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Education & Careers

A dental education opens up a world of professional opportunities. In addition to private practice, today's dental school graduates can choose to work in hospital emergency rooms, conduct advanced laboratory research, teach future dentists or even travel the world with international health and relief organizations.

Part of the ADA’s mission is to ensure that dentists and dental team members receive the best possible education and training. The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) has a rigorous process for developing accreditation standards for dental education programs across the United States. Site visit results and subsequent reports are the basis for accreditation decisions. Occasionally, programs voluntarily discontinue accreditation or accreditation is withdrawn by the Commission. A list of those programs can be found in Accreditation Notices

The ADA also advocates for national policies to ensure the cost of dental education is not a prohibitive factor for those wanting to pursue careers in clinical practice, teaching, research, and public health.  

Becoming a Dentist

Through charitable programs like the ADA Foundation, we help deserving students have access to this remarkable professional opportunity. There are over 50 dental schools in the United States and admission is competitive. Learn more about obtaining a DENTPIN® before taking the Dental Admission Test (DAT) or National Board Dental Examinations and how to prepare academically and financially for a four-year dental education.

After successfully passing the National Board Dental Examinations (Part I and Part II or Dental Hygiene), you can display your achievement with a National Board Dental or Dental Hygiene Certificate. This full-size certificate features the gold embossed ADA seal and official designation of your achievement.

Dental Team Careers

Dental hygienists, assistants and lab technicians are in high demand. There are hundreds of programs across the country that will prepare you for these rewarding careers.

Continuing Education

Dentistry is a dynamic and evolving profession. The ADA offers several continuing education options — online courses, conferences, seminars — for members to constantly improve their practice and meet state licensure requirements.