Becoming a dentist


Dentistry is a rewarding career that allows you to improve people’s health by providing a range of care – from preventing oral health problems to diagnosing disease and surgical restoration.

Dentists use state-of-the-art techniques and equipment, while focusing on caring relationships with patients. It’s a fast-paced profession that requires a commitment to serving others, constant education to keep up with new developments in the field, and a high degree of skill. Dentists are conscientious medical professionals who have a reputation for active leadership in their communities and their professional community.

The American Dental Association (ADA) provides a wealth of information for people who are thinking about becoming a dentist, including information about dental specialties, educational requirements and the Dental Admission Test. Check out ADA Career Resources.

Education & Training

Minnesota is home to one of the most respected dental schools in the United States, the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. Not only do they offer an excellent Doctor of Dental Surgery program, but they also offer Advanced Dental Residency Programs including periodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, endodontics, orthodontics, and others.

The University of Minnesota offers a Dental School Prep Course for future students.

Fast facts

What undergraduate courses are required for admission to U of MN Dental School?

English, Biology or Zoology, Physics, General Principles of Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, College Algebra, Pre-calculus or Statistics, and Applied Human Psychology. Some courses require two semesters for full completion.

How many years is dental school?

Four years for a D.D.S. degree; dental specialties vary and require additional time.

Internationally-Educated Dentists

In an effort to meet the needs of the upper Midwest’s increasingly diverse population and to facilitate Minnesota dental licensure, the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 2005 established a PASS PROGRAM. This two-year dental education program allows dentists educated outside of the United States or Canada to obtain additional education as one pathway toward Minnesota licensure.

If you’re a member of the Minnesota Dental Association and you received your dental education in another country, you may wish to become active in the MDA’s “International Dentists Study Club.” It’s a great way to network and exchange ideas with dentists who may have traveled the same road as you, regardless of how long you’ve made Minnesota your home! Call the Minnesota Dental Association for more information 612-767-8400.

What is the licensure process in Minnesota?

Information about the types of licensure and the requirements is available through the Minnesota Board of Dentistry. Find answers to frequently asked questions about licensure application here.