Dentists are responsible for preventing, diagnosing, and treating diseases of the teeth, gums, and related parts of the mouth. In addition to general dentistry, nine types of certified dental specialties exist. Training to become a dentist requires four years of dental school after undergrad. General practice residency is optional and usually lasts one year. Residencies of 2-6 years are required for the 20% of dental school graduates who pursue a specialty. These specialty residencies may result in a certificate, a master’s degree, a Ph.D., or an M.D. (for oral/facial surgery).

The Pre-Dental Society (, a student group at Notre Dame, primary purpose is to provide a chance for students potentially interested in dentistry to meet and obtain helpful information regarding dental school application, as well as to gain insight on the nature of life as a dental student or dentist. To achieve these goals, the club will partake in the following activities: 1) The club will meet regularly to allow members to get together with their fellow pre-dental students and exchange thoughts and ideas on the Dental School application process. 2) We will coordinate the visits of South Bend-area dentists and orthodontists who will volunteer their time to share their past experiences in applying, their thoughts on life as a dentist, and where they see the future of dentistry. 3) A dental hygiene drive will be conducted to collect and/or receive donations of dental supplies for the needy in the area. 4) The club will be a resource for students seeking information on dental schools and the application process from the Science Preprofessional office. Meetings may also be a form for talks from Preprofessional advisors. 5) The club will conduct D.A.T. test study sessions to help students prepare for the exam. 6) The club will bring admissions officers from nearby dental schools to familiarize club members with the dental admissions process. 

Job Market: The projected percent change in employment from 2020 to 2030. The average growth rate for all occupations is 8 percent.

Base Salary: The median annual wage for dentists was $164,010 in May 2020.


Prerequisites vary slightly from school to school; this list will cover the requirements at many schools.

  • Chemistry 4 semesters
  • General Biology 2 semesters
  • May require Anatomy or Physiology
  • Physics 2 semesters
  • English 1-2 semesters
  • May require Statistics or Microbiology
  • Psychology and Sociology/Anthropology

Preparation Outside the Classroom

A knowledge of the field is vital in the application process. Shadowing can help you understand the role of the dentist. Health care is a life of service and dental programs expect to see a consistent interest in the well-being of others, particularly vulnerable groups like those in poverty, members of underserved groups, asylum seekers, those with disabilities, etc.


If you are planning to apply to a Health Profession and would like to utilize the Center, the application process begins in November of every year. November is when we have our ‘Kick Off’ meeting for all Juniors & Seniors (undergrads at Notre Dame) that plan to apply to a Health Profession during that particular cycle. The required forms are released before winter break. These forms are required to be turned in by the end of January and a one on one Pre Application Interview will be scheduled after the forms have been received. All of which are required to receive a committee letter from one of the Pre Health Advisors. Each year the demand increases, the Pre Health Advisors schedule will be completely full with Pre App Interviews starting January to May. It is in your best interests to follow each step on our website (Junior or Senior year during your time at Notre Dame) to make sure you are guaranteed an interview. If the required steps are not completed inside of the deadline, a committee letter is not guaranteed. Committee letters are valued by dental schools. The Center will only provide a letter for current students (Juniors & Seniors of Notre Dame) and Alumni of Notre Dame who participate in our application process in a timely manner.

The DAT is the standardized test required for application, and applicants typically take the test between March and June. The application process with our Center takes approximately 15 months. Applications (letter of evaluations & committee letter, uploaded as 1 packet) are submitted through one (or more) of the central applications services. Applications are submitted through AADSAS, the central application service.

You should apply to 6-10 programs.

The optimal application timeline is June.