More than 5,000 dentists work for the U.S. Public Health Service, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs or the U.S. military. This career path offers many benefits, including:
- Base salary, often with non-taxable income and benefits
- A competitive compensation package that grows as your career advances
- Opportunity to complete a residency or specialty program of your choice
- Access to continuing education
- Ability to expand your skills in a work environment similar to general dentistry
Roles may include providing care for military veterans as part of the VA system or becoming a uniformed officer working with active-duty personnel. The U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps hires dental officers to serve in the Indian Health Service, U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Bureau of Prisons and the National Health Service Corps. The Commissioned Corps is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, overseen by the Surgeon General. While it is not officially part of the military, officers may assist in public health responses to man-made and natural disasters. Officers receive the same benefits as their counterparts in the military.
There are also opportunities in International health care where dentist can provide services to populations abroad and work for such agencies as the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Many dentists volunteer to bring dentistry to aid people in third world countries.
Additionally, dentists may find career openings in public health programs at the state and local level. These programs may offer services for patients who otherwise would not have access to oral health care.
Learn more about military and public career opportunities.