Dentistry is a vocational degree which offers the opportunity to develop the specialist knowledge, technical skills and qualities required to become a dentist
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Health improvement practitioner
- Health service manager
- Higher education lecturer
- Medical sales representative
- Primary school teacher
- Science writer
- Secondary school teacher
- Teaching laboratory technician
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
The practical element of the course develops your clinical and technical abilities alongside the communication, teamwork and management skills necessary to provide patient care and register with the General Dental Council (GDC) to practice dentistry.
Although you don't need additional work experience to improve your chances for employment as a dentist, it's advisable to participate in extracurricular activities while at university, such as joining societies and becoming a student ambassador or a course representative.
You'll have the opportunity to take an elective placement project, anywhere in the UK or overseas. In some universities you can opt to intercalate, i.e. spend a year studying a science or another healthcare degree between your second and third year of studies.
Many dental students contribute to charities offering oral healthcare advice to the community. Volunteering will enhance your transferable skills such as communication and team work, as well as building your self-confidence.
Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.
The vast majority of graduates work as dentists in general dental practice, NHS hospitals and in community dental services.
You may also find opportunities in:
- national and global health charities
- private hospitals
- teaching and education
- the armed forces
- universities and clinical research organisations.
A few graduates pursue opportunities outside dentistry in industries such as business, finance, marketing, education and sales.
Skills for your CV
A dentistry degree develops your subject-specific skills, technical dental skills, the ability to understand ethical issues and the skills enabling you to treat patients in a caring and empathetic manner. It also equips you with clinical competence alongside manual dexterity. You'll gain transferable skills, valued both in and outside of dentistry, such as:
- administrative and management skills, to run a dental practice
- analytical and problem solving skills, to help reach clinical decisions
- the ability to work in and lead a multi-skilled team effectively
- verbal and written communication skills, developed from integrated placements and assignments.
After graduation, you'll undertake a compulsory year of Dental Foundation Training (DFT) with approved general dental practices, essential to work within the NHS. It's also necessary to obtain the Diploma of the Membership of the Joint Dental Faculties (MJDF) to practice in primary care.
If you're fully registered with the GDC, you can specialise further, for example in Orthodontics, Periodontics and oral and maxillofacial surgery. These are competitive courses, approved by the GDC, which require experience. You can then apply for the award of the Certificate of completion of specialist training (CCST).
What do dentistry graduates do?
Dentistry is a highly vocational degree and this is reflected in the destinations data. The majority (88%) of dentistry graduates in employment in the UK are working as dental practitioners, with a further 7% being employed as medical practitioners or medical and dental practitioners.
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Find out what other dentistry graduates are doing 15 months after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.