Dental School Tips

Choosing your career path is hard enough, but now you have to study for it. Maybe you’re nervous about returning to school and changing careers in your 30s, 40s, or 50s. Don’t worry, lots of people have done it before you.

You might be returning to a very different school than the one you attended in your younger years, but a few things will never change. Tests must be one of them. A test can be nerve-wracking or even sweat-inducing for some people. Here are five study and test-taking tips:

  • Study even when you feel tired. Stretch that last hour even if you’re nodding off. Push through a study session when you feel tired to help retention come test day.
  • Don’t study in one place. Moving to different spots can help form new connections in the brain creating stronger memories.
  • Create your own practice quizzes and tests. Practicing the stress of test-taking can help ease your nerves on the big day.
  • Write it out and study aloud. Many people find that re-writing material they are reading or studying can be effective in remembering the information. Likewise, repeating information out load can help some recall it easier during a test.

Finishing school will feel like a whirlwind, but where do you go from there? After dental school, you have a new career path set in front of you. You could start your own practice, or join a thriving one. The choice is yours.

Updated April 30, 2021
Originally published October 9th, 2018


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