Alternative Dental Career Options
Many dentists choose to pursue non-clinical dental career opportunities. Below are the various options that are available or non-traditional practice settings. The ADA Center for Professional Success offers the Alternative Dental Careers resource to help you make an informed decision on which career path may be best for you.
Academic dentistry needs dedicated educators to continue the tradition of excellence in the nation's pre-doctoral, specialty and allied dental programs. Dental educators have the unique opportunity to contribute to the educational development of the next generation of oral health professionals.
Organized dentistry describes the efforts of all the organizations that work to positively contribute to the dental profession. Organized dentistry encompasses the efforts of ADA members at the national, state and local level, also known as the tripartite, as well as specialty societies and organizations that represent diversity in dentistry.
Dental consulting is a broad field and many consultants are not dentists. Having a dental degree and practice experience can certainly be beneficial but additional expertise in the dental care industry will be essential.
Dental Products Industry
The demand for dental products (excluding equipment) is forecast to rise by 4.5 per cent per year to nearly $11 billion in 2012. The education and knowledge that a dentist already possesses may allow for opportunities in this arena.
There are dozens of large, private dental insurance companies. These dental benefit companies may employ dentists in a number of roles, including claims review, scientific analyses and research, and administrative functions. High level managerial positions exist but require more than a dental degree and a history of clinical practice.
We live today in an unprecedented age of discovery that has opened up many opportunities in oral, dental, and craniofacial research. Careers and training are available at government institutions, universities, and private corporate research centers.
Federal Services (Military and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)
Three branches of the Armed Services (Army, Air Force and Navy) have their own health care corps. Within each corps, the health care team has dental professionals fulfilling critical and essential roles in multi-specialty practice to keep the service members in a state of readiness, along with providing dental services to the families of service members. Some dental officers are actively involved in research, education, humanitarian missions and product evaluation activities as well. Additionally, dentists working within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs continue to care for veterans of the military branches following their military service and are frequently challenged by the needs of patients with diverse and complex medical conditions.
Federal Services (Public Health)
Dental Officers in the Commissioned Corp work throughout the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and in other federal agencies and programs.
Accreditation organizations provide an external review of the quality and safety of care being provided. These organizations utilize field surveyors, who have extensive experience in the health care environment they will be surveying.
As you consider a new career, you may wish to pursue obtaining additional education including another graduate degree. This avenue has become very popular and much more accessible than ever before. There are many advanced degree and certification programs available.