Immigrating to the United States as a dentist may be an exciting prospect if you are eager to start a new chapter in your profession and life. The United States is in significant need of dental experts. This reason, combined with excellent pay and the opportunity to work with cutting-edge equipment, convinces many to immigrate to the US as dentists.

The immigration procedure of immigrating to the US as a dentist might appear overwhelming. You must understand the essential stages and criteria to ensure a successful transition. Immigrating to the United States as a dentist may be a joyful and gratifying experience with the correct direction and preparation. Let’s look at everything you need to know to get started.

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Immigrate to the US as a dentist

Are Dentists in Demand in the US?

Yes, dentists are in high demand in the United States. As the population ages and individuals become more aware of the importance of oral health, the demand for dental services is likely to rise further. Furthermore, many parts of the country are neglected and desperately need dental practitioners. This demand creates possibilities for US-trained and foreign-trained dentists seeking to practice in the United States. However, demand for dentists varies based on region, specialty, and amount of expertise.

How to Work and Immigrate to the US as a Dentist

Eligibility Conditions to Immigrate to the US a Dentist

If you want to immigrate to the US as a dentist, you must complete specific qualifying requirements. The US government imposes these requirements to guarantee that only certified professionals are permitted to work in the nation. Here are some of the eligibility requirements you must meet:

  • Education. You must have graduated from a recognized dentistry degree program in your native country.
  • Licensure. You must be licensed in your native country to practice dentistry and have no disciplinary proceedings against your license.
  • English Language Competence. You must show your English language competency by completing an authorized language exam such as the TOEFL or IELTS.
  • You must pass the NBDE (National Board Dental Examination), which assesses your knowledge in several dental subjects.
  • Clinical assessment. To show your practical abilities and understanding of dental treatments, you must pass a clinical assessment.
  • You must first get a work visa. Typically, this needs sponsorship from a US company.

Required Skills to Immigrate to the US as a Dentist

Certain abilities are necessary for qualifying if you are a dentist wishing to immigrate to the United States. Here are some of the abilities and qualifications that can help you go through the process more smoothly and successfully:

  • Clinical experience in your native country or another nation might be advantageous and boost your chances of success.
  • Continuing education. It is critical to stay current with the newest innovations in dentistry; therefore, having a history of continuing education classes might be beneficial.
  • Soft skills. Communication, collaboration, and patient management skills are vital in the dentistry sector in the United States; therefore, possessing these talents might be beneficial.

How to Immigrate to the US as a Dentist?

There are measures you must follow if you wish to immigrate to the US as a dentist. Here are some tips to get through the process:

Step 1. Meet the Educational Requirements

You must first graduate from a recognized dental school. The degree must be comparable to a DDS or DMD from a dental school in the United States.

Step 2. Gain Clinical Experience

You must get clinical experience by working as a dentist in your native country.

Step 3. Pass the National Board Dental Examination

The National Board Dental Examination consists of two parts that examine your understanding of core dental sciences, clinical decision-making, and patient care. To be eligible for a dental license in the United States, you must pass this exam.

Step 4. Obtain a Dental License

To immigrate to the US as a dentist and start practicing, you must first get a dental license from the state where you intend to practice. The procedures for acquiring a license differ from state to state, so be careful to investigate the rules for the state where you intend to operate.

Step 5. Secure a Job Offer

You must get a job offer from a US company before you can apply for a visa to work in the US. In addition, your visa application must be sponsored by your company.

Step 6. Apply for a Visa

Once you receive a job offer, you may apply for a work visa in the United States. The sort of visa you require is determined by your credentials and the nature of the work you will be conducting.

Step 7. Prepare for Your Move

When your visa is accepted, you may start planning your journey to the United States. This could involve finding a place to live, transporting your stuff, and getting health insurance.

Infographic How to Work and Immigrate to the US as a Dentist

What are the Steps to Obtain a US License to Practice Dentistry?

The following are the general steps foreign-trained dentists should take to receive a license to operate as general dentists in the United States.

Step 1. ECE / WES Evaluation

Most dental schools in the United States will need that you have your dental diploma and transcripts assessed by one of the approved assessment institutes:

A credential review compares academic and professional degrees achieved in one nation to those gained in another. Please keep in mind that UIC only accepts ECE course-by-course ratings.

You can visit the ECE and WES websites to learn more about how your academic qualifications will be reviewed.

You will need to translate your transcripts and diploma if they were issued in a language other than English. Therefore, you should look for a translator who is a member or approved by the American Translators Association.

Step 2: Prepare for the NBDE (National Board of Dental Examination)

The National Board Dental test (NBDE) is the national dental test for dental students and professionals in the United States. It is necessary for licensing in the United States and may also be required for postgraduate courses in the dental specialty after earning a dental degree. Foreign-trained dentists must also take the NBDE to be admitted to advanced standing programs in US dental schools.

The exam aims to aid state boards in establishing your eligibility to practice dentistry in certain states. The test examines your understanding of core ideas in biological, dental, and dental hygiene sciences, as well as your ability to apply those principles in a problem-solving setting, such as a patient case.

Each state establishes its licensing criteria. All licensing boards, however, rely on the National Board Dental Examinations to fulfill a large percentage of their written requirements.

The NBDE is divided into two parts: NBDE I and NBDE II. The ADA’s Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations develops and administers both parts, although regional or state examining boards give the tests. Therefore, before taking your regional license test, you must pass both examinations.

Here is an overview of what each test covers. For additional information about taking the examinations, see the ADA’s NBDE handbook.

NBDE I consists of 400 multiple-choice questions focusing on fundamental sciences:

  • Human Anatomy, Embryology, and Histology
  • Biochemistry and Physiology
  • Microbiology and Pathology
  • Dental Anatomy and Occlusion

NBDE II is a two-day course that focuses on clinical dentistry topics:

  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery/Pain Control
  • Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry
  • Endodontics
  • Patient Management, including Dental Public Health, Behavioral Science, and Occupational Safety
  • Oral Diagnosis
  • Pharmacology
  • Operative Dentistry
  • Periodontics
  • Prosthodontics

Step 3: Take the NBDE Board Examinations

To start, go to the ADA’s NBDE basic information guide for step-by-step directions on how to take the examinations.

  1. Obtain a DENTPIN. The ADA (American Dental Association’s) Department of Testing Services processes applications for the NBDE examination programs. The first step in the application procedure is to obtain a DENTPIN, a one-of-a-kind personal identification that you will need to take the exam.
  2. Arrange an exam appointment. You will next need to arrange an exam appointment at a Prometric testing center in your region.

Step 4: Take the TOEFL Exam

The TOEFL exam. The TOEFL is an ETS online test that assesses your ability to use and understand English at the university level. Most US dental schools need you to take the TOEFL to verify your English language competence. In addition, international dental graduates must be fluent in English.

Tips to prepare for the TOEFL exam:

  • Learn about the test. We recommend that you first get familiar with the TOEFL format. Visit the official TOEFL website to learn about the exam structure, get answers to your queries, and find testing locations. Magoosh is another excellent website for TOEFL test preparation. This website provides a comprehensive TOEFL education, including video lectures, practice questions, study plans, and teacher help. It’s an excellent resource for preparing for the TOEFL exam.
  • Read non-technical English. The reading component of the TOEFL exam will demand you to read passages and answer questions about them. The themes are all written in plain English that everyone can comprehend. Commit to reading some every day without interruptions to prepare for this. Then, consider what you have prepared to better your knowledge.
  • Enroll in an English class. Consider going to a college-level English course at your local community college for a more structured, in-depth study strategy.
  • Get a tutor. A tutor may be an excellent option if your learning style is better off with a more individualized approach. HeyTutor.com is a marketplace where you can hire tutors and read evaluations from previous clients.

Step 5: Increase Your Competitiveness as an Applicant

One thing to remember concerning dentistry schools in the United States is how competitive they are. Many institutions (including UIC) have a selective application process for limited positions.

Gaining dental experience in the United States is one of the finest strategies to boost your competitiveness.

Gaining dental experience in the United States can help you become more knowledgeable about dental innovations. In addition, your prior dental expertise will help you adapt to becoming a dental student.

The majority of foreign-trained dentists begin their careers as dental assistants. Working as a dental assistant will provide you with significant dental experience. In addition, it will also help you to network with dentists throughout the United States. Many institutions require that you submit a letter of recommendation from a dentist in the United States with whom you have worked.


  • Extracurricular activities and volunteer work. Applicants should have diverse experiences, including community service and voluntary work in the United States. The experiences may not have to be directly linked to dentistry, but they may be beneficial to one’s knowledge of unselfish giving, compassion for others, and exposure to varied communities. Your participation in extracurricular activities/volunteer work will set you apart from other potential pupils.
  • Increase your knowledge. Dental schools in the United States prefer applicants who have benefited themselves and their communities in various ways, such as acquiring professional skills, volunteering, and participating in extracurricular activities.

Here are a few more methods to broaden your experience:

  • Improve your leadership, diversity exposure, community service, and volunteer experiences. UIC invites applicants to participate in marginalized communities.
  • Community service also enables you to understand more about the diversity of American culture.
  • Participate in organized dentistry (e.g., ISDS, CDS, ADA, IAGD).
  • Gain research experience. While not needed, further information in the science area improves a student’s comprehension of developments in the subject. It is not necessary to do research in dentistry or oral health.

Step 6: Apply to a US Dental School Program

As previously stated, advanced training (or advanced standing) programs are an excellent choice since they prepare foreign-trained dentists to get licensure in the United States and practice in any state. You will obtain an American Dental degree (DDS/DMD) in a short period, often 2 to 3 years. Advanced Training Programs are the sole option that allows a foreign-trained dentist to be licensed in any state in the United States (after meeting the requisite licensure criteria).

Above-average academic qualifications, letters of recommendation, a personal interview, and a statement of interest demonstrating enthusiasm and communication skills are all common application criteria.

Visa Options for Foreign Dentists Immigrating to the US?

If you are a foreign dentist planning to move to the United States, you should know your visa choices. Dentists may be eligible for various visa categories, including the H-1B visa for skilled workers, the O-1 visa for those with exceptional ability, and the EB-2 and EB-3 visas for employment-based immigration.

To be eligible for these visas, you must have a valid license to practice as a dentist in the United States, a job offer from a US company, and the requisite education and experience in dentistry.

How to Differentiate Yourself from Other Dentist Candidates?

Emphasize any of the following characteristics that will help you stand out from the crowd. You can present:

  • Master’s degree in the US
  • Additional certifications in the dentistry field (e.g., Expanded Duty Dental Assistant)
  • Continuing dental education courses
  • Bench Test Preparatory Course
  • Publications
  • Externships/Observerships offered in dental schools
  • Research
  • Honors

How to Get a Dentist Job in the US?

Here are the important elements to consider when looking for a dental job in the United States:

  • Complete a DDS or DMD program at a US dental school or a foreign university that is accredited.
  • Obtain a dental license in the state where you intend to practice. State standards vary, but most involve passing a written and clinical test.
  • Attend dental conferences, join dental groups, and take continuing education courses to expand your professional network.
  • Complete a residency program or work as an associate dentist for clinical experience.
  • Apply for positions on job search portals, through dental staffing agencies, or by calling dental practices directly.
  • Consider concentrating on a specific field of dentistry to expand your work opportunities and income possibilities.

What are the Benefits of Immigrating to the US as a Dentist?

  • Great demand. There is a great demand for dentists in the United States, resulting in a solid work market and competitive pay.
  • Job security. Because the need for dental treatment is consistent, dentistry is a stable and secure career.
  • Growth opportunities. With breakthroughs in technology and innovative treatments, dentists have the potential to constantly learn and broaden their skill set.
  • Dentists have the potential to enhance their patient’s dental health and general well-being, which leads to fulfilling jobs.
  • Work schedule flexibility. Many dentists can work in private offices or clinics, which can provide flexible hours and work arrangements.

How Much is the Salary of Dentists in the US in 2024?

In the United States, the average dentist’s pay is $146,461 per year or $70.41 per hour. Entry-level salaries begin at $49,997 per year, with most experienced individuals earning up to $212,441 per year.

10 Highest Paying Dental Specialties

Dental SpecialtyAverage Annual Salary
Public Health Dentistry$179,400
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery$311,460
Pediatric Dentistry$179,400
Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology$179,400
Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics$267,280
Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology$179,400
Dental Anesthesiology$247,550

Related Job Salaries

JobAverage Annual Salary
Dental Assistants$42,510
Dental Sales Rep$62,890
Dental Hygienist$81,360
Dental Receptionist$38,660
Dental Laboratory Technician$47,320

10 Best Paying Cities for Dentists

CityAverage Annual Dentist Salary
Akron, Ohio$225,350
Vallejo-Fairfield, California$229,800
Medford, Oregon$220,430
Salinas, California$234,410
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California$221,210
Eugene, Oregon$228,750
Gainesville, Florida$222,690
Manchester, New Hampshire$276,510
New Haven, Connecticut$227,390
Portsmouth, New Hampshire-Maine$220,070

Immigrate to the US as a Dentist: Let’s Recap

Foreigners looking to work in the dentistry industry have a once-in-a-lifetime chance, thanks to the shortage of dentists in the United States. With a growing need for dental services and a steady and rewarding job market, the US dentistry industry is a compelling alternative for competent and ambitious immigrants. Additionally, by conquering the challenges of obtaining a dental license and pursuing a career in dentistry, immigrants can aid the US healthcare system.


As a foreign-educated dentist, you can get a DDS or DMD degree from a CODA-accredited institution in the United States by enrolling in an advanced standing program. An accelerated standing program permits students to earn their DDS or DMD degree in two to three years.

A job offer from a US business that needs a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specified field of study is required. A bachelor’s degree or higher in the subject of study is necessary for the position.

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