What You Should Know About A Career in Oral Surgery
Ever spoke to Dr. Bouneff or Dr. Kooning about your next procedure and thought to yourself, “This would be a cool job,”?
Well, you’d be right: A career in oral surgery is cool. Every day presents new challenges and new relationships. The field of oral surgery is consistently challenging itself from within, so the room for growth is limitless. New technology like 3D modeling furthers our understanding of the complexities of our anatomy. With such a rich history, oral surgery offers a fascinating wealth of knowledge.
The title of oral surgeon doesn’t come easily. Due to the intricacies of the job, the market is competitive and demanding. The schooling is long and the testing is rigorous, but the payoff is rewarding. The surgeons serving you here at Beaverton Oral Surgeons, as the best in the region, underwent formidable hurdles to wear that white coat.
If you’ve ever considered pursuing a career in oral surgery, here are a few things you should know about the process.
The Education is Tough
You can’t start your career in oral surgery by jumping straight into dentistry. Most dentistry schools require at least two years of undergraduate college-level education. Oral surgeons typically have a Bachelor’s degree in something related to the practice such as biology, chemistry, physics, or mathematics. A basic understanding in scientific concepts is fundamental to anyone interested in dentistry or oral surgery.
Our own Dr. Bouneff received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Eastern Oregon State College in La Grande, Oregon.
Next, following a pre-dental education, your next step is to seek your Doctor of Dental Surgery degree (DDS) from a four-year dental school program. Here, you’ll start dabbling in hands-on work.
Dr. Kooning received his dental degree from the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. He says those interested in a career in oral surgery must be excited about the idea of a lifetime of education.
“I never looked at it as a hard journey,” he says. “I enjoyed every step of the way.”
Residency and Licensing
Like any doctor, oral surgeons require at least four years of residency in a hospital-based surgery residency program. They interact with real patients and are faced with many of the same daily challenges with which they’ll be presented later in their careers. Oral surgeons must have grasp of treating conditions, defects, injuries, and aesthetic needs. Surgeons-in-training gain these skills over the course of their residency.
The next step for those interested in a career in oral surgery is a license to practice from the state. Requirements for this certification vary state by state. Most states require an accredited dental degree and a passing grade on the two-part National Board Dental Examinations.
Similar to the bar exam for future lawyers, the NBDE is the culminating test for anyone seeking a career in oral surgery. One part of the test is a multiple choice portion covering anatomy, clinical knowledge, and ethics. Another portion tests hands-on abilities.
In total, a career in oral surgery often requires around 12 to 14 years of schooling.
A Growing Industry
Lucky for us, oral surgery is a flourishing field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the field will grow 18 percent from 2004 to 2024.
As a result, the industry features more job opportunities, high salaries, and the opportunity to advance our methods and tools more than ever before.
Oral surgeons must have good supervisory and administrative skills. They must be physically dexterous, patient, and efficient multitaskers. For those up to the challenge, a career in oral surgery is a fulfilling and thrilling job.
For more information, consider shadowing a residency program.
We love what we do. We are driven by our passion for knowledge and a commitment to your health. Every day we spend learning, educating, and getting to know our patients is a gift. We love having the opportunity to share our love for the industry with anyone who walks through our doors. To know more about the education and professional paths of our doctors, check out their bios here.