Working on a Smile: Why Dentistry is a Great Career Field for Working Moms

In today’s busy world, one of the hardest struggles for working moms is finding a job that both pays the bills and allows them to spend time with their families. The sad fact is that finding those positions is incredibly difficult.

By and large, higher paying jobs are more stressful and demand longer hours. Jobs that permit more family time often don’t pay enough to support a growing family.

One notable exception to this trend is the field of human dentistry. For mom’s struggling to make a decent living while they raise a family, it can present the perfect option!

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In this post, we’ll explore why working moms should seriously consider dentistry as a career field.

The Pay is Excellent

No matter what type of role you have in dentistry, odds are, you’re going to enjoy a very healthy paycheck. Licensed dentists obviously made the highest salaries. As of 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that dentists make over $158,000 on average. Dental hygienists make around $74,000 a year. Meanwhile, dental assistants make around $37,000 a year, which is still $6,000 above the national average.

It’s a Fairly Easy Field to Access

While the degree of training and education you need varies by job, dental medicine is a very accessible field overall. Take a look at the following roles to see what is typically required.

To Become a Dentist

Becoming a dentist is the most difficult career path in dental medicine because it requires the most training. To become a dentist, you’ll need to complete an undergraduate degree, complete dental school, pass your exams, and receive your license to practice dentistry. In addition, you’ll also need to complete a residency in a dental clinic. The entire process can take anywhere from 8 to 10 years.

To Become a Dental Hygienist

While becoming a dental hygienist still requires specific training, it’s far less strenuous than what a dentist requires. Most dental hygienist positions require at least an associate’s degree, which usually takes anywhere from three to four years to complete. Dental hygienists must also become licensed in the state they wish to practice in.

To Become a Dental Assistant

Becoming a dental assistant requires the least amount of training and certification. In some cases, it doesn’t require any. Some states require that dental assistants either get an associate’s degree or graduate from a certified program. Others don’t carry any educational requirements and training is completed after the assistant is hired.

The Work/Life Balance is Excellent

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Unlike other career fields in the medical industry, most dental positions maintain a stable, eight-hour-a-day schedule. Dentists who own a private practice may find they work more than that. However, compared to physicians and nurses working in specialties like emergency medicine, oncology, and surgery, it’s practically a cake walk.

This isn’t to say the field isn’t without its challenges. Any job in healthcare carries a higher-than-normal degree of stress. After all – we’re all familiar with the concept of “white coat syndrome.” It’s bad enough to feel it yourself. It can feel even worse when you’re on the receiving end of someone else’s frustrations.

Still, the pros far outweigh the cons. No job is without drawbacks, but with dentistry, you can at least count on going home at a decent hour most of the time.

It’s Also a Safe Profession

Compared to other medical fields, dentistry is a much safer field to be in. There were only 136 dental workplace injury incidents reported in 2009, compared to the 253,700 injuries reported in hospitals in 2011, as reported by The Journal of Occupational Medicine.

That being said, it’s still important that you take precautions to protect yourself if you choose to go into the dental field. Dentists reported a fairly high degree of needle injuries and dermatitis conditions, as well as musculoskeletal injuries in the neck and shoulders. Such injuries could result in you being out of the workplace for an extended period. If that happens, you want to ensure that you’re covered until you can return to work.

There’s a High Demand for Dental Specialists

One of the biggest concerns that working moms have is how relevant their position will be in the future. If a company no longer has need of your services or needs to cut costs, what’s to stop them from laying you off? You’ll never have to worry about that with a career in dentistry.

Consider the following:

  • The demand for both dentists and dental assistants is expected to grow by 19% between 2016 and 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • The demand for dental hygienists is expected to grow by 20% in the same time period.
  • There are over 5,000 areas throughout the U.S. categorized as dental health professional shortage areas (HPSA), meaning they don’t have enough dental specialists to meet the demand.

As the Baby Boomers continue to age, and Millennials start to grow their own families, the demand for healthcare will only increase. Dental care is a huge part of that trend, and that means excellent job security for dental specialists.


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