About.com states that most dental students are required to take two years of pre-dental education, obtain a bachelor's degree, then attend a dental school before they are allowed to become a dentist. Students are also required to pass the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) before they can become a dentist.
About.com also states that dentists must be licensed by the state they intend to work in. The license requirements can change based on state but usually require graduation from a dental school and the passing of both parts of the National Board Dental Examinations. The National Board Dental Examinations are authorized by the American Dental Association's commission for national dental examinations. Another requirement for licensure is a clinical examination.
About.com also recommends that dentists possess certain personal traits in order to help them in their occupation. Critical thinking skills can help with deciding between alternative paths. Dentists who are socially adept and perceptive will probably have a much easier time than their peers who don't have these skills. Being able to manage time and accept new ideas can also be useful in the life of a dentist. During the day, dentists are expected to analyze and provide treatment to patients. Dentists can also educate their patients on oral issues, provide judgement when needed and refer patients to other, related practitioners when necessary.
According to About.com, the amount of dentists in the United States is expected to increase more quickly than are most other jobs until the year 2022. Dentists made a median annual wage of $145,240 in 2012.