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What Is an Associate Dentist and How to Become One

What Is an Associate Dentist?

As an associate dentist, you work at a dental practice as a non-owner dentist. In dental associateships, you are either an employee or an independent contractor. Your job duties are the same regardless: examining patients, repairing cavities, and educating patients about oral health. However, as an independent contractor, your responsibilities include setting your hours, managing your appointment calendar, and using and maintaining your instruments. You need strong organizational skills and people skills. The qualifications for a career as a dental associate are graduation from dental school and the completion of a residency program.

How to Become an Associate Dentist

Education, training, and licensure are the primary qualifications you need to meet to become an associate dentist. You need at least a bachelor’s degree to enter a dental program and begin pursuing this career. You must take the Dental Admission Test, complete clinical work, and choose a degree path. Acceptable degrees include Doctor of Dental Surgery, Doctor of Dental Medicine, and Doctor of Medical Dentistry. Your education also consists of a two to four-year residency and two to five years of advanced training to further build your skills. You must also hold licensure in your state to practice.