The 10 Best Dental Schools for Aspiring Oral Health Professionals

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Aspiring oral health professionals can choose from a wide variety of dental programs. If they want to work in a dental office, but not attend years of school, options like dental hygienist or dental assistant are good choices. But, for students who want to become dentists, there are plenty of outstanding educational programs. 

The best dental schools prepare their students to lead in their field. From two-year programs at community colleges and professional programs at career training schools to orthodontics and Doctor of Dental Surgery degrees at universities, there are top-notch programs for anyone who wants to work in the oral health profession.

Comparison Table

Product Name

Website

University Of Michigan School Of Dentistry

university of michigan website

Image via University of Michigan website

Harvard School Of Dental Medicine

harvard school website

Image via Harvard School of Dental Medicine website

University Of North Carolina Chapel Hill School Of Dentistry

university of north carolina website

Image via University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Dentistry website

University Of Carolina San Francisco School Of Dentistry

university of california website

Image via University of California San Francisco School of Dentistry website

New York University College Of Dentistry

new york university website

Image via New York University College of Dentistry website

Ross Medical Centers

Ross Medical Centers

Image via Ross Medical Centers website

Aspen Dental Training Center

aspen dental training center website

Image via Aspen Dental Training Center website

Blackstone Career Institute

blackstone website

Image via Blackstone Career Institute website

The Fade Institute

fade institute website

Image via The Fade Institute website

Dental Supplies 

Potential Oral Health Careers

There are several careers in the oral health field in dental offices. Most require some educational training. The options include positions like:

  • Dental hygienist
  • Dental assistant
  • Dental lab technician
  • Pediatric dentistry
  • Prosthetics
  • Endodontics
  • Oral surgery
  • General dentistry
  • Orthodontics
dentist checking boys teeth

Image by Pixabay via Pexels

Outside of the dental office, other careers support the oral health industry. People need to work in dental insurance offices, to sell dental products, and to conduct research in oral health. Oral health professionals are also required to support the military and public health departments. Oral health professionals are also necessary to train students for their future careers. 

The best dental schools will prepare students for their future careers. These schools have the best teachers, affordable tuition or substantial financial aid, and helpful career placement services. Not all schools award degrees, some offer certificates.

The Best Dental Schools In The US

For people who want to become dentists and earn a DDS degree, some colleges and universities offer the necessary degree programs. But, only a few can be the best. These five schools provide some of the best undergraduate and graduate programs in the country:

University Of Michigan School Of Dentistry

university of michigan website

Image via University of Michigan website

The University of Michigan is repeatedly named one of the best colleges in the United States, and its dental program is consistently named one of the best in the nation, too. Students learn to care for patients in a variety of settings. 

At the U of M, students also learn to conduct research and develop specialties including a Master’s Degree in Dental Hygiene, a Ph.D. in Oral Health Sciences, and a Doctor of Dental Surgery. The programs are not cheap and range in price from $72,000 to over $100,000 annually.

Harvard School Of Dental Medicine

harvard school website

Image via Harvard School of Dental Medicine website

As one of the best universities in the world, there is little doubt that Harvard’s dental program would be anything less than great. The Dental School has some of the top professors in the industry and students learn to care for a broad spectrum of patients all over the world. Harvard’s Dental School actually gives direct patient care in the Boston area. 

Harvard only admits 35 students annually into the program, making it one of the most selective in the country. Those students can choose specialties in the graduate program, so they earn either a master of medical science or a doctor of medical science in their selected specialty. The cost of attending Harvard is between $97,000 and $122,000.

University Of North Carolina Chapel Hill School Of Dentistry

university of north carolina website

Image via University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Dentistry website

The Adams School of Dentistry is consistently named one of the best in the world. Its professors have been named distinguished professors and fellows, too. Students can earn a DDS degree. They can study advanced and graduate dental programs. And, they can get an undergraduate degree in dental hygiene. 

UNC’s School of Dentistry is accredited and prepares students to become educators, leaders, and researchers in the field of oral health. The School of Dentistry also trains students in the field of Oral and Craniofacial Health Sciences. The various programs at UNC are some of the more affordable, with annual tuition rates between $10,000 and $22,000.

​University Of California San Francisco School Of Dentistry

university of california website

Image via University of California San Francisco School of Dentistry website

UCSF offers several degree programs for people who want to study oral health. Their programs include options like a Ph.D. in Oral and Craniofacial Sciences, a DDS/MBA program, and a Masters in Dental Hygiene. They also offer post-graduate degree programs in pediatric dentistry, periodontology, and orthodontics to name a few. 

These programs include real-world practice that includes underserved populations and research in one of the top facilities in the world. The school has been training oral health professionals since 1881, and the students work with over 120,000 patients annually. Tuition costs between $18,000 and $83,000 annually.

New York University College Of Dentistry

new york university website

Image via New York University College of Dentistry website

Students who study at NYU’s College of Dentistry use some of the top research facilities in the world. The college is often awarded grants for their innovative programs. Students can practice their skills on patients in the New York area. The school is known for its research into HIV/AIDS and dentistry. 

Over 1800 students are admitted into the NYU College of Dentistry. Those students pay around $95,000 for each year of dental school.

Non-College Oral Health Training Programs

Colleges and universities are not the only places that people can learn about oral health careers. While these are the only opportunities for students who want to become dentists or earn other advanced degrees in oral health fields, career training programs exist for people who are looking for a quicker path to working in a dental office.

Ross Medical Centers

Ross Medical Centers

Image via Ross Medical Centers website

People who want to become dental assistants need a certificate or an associates degree. Ross Medical Centers are all over the United States, and most offer a training program for dental assistants. This training program can be completed in six to eight months depending on the plan you choose. 

Experienced instructors teach students how to prepare and process X-rays, how to take care of anesthetic, and take vitals. Students learn dental terminology and how to compose records and front-desk work. The program prepares graduates for careers in dental offices, insurance offices, and dental supply companies. 

You can expect to pay between $12,000 and $20,000 annually for training at Ross Medical Centers. Since most programs take less than one year to complete, this is more affordable than attending a college or university.

Community College For Dental Hygienist Degree

While many universities offer advanced degrees in dental hygiene, many dental offices hire hygienists with two-year associate. The Associate of Applied Science degree programs take two years and prepare students for a career in a dental office. 

The best programs are accredited and are designed to prepare students to take a state licensing exam. Community colleges will have some prerequisites, like high school chemistry or something similar. The training programs prepare graduates to clean patients’ teeth, teach proper oral care, and complete patient charts. 

Dental hygienist programs at local community colleges are usually affordable. For students who live with their parents, they can spend under $5000 annually for their tuition and fees.

Aspen Dental Training Center

aspen dental training center website

Image via Aspen Dental Training Center website

Aspen Dental, a franchise dental office, not only hires oral health professionals, but it also trains them to work in their facilities. The corporation has a training center in Chicago where people can learn to become hygienists, lab technicians, assistants, and office support staff. 

These programs are free for Aspen Dental employees, and they offer internships at Aspen Dental offices around the country. After completing the programs, graduates take exams in their fields and become certified.

Blackstone Career Institute

blackstone website

Image via Blackstone Career Institute website

Career training programs are useful for people who want to work in any type of medical office, including dental offices. Blackstone Career Institute offers a certification training program for people who want to be dental office assistants. Teachers prepare students to understand how to fill in dental billing codes and follow HIPAA guidelines. 

They also learn how to post payments, schedule appointments, and keep the office running. To earn their certificates, students at Blackstone also learn CPR certification. They also learn dental terminology. The programs at Blackstone cost less than $1500.

fade institute website

Image via The Fade Institute website

The FADE Institute is a part of the Foundation for Allied Dental Education. This non-profit organization helps people who work in the dental field. The organization provides continuing education courses for all people in the oral health field, from entry-level to licensed providers. 

One of the FADE Institute’s popular training programs is for people who want to become orthodontic assistants. The permit program includes studying in a lab and a clinical setting. Graduates take a written exam. 

The FADE Institute also trains Registered Dental Assistants to become orthodontic assistants. They learn to place and secure orthodontic brackets and bands. They also learn to scale teeth and prepare teeth for procedures. For people who are already RDAs, they can complete the orthodontic program in two weekends. 

The courses at FADE cost under $1000. Financial aid is available. The FADE Institute makes its home in a few cities in California.

How To Choose An Oral Health Training Program

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When you are ready to choose your oral health training program, there are a few things to consider. One is the amount of money that you are willing to pay for tuition and fees. These programs vary in price from $1000 to over $100,000. 

You should also consider how long you want to be in school. If you plan to attend college, you could be in school for two years to earn an associate’s degree or four years for a bachelor’s degree. If you plan to be a dentist or orthodontist, you could be in school for eight years or more.

If you want to get to work immediately in a dental office, then a dental assistant or office assistant program might be the best for you. Career training programs or community colleges offer training programs that can be completed in less than one year or up to two years. They are the most affordable and the training is appropriate for entry-level positions.

Take time to consider how much money you would like to make in your oral health career. Office assistants, dental assistants, and lab technicians make around $30,000 annually. There are plenty of positions available in dental offices, but there is not much room for advancement unless you continue your education.

dental tools

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However, if you plan to become a dentist, oral surgeon, or orthodontist, you can expect to make significantly more money. It is common for these professionals to make more than $100,000 annually. It does take much longer to earn a degree and licensure for these careers than it does to become an assistant or lab technician.

The Verdict In Oral Health Training Programs

The best choice for aspiring oral health professionals is to choose a training program that fits your needs. Colleges and universities are the best choices for people who want to earn an undergraduate or graduate degrees. Training schools and community colleges are the best choices for people who want a quicker path to a career. 

Your budget and time constraints should be the first two considerations as you are making a choice. The next should be your dream career. While it might not be in your budget to become a dentist, if you want to become one, there are ways to make it happen.

red dental treatment chair

Image by mali maeder via Pexels

Colleges and universities offer financial aid and other assistance for students who might have personal and financial struggles. There is no reason to miss out on your dream career in the oral health field. The top dental schools in the country will do what they can for you, especially if you qualify for admission into their programs. 

Industry experts think highly of the colleges and universities on this list. Some are incredibly selective, which shows their educational quality. Others do admit more students, but this doesn’t mean they are poor choices. Pick the training program that works for you and will get you to the oral health career you dream of having.

Featured image by Pixabay via Pexels.

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