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How to Qualify for and Obtain Oral Surgery Jobs

Updated on January 30, 2012

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons work in a specific field of surgery and have different job qualifications than the typical medical surgeon. Those seeking a career in oral surgery should learn the specific education, training, and certification steps.

Unlike most surgeons, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon goes to dental school. A dental education allows for a fuller understanding of the anatomy and care necessary for this surgical job than would a medical education.

After dental school, a dentist gets involved in oral and maxillofacial surgery by completing a residency programs. The dental school will have information on how to apply for this surgical residency program.

Once those requirements are met, the dentist then needs to take a certification exam. The American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is the specialized certification board for these surgeons. The Board has a website that can be used to get information for preparing for this difficult exam. Certification makes it possible for an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to get far more jobs and also to do independent work in this specialized dental surgery field.

The American Dental Association accredits dental schools in the United States. As of September 2011, there were 62 schools for aspiring dentists to earn either a D.D.S. or D.M.D. degree. Both of these suffice to get get a dental license in the United States so long as exams and other state licensing requirements are met. There is a link in the Resources section of this article to find the full list of dental programs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that there were about 5,330 oral and maxillofacial surgery jobs in May of 2010. The average salary was an enormous $156,810. By far, the biggest employers are dentist offices. There are also some physician offices that hire or have oral surgeons as partners. A few hundred oral surgery jobs are also available in hospitals, colleges and universities, and outpatient care centers.

Resources:

American Dental Association List of Dental Schools

American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery FAQ's

Bureau of Labor Statistics Jobs and Salary for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

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