Are you one of those people who got accepted into multiple schools this year?
I’ve been there too! While it is a wonderful moment and you should treasure it while it lasts, know that this is an important decision not to take lightly! There are 3 main reasons why location matters, and why picking the right school to go to is crucial:
Practicing dentistry in the US, like in other countries, requires getting a dental license after graduation. This is a long and expensive process, that involves several smaller exams and at the time of this writing, a clinical board examination. There are 5 types of clinical board examinations, each of them giving you the ability to apply for licensure in different states of the US. If you’re one of those lucky few that have multiple dental school acceptances, pick carefully so you save yourself the stress of trying to coordinate a board examination in another state.
Some schools allow you to take the board examination on site (like in my case, thank God!) while others require you to fly to another city, and take patients with you! This quickly adds to costs and overall anxiety. Make the right decision of where you want to go to school.
Finding an associateship after graduation
Another reason why location is crucial, is access to a robust alumni network. After graduating from Washington State, when I needed to move to California for a few months, I found it very difficult to look for an associateship. It was challenging to get in touch with the right people over calls, text and email. I found that I needed to build my network organically.
If you do end up going to a school that is not in your home state or want to relocate elsewhere after graduation, consider reaching out to dental schools, local dental societies and Study Clubs in your destination city while still in school. Make it a point to meet people and network as much as you can over the break. Look for internships or shadowing opportunities to take up during your breaks. All these little things will help you connect with more people and build authentic relationships.
Buying a practice
If you’re looking to own a practice right after school, look into dental specific demographics as early as possible, maybe even while applying to dental schools. This will give you an amazing head start. Our most successful peers are those that planned ahead and used their time wisely. When I was enjoying my holidays back in Dubai, some of my colleagues were taking up internships at private offices and looking for practices to acquire. One dental student did demographic testing while in his 2nd year of dental school. As a result, he had a wonderful practice to buy within months of graduation.
Be that person!
This is a series of blog posts aimed at helping foreign trained dentists make a decision about which school to pick. All of these blog posts are part of a larger, detailed handbook for foreign trained dentists, that I am hoping to publish mid 2021. Excited? Me too!