Dentistry is a vocational degree which gives you the specialist knowledge, technical skills and qualities needed to become a dentist

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Work experience

During your dentistry degree, you'll develop clinical and technical abilities through practical work placements. Although you don't need additional work experience, a few weeks of work shadowing or experience within a dental practice can show your commitment to the role. You may also get the opportunity to take part in research projects through a summer internship.

You may have the opportunity to study for an intercalated degree. This involves spending a year studying for a BSc in a related subject between your second and third year of studies. It can help to develop your area of interest and focus the direction of your career.

Many dental students undertake some voluntary work with charities by offering oral healthcare advice to the community. Volunteering will enhance your transferable skills, such as communication and teamwork, as well as build your self-confidence.

It's also useful to join the British Dental Association (BDA) as a student member. This gives access to its journal, student magazine, dental library and e-books.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

The vast majority of dental graduates work in general dental practice or the dental salaried services.

Dentists in general practice typically work in NHS, private or, more often, mixed dental practices.

Typical employers in the salaried services include:

  • academic and research institutions
  • armed forces
  • community dental services
  • hospital dental services
  • public health organisations.

Other employers may include:

  • medical sales companies selling dental implants and equipment, for example
  • national and global health charities and non-governmental organisations
  • prisons.

It's also possible to pursue opportunities outside of dentistry in areas such as business, finance, marketing, administration and management.

Find information on employers in healthcare, charity and voluntary work, teacher training and education, and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

A dentistry degree provides you with the necessary clinical, technical and practical skills to provide effective treatment to patients of all ages. You learn the science behind oral and dental disease and how to treat and prevent it, as well as how to provide whole patient care.

You also gain a range of transferable skills that are also valuable to employers outside of dentistry. These include:

  • verbal and written communication
  • proactive listening and observation
  • administration and management
  • critical thinking and appraisal
  • analytical and problem solving
  • decision-making
  • the ability to work in and lead a multi-skilled team effectively.

Further study

After graduation, you'll complete a compulsory year of Dental Foundation Training (Vocational Training in Scotland) within approved general dental practices in order to work within the NHS.

You may decide to undertake further clinical training in order to specialise in a clinical specialty, such as orthodontics, restorative dentistry, oral surgery, or oral and maxillofacial pathology. These are competitive courses, approved by the GDC, which require experience.

It's also possible to study for a postgraduate qualification such as a Masters or PhD in order to move into a research career at a university or to teach in a dental school.

If you want to change career path, you could consider doing further study or training in areas such as law, teacher training, marketing, business or finance.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses in dentistry.

What do dentistry graduates do?

Dentistry is a highly vocational degree and this is reflected in the destinations data of graduates. Three quarters of graduates (76%) in employment in the UK are working as 'other health professionals', while 10% were working as health associate professionals and 3% as medical practitioners.

Further study0.9
Working and studying13.6
Graduate destinations for Dentistry
Type of workPercentage
Childcare, health and education1.1
Clerical, secretarial and administrative0.7
Types of work entered in the UK

Find out what other dentistry graduates are doing 15 months after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?

Graduate Outcomes survey data from HESA.

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