People couldn't enjoy all the good foods they eat without dentists to take care of their teeth. They examine patients' teeth, gums and jaws, remove decay, fill cavities and repair cracked teeth. Instructing patients on preventative care, such as proper brushing and flossing, is another important role of a dentist. If you are patient and detailed-oriented, you already have some important traits of a dentist. But you will need to complete a bachelor's degree and attend dental school to actually become one. In return, you can earn a five-figure monthly income.
Dentists earn average monthly salaries of $13,479, as of May 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS. This figure is based on the average annual salary of $161,750 reported by BLS for general dentists, divided by 12. Your income as a dentist is largely contingent upon experience, where you practice and the size of your employer.
Monthly Salary by Industry
In 2011, dentists who worked in dental offices as partners or sole proprietors earned the highest monthly salaries, according to the BLS -- $13,732. If you worked for a state government agency or outpatient center, you would make $12,278 or $11,458 per month, respectively. But expect to make considerably less in a medical and surgical hospital -- $9,008 month.
Monthly Salary by State
Your monthly salary as a dentist can vary considerably by state. Expect to earn the most in New Hampshire -- $19,786 per month -- according to the BLS. Dentists also earned comparatively high salaries in Maine and Alabama at $17,338 and $17,094 per month, respectively, and $14,278 monthly in Texas. Monthly salaries for dentists are significantly lower in New York, California and Illinois -- $12,655, $12,342 and $10,138, respectively. But you would still earn a six-figure annual income, even in Illinois.
Jobs for dentists are expected to be plentiful in the next decade, according to the BLS, increasing 21 percent between 2010 and 2020. This rate of growth is faster than the 14 percent average for all occupations. Increases in job opportunities will primarily stem from larger populations of baby boomers and older Americans, who need teeth repaired or replaced. People are also using more cosmetic services such as teeth whitening, which can increase job opportunities for you.
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