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Aspiring dentists with a solid grade point average or financial need may qualify for a dental school scholarship. Dentistry scholarships are one way to pay for pre dental, dental and dental hygienist programs. Local communities, government, national associations, ROTC and colleges offer dental scholarships. If you meet their eligibility requirements, there are directions on how to apply.
As a rule, it take four years to earn one of two professional degrees in dentistry. A Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) either must be from a CODA accredited dental program.
About 20% of practicing dentists limit their niche to one of nine recognized specialties.
All of these fields take an extra two to four years for a post doctoral certificate or master’s degree. It’s more like four to six years for oral and maxillofacial surgery programs which lead to a joint MD degree. According to the NCES, tuition and fees for a graduate degree was an average of $18,416 per year. If you multiply it by 4, that’s roughly $73,600 plus fees, dental equipment and required health insurance.
Since many students enter these graduate programs, you may have to apply for student loans. In fact, graduating dentists left with an average debt of $287,331 in 2017-18, says the ADEA. On the flip side, once licensed, job prospects for dentists especially in under served areas are good and salaries are above the norm too. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for dentists was $159,200 with some earning more than $208,000 in 2019.
Check out these scholarship funds to make dental studies more affordable. Most awards are for U.S. citizens and come with distinct eligibility requirements and deadlines.
There are many associations that represent the interests of different kinds of dentists. As a member, you may have access to various resources including dental school scholarships.
AAPD’s mission is to advance optimal oral health for all children. They research and advocate for standards of care, policy and dental education. Their website is also a tool for the public to find an AAPD certified dentist.
Master Clinician Scholarship is for dentists looking to make a switch into an academic career. It recognizes that dentists who teach may also innovate and pave the way for new national policies. Selected recipients receive full tuition to Academy for Advancing Leadership’s Institute for Teaching and Learning (ITL) in Atlanta, GA.
The ADA is an organization with over 163,000 members. They exist to further the profession of dentistry in a variety of ways. One of these is to develop and put into use board licensure and testing programs. The organization also offers services like Find a Dentist, contract review and credentialing tools. Scholarships and grants are available to members through the ADA Foundation.
In 2020, American Dental Association will award up to three dental school scholarships worth at least $11,000 each to dental students. Applicants must show a high level of academic achievement (GPA of 3.4 or higher). Also preferred are community service and financial need. The program is open to all students in accredited U.S. dental schools who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. To qualify, one must be a full time student, enrolled and in the second or third year of study.
The ADEA is the only organization in the United States to represent academic dentistry. About 18,000 members span all 78 U.S. and Canadian dental schools with allied health and advanced dental education programs. Together, members set the ‘best practices’ for school curricula of all kinds and have access to dental school scholarships and other useful resources.
There are two programs made available through a partnership with Proctor and Gamble. ADEA/Crest Oral B Scholarship is for predoctoral dental hygiene students. There are two recipients of $3,000 each that support students who want to become dental hygiene educators. Another two scholarships of $5,500 each go to predoctoral students going for an academic career. Both programs require you to submit an online application and ask for transcripts, a personal essay, letters of nomination and recommendation.
GlaxoSmithKline award supports 12 predoctoral dental students with $2,500 each. Applicants must show academic excellence and a strong interest in the field through research, service and other activities. The program is also open to those going for their degree on a full time basis at a Canadian or U.S. school of dentistry.
Another scholarship program honors Professor Linda Rubenstein DeVore. A $1,500 scholarship goes to a student pursuing a degree in allied dental education or public health. It is open to all levels of study – bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate. To be eligible, you must lead in education or health care and be in good academic standing. You also need a letter of nomination from a faculty.
The ADHA, founded in 1923 is the largest national organization of dental hygienists. With over 185,000 registered members, they work to advance the profession, promote licensure, research and education. As a member, you also may receive dental school scholarships, grants and special events.
U.S. students enrolled in a bachelor’s dental hygiene program are eligible for Institute for Oral Health Scholarship Program. Students must also have a grade point average of 3.5 or higher and be student or professional members of ADHA. Two recipients each receive a one time award of $1,000.
Accredited schools of dentistry offer dental school scholarships. University of Pennsylvania, New York University, and University of Washington may offer awards to incoming dental students. The cost of attendance may vary between public and private schools. Private schools could be more expensive and 4 years may cost over $106,204 using the last data from the NCES. More selective and Ivy League schools tend to come with a higher annual tuition.
UPenn is an Ivy League school. Through Penn Dental Medicine, students work towards DMD degree with options of other graduate programs as well. The dental program offers nine dental specialties that lead to post graduate certificates. Areas such as endodontics, oral medicine, orthodontics and prosthodontics. There is also a Master of Science in Oral Biology and a Doctor of Science in Dentistry. Each program comes with a different cost. To help students afford their education, the school offers dental scholarships.
All DMD applicants are eligible to receive a merit based Dean’s Scholarship. These awards pay up to $40,000 per year to incoming four year DMD students. There is no separate application. Among the criteria are academic performance, leadership and interests beyond school. If one keeps up good standing, the awards renew for up to 4 years.
NYU’s School of Dentistry is the third oldest of its kind in the nation. It offers clinical training in oral health care as well as graduate programs including a predoctoral DDS curriculum. Students may also pair the DDS with a certificate in public health, MPH or MBA degree. They may also choose a seven year BA/DDS joint degree program. Each program’s tuition and fees may vary. To make these programs more affordable there are several merit and need based dental school scholarships for admitted students. NYU also provides the Post Graduate Scholarships. You may be considered for an award based on your FAFSA information.
Located in Seattle, University of Washington’s School of Dental Medicine offers dental and oral health education, research, and dental care clinics. DDS, and pediatric dentistry are a few other options. Also, the Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE) program trains dentists to meet the needs of rural and under served populations in the state and region.
These awards honor a past teacher of biostatistics, Dr. Chuck Spiekerman. The Spiekerman scholarships provide tuition awards to help students from low and middle income countries to attend the Summer Institute. The number of awards may vary depending on donations.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 79.0% of the dental health workforce are white males. Females are in the minority (35.7%) as are Black or African Americans (1.6%), Asians (17.6%) and Hispanics (4.3%). In addition to the lack of racial and ethnic diversity, the ADA reports that dental care is the most unmet health need for minority groups. Some providers create dental school scholarships to encourage more minority students to enter dentistry school.
CAMS is a nonprofit charitable, educational, and scientific organization. Their commitment is towards education and community service. Each year, CAMS members with financial need may receive scholarships. There are 3 to 5 recipients and each one receives a $5,000 stipend per year. The award is also open to all first, second year and third year medical or dental students.
The HDA, through support from Colgate Palmolive offers members access to scholarships. Eligible applicants must show a commitment to improve and serve the oral health of the Hispanic community. One of their awards is the Dental Residency or Specialty Program. The maximum award is $5,000 but the number of scholarships may vary.
To qualify, you must be an HDA or HSDA member, accepted or enrolled full time in an accredited residency or specialty program. Eligible applicants must have an undergraduate or graduate degree in a related oral health field from an accredited school. The maximum award is $5,000 but the number of scholarships may vary.
The United Negro College Fund offers a STEM Scholars Program to help African American high school students earn a degree in science, technology, engineering or math. There are 100 scholarships available ranging from $2,500 to $5,000. Eligible applicants must be U.S. citizens with a 3.0 GPA who pursued a rigorous course of study in high school that included pre calculus. To qualify, you must also prove unmet financial need.
Federal financial aid, military benefits, private students loans may also help pay for dental school. The ADA has Financial Planning Issues that may be worth a look. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify.
If you are entering a bachelor’s program first, you may be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant. This requires you to file the FAFSA. But, the Pell Grant is only for undergraduate students. The amount you receive may depend on your Expected Family Contribution, cost of attendance, enrollment status, and plans to attend a full academic year.
The U.S. Department of Education also offers Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Direct PLUS Loans. The loan programs are available at schools that participate in offering these and come with their own terms.
Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate, graduate and professional students. It is the school that figures out how much you can borrow based on the cost of attendance and how much other aid you receive.
Direct PLUS Loans are for graduate or professional students. They help pay for education expenses not covered by other aid. However, the government does run a credit check. If you do not have a good credit history, you must meet additional requirements.
Private student loan may help you borrow more money than just the cost of attendance. Our Student Loan Finder tool takes less than 30 seconds and matches you to lenders you may contact about borrowing.
The NHSC is a government agency that serves two roles. It awards dental school scholarships to students training to become health care workers. They also help to pay school loans for current primary health care workers. In return, students commit to working in high need areas.
NHSC Scholarship Program
To be eligible for this program, you must be a U.S. citizen (U.S. born or naturalized) or U.S. national. Eligible applicants also need to pursue a degree as a full time student in the U.S. Dentistry is one of the approved programs (DDS or DMD degree) as long as the school is ADA accredited. If you’re selected, you must agree to a service contract once you graduate.
Loan Repayment Program
The NHSC LRP program has recipients commit to serving at least two years. You must be full time or half time clinical practice at an NHSC approved site. Approved disciplines are dentists with a DDS or DMD in general or pediatric dentistry.
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The sources for school statistics and data is the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.
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