To become an endodontist, a person must first receive a bachelor's degree. After the degree is obtained, the student must pass the dental admissions test to be accepted into dental school. Then, general dentist education requirements must be met, and a DDS degree is earned. In addition to the DDS degree training, there is also a minimum of two additional years of specialized training in endodontic treatment that is required. Licensing is typically mandatory in each specific state or region where one will practice endodontics and is granted after completing a licensing exam.
When choosing an advanced dental degree in endodontics, it is important to understand what requirements must be met prior to graduating dental school. In the U.S., the American Academy of Endodontists (AME) provides guidelines for licensing. When choosing a dental school in the U.S., it is essential to be sure the school is accredited by an association or organization like the AME. This ensures that the quality of the endodontics program meets industry standards.
Courses that are commonly completed in an endodontics advanced degree program include principles and treatment of endodontics, clinical practice, and targeted research. Once a dental student has completed these requirements, they are typically required to submit a thesis before graduating with an advanced degree. Upon completion, the graduate may apply to become an endodontist who is board certified.
Board certification is vital to become an endodontist. A person must complete a written and oral exam, and an examination of the applicant's case history is conducted by the overseeing organization, such as the AME. Successful completion of these three requirements can lead to board certification. In order to maintain a license to practice endodontics in most regions, the practitioner must complete continuing education courses. This is to be sure that the professional is up-to-date in standard industry practices as well as technologies used.
Once graduates become an endodontist, they may choose to begin their careers by starting their own practices or joining a team of endodontists. It is important to know that opening a new practice takes business know-how as well as endodontics training. It can help to take business courses while in dental school to gain relevant business knowledge. If a certified endodontist chooses to join an endodontist group, he or she typically works for an employer. The main difference in owning a business is taking the liability of the practice versus being an employee of an existing practice and receiving a salary.