How Much Does A Dental School Cost?

With the growing awareness of the public on the importance of oral health, dentists are getting more and more in demand nowadays. This demand, in turn, is what makes dentistry a lucrative profession.

But before you could enjoy the benefits of such a promising career, you would first have to enter a university or a college that would equip you with all things dentistry.

With that said, just how much does dental school cost?

dentists working

Average Cost of Dental School

The average cost of dental school ranges from more than $21,500 to nearly $300,000 according to Getting the exact price, as stated on the website, would depend on the following factors:

  • The tuition rate for a dental school program. Each institution charges different rates, but for a general idea, the cost would be lower if you opt for a public college rather than a private institution.
  • Your location. Out-of-state students tend to pay higher fees than in-state ones.
  • Books, supplies, and instruments. The cost of such would vary based on the institution and the student’s year level.

Other fees that dentistry students are bound to face include housing, food, transportation, and other personal expenses. These fees would also affect how much you would pay to become a dentist.

Furthermore, you would have to pay fees for required exams such as the Dental Admission Test which costs $190 and the National Board Dental Exam which costs $260 for the first part and $340 for the second part.

Sample Prices

To get a better idea of the exact price to become a dentist, we would take a look at rates charged by some institutions.

For instance, the registration fee for a four-year DDS program offered by University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) costs $16,380 a year for a total of $67,320. The university also charges a professional school fee of US$25,368 each year or $101,472 for four years.

Furthermore, the university projected the cost of books, supplies, and instruments to run about $20,614 for the first year, $13,432 for the second year, $3,460 for the third year, and $3,795 for the fourth year, for a total of $41,301.

Adding up all these costs would bring us to a total price of $210,093 for a four-year DDS program at UCLA.

Aside from these costs, you would also have to consider fees for room and boarding, transportation, as well as personal expenses. If we factor in the said fees, an off-campus student would spend about $305,399 for the four-year program while a commuter student who is living with his/her family would pay about $258,705.

If you are a non-resident of California, you would have to add $12,245 to the registration fee per year. The professional school fee, on the other hand, would cost $22,173 each year which is lower compared to how much residents pay.   

Note that the total cost we included in this article does not include fees for summer classes that the university offers for second-year students and above.

Another institution, the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, charges an annual tuition fee of $58,050 for a total of $232,200 for a four-year DMD program. Factoring in additional school fees, board and room fees, travel fees, personal expenses, and loan fees would bring the total cost of attendance in Harvard at $90,586 for the first year, $108,211 for the second year, $107,434 for the third year, and $102,510 for the fourth year. Adding up all of that, the total price to become a dentist in Harvard is $408,741.

If you’re looking for lower costs, let’s take a look at the rates charged by the University of Texas, School of Dentistry at Houston. The said university says that they charge 31% less than the average tuition fees of other dental schools. For the specifics, here is a list of fees the institution charges for resident and non-resident students.

For Resident Students

Tuition Fees:

  • First Year $25,382
  • Second Year $19,382
  • Third Year $19,382
  • Fourth Year $19,382

Total Expenses:

  • First Year $66,549
  • Second Year $57,496
  • Third Year $30,974
  • Fourth Year $48,166

Total Cost of a 4-year DDS/DMD program: $286,713

For Non-Resident Students

Tuition Fees:

  • First Year $36,974
  • Second Year $30,974
  • Third Year $30,974
  • Fourth Year $30,974

Total Expenses:

  • First Year $78,141
  • Second Year $68,998
  • Third Year $63,684
  • Fourth Year $59,758

Total Cost of a 4-year DDS/DMD program: $400,477

Based on the above total costs, attending the dentistry school at the University of Texas would cost less for residents while non-residents would have to pay beyond the average cost.

Saving Costs

How much does dental school cost? Expensive, especially if you would not seek financial aid. Due to that, all institutions would suggest you apply for government assistance, scholarships, grants, work-study, and loans to shoulder the high expenses of studying dentistry.

To make the best out of these types of financial aid, you should search thoroughly for options that would incur less debt. That way, you would finish dental school and not experience too much stress caused by the pressure of having to pay your loans.

Also, if you indeed have to apply for a loan, do not borrow more than you need. Knowing how much dental school would cost you is easy as far as tuition and other school fees are concerned, thanks to lists of rates that are readily available online. With that said, you should consider more the needed budget for housing or boarding, transportation, and your personal expenses. Plan your budget based on what is only necessary and get a loan you could use to cover that.

Furthermore, you should formulate a plan on how you would pay your debts early on. A strategy of paying off your loans would likely keep you on track, saving you the pressure and anxiety. Also, rest assured that if you succeed, the paycheck of a dentist would be enough to repay your borrowed money faster than with other careers.

Spending on education could be a struggle. However, the rewards you would reap afterward would surely be worth all the money. Aside from a competitive income, the rewarding feeling of getting a patient to be grateful for your service is enough to offset all the expenses you had to endure to become a dentist.

Good luck on your future endeavors!

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