Last week, U.S. News released their list of the 100 Best Jobs for 2013.
The criteria for the occupations that made the list are jobs that offer great employment opportunities, a good salary, a manageable work-life balance, and job security.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that employment of dentists is expected to grow by 21% from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. Dentists will continue to see an increase in public demand for their services as studies continue to link oral health to overall health.
Part of this growth is expected to come from the aging baby-boom generation who are predicted to need more complicated dental work as they continue to age. The number of dentists is not expected to keep pace with this increased demand for boomer dental services.
Rural dentists continue to decline throughout the U.S. The ADA’s Dental Health Policy Analysis Series reports that almost 90% of all dentists are located in metropolitan areas; less than 1% are located in rural areas. About 8% of U.S. counties have no active dentist practicing within the county.
Data from the ADA reveals that total predoctoral enrollment was at its highest level during the late 1970s through the early 1980s, with peak enrollment of 22,842 in the 1980-81 academic year. In the last ten years, first-year predoctoral enrollment has only risen an average of 1.7% annually while the demand for dental services has risen dramatically since the 1980s.
Further increasing the demand for more dentists is the projection that beginning in 2014, as the baby-boomer dentists start to retire, the number of practicing dentists will decline dramatically while the U.S. population continues to increase.
Ignored in the U.S. News 100 Best Job list is the fact that dental students are graduating from dental school with increasingly burdensome amounts of educational debt.
The American Dental Education Association reports that in 2007 the average for all dental school graduates with debt averaged $172,627, those graduating from a public school averaged $148,777, while those graduating from private/state-related schools averaged $206,956. New dentists are entering the workforce carrying student debt loads not previously seen by entry level dentists at any time in the history of dental care.
Dentists, what are your thoughts about dentistry as a career?
Do you think being a dentist is the best job in the U.S.?
To read more on this story see: The 100 Best Jobs