Feb 16, 2010
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I called several dental schools today to see if I could get some numbers on what their graduates are earning upon graduation. Not one school wanted to give me hard numbers. I'm a skeptical person by nature and this made me wonder if the reason why they wouldn't do that is because the numbers right now, for whatever reason (economy) weren't good at all. One lady googled something while we were talking and came back and reluctantly admitted that it could be as low as $50-60K per year "while you built up your client base, much like that of a hairdresser." I about dropped the phone. Has anyone seen actual numbers? Heck I could have googled it (and have), I know good and well those schools track that. I just can't imagine graduating with nearly $200K in debt and making 50-60, that is not worth it at all.
 

Rlow04

10+ Year Member
Feb 19, 2009
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www.SharedPractices.com
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Starting a dental practice is like starting any other business - your first five years are the hardest and you pay yourself only after you've paid all your overhead and expenses. It depends on if you have a good practice to take over or not. A graduating dental student with good connections can be making 100k+ right off the bat, but many graduates aren't that fortunate. It all depends on your situation - that's probably why you can't get a straight answer from schools.

A dentist I shadow told me that a few years back someone conducted a survey of dentists in their first five years of practice. They asked the dentists, "Knowing what you know now, would you make the same career choice?" 80% of the dentists said that they wouldn't.

They then asked that same question to dentists that have been in practice for more than five years. 80% said that they would make the same career choice.
 

BiomajorPreDent

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Dec 18, 2008
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This has been beaten to death you should have searched.

The average numbers put out by the most recent ADA survey is about 120k for an associate and 200k for an owner

Those numbers are for GP's. There are variations depending on skill level and location, but those are averages.
 
Jul 13, 2009
176
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Shebulba
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Pre-Dental
are you smoking rocks? That must have been the most uncomfortable phone call. Why would you ask that? Where are you from?

Disclaimer: I do not support the mentality of going into the dental field solely from a monetary standpoint.

That stated this is the government data on the subject. Here
Also take into account these statistics are taken from a pool of hired dentist which does not include self employed individuals. Self employed individuals being the majority of practicing dentist. So one could strictly speculate the majority of dentist used for this data are associates of other dentist and dentist working for nonprofit organizations.

"Estimates for detailed occupations do not sum to the totals because the totals include occupations not shown separately. Estimates do not include self-employed workers."
 

reallylostnow

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I couldn't have said it better myself biorenaissance.... Why would you call a school about that??? Why would a graduating dental student report how much they are earning to a school? or better yet, if graduates open their practice, how would they know how much they are earning and why would they call the school one year later to report their income?
 

Destiny11

7+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2010
691
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Pre-Dental
Someone is obviously in it for the money. What did you expect to get paid with no experience right out of dental school? Just to let you know, there are much easier ways to be rich.
 
OP
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Feb 16, 2010
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Get a clue, folks. I do have strong, non-monetary reasons for going into dentistry. But I am not going to shelve my (modest) lifestyle goals and retirement goals to do this. There has been plenty of posts on here and in the medicine side too that asked if medicine paid $40,000/year tops would you still do it? Many said no, especially if tuition, etc was still sky high.

Dental school education costs have at least kept pace with inflation (and in many cases exceeded it) over the past ten years. It's imprudent to enter any field where the price of entry is the cost of a home without checking to see what you will earn upon graduation. Especially since we are coming out of a brutal recession that has affected dentists and other health care providers.

Many schools do have surveys that graduates can use to anonymously report incomes. This is common to many fields. How would I know that dentistry didn't report without asking?

So don't give me your high horse bullsh*t.
 
Aug 27, 2009
64
1
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Pre-Dental
adam123, I think most people just found it odd that you would call several schools for this information; Its just not valuable information. Salaries are dependent on several factors, including location, skill, business sense, etc. For example, at NYU, most of their graduates may work in NYC or the tristate area where dental work is much more expensive than say, VA. So NYU's average salary could be 180k, whereas VCU's average could be 120k. That tells me nothing about the school.

If you consider yourself an average person, expect an average salary.

Education is an investment and like all investments, there are no guarantees it will pay off. However, by investing in yourself you greatly increase your chances at being successful.

FYI...I left my 65k dollar/year job as an engineer, where I enjoyed company paid trips to Hawaii, San Diego, Seattle...where I had to work of course, but still cool trips, in order to pursue dentistry. Could I have made 120k/year with my engineering career by the time it takes me to complete my DDS...probably. But as you'll learn one day, money itself truly isn't everything (I know you're not saying its everything, but you kind of insinuate that).

Sorry, I kind of rambled, but bottom line is, if you really want to be a dentist and you think you'll truly enjoy the occupation, then I'm confident, success (money) will follow.
 

AmpedUp

The Legend Still Lives
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Dec 1, 2009
657
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One step at a time grasshopper :) . It's way too early to worry about salary. Find what you like first and then capitalize on it. It doesn't matter what you want to become (e.g. an engineer, psychologist, accountant, chemist/biologist/physicist, etc.). If you're GOOD at it, "money" or success will enter the picture. It all starts with being honest to yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. Sorry for the lecture! It's for your own conscience. Take what you want from my 2 cents.
 
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Feb 16, 2010
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adam123, I think most people just found it odd that you would call several schools for this information; Its just not valuable information. Salaries are dependent on several factors, including location, skill, business sense, etc. For example, at NYU, most of their graduates may work in NYC or the tristate area where dental work is much more expensive than say, VA. So NYU's average salary could be 180k, whereas VCU's average could be 120k. That tells me nothing about the school.

If you consider yourself an average person, expect an average salary.

Education is an investment and like all investments, there are no guarantees it will pay off. However, by investing in yourself you greatly increase your chances at being successful.

FYI...I left my 65k dollar/year job as an engineer, where I enjoyed company paid trips to Hawaii, San Diego, Seattle...where I had to work of course, but still cool trips, in order to pursue dentistry. Could I have made 120k/year with my engineering career by the time it takes me to complete my DDS...probably. But as you'll learn one day, money itself truly isn't everything (I know you're not saying its everything, but you kind of insinuate that).

Sorry, I kind of rambled, but bottom line is, if you really want to be a dentist and you think you'll truly enjoy the occupation, then I'm confident, success (money) will follow.
I appreciate your reply. I do, though, disagree with you on whether or not the information is valuable and I have a problem with it being implied that money is everything. I am probably as old as you are so please don't say "you'll learn..." I've seen plenty of people younger than me jump into careers and actually get into professional schools because the state of the economy has made people desperate to get into those so-called 'secure, high paying jobs.' They don't scoff at all at the student loan debt they will incur, because as several have told me, "I know I'll have a good job upon graduation." That's naive. The schools know that people are thinking this way now more than ever and I believe that is why tuition has outpaced inflation by a wide margin. My wife and I were talking about it and both of us expressed dismay about the blind faith that folks have in the job market on the other side of graduate/professional school. We ourselves have friends who graduated from nursing school, who thought nothing of incurring large amounts of debt to do so because nursing has been sold as a recession proof job, yet for many, it has not turned out to be that way. It's very difficult in many parts of the country to get a nursing job as a new grad. Life as we know it is full of bubbles and I feel bad for those who get caught around them when they burst.

What bothered me most though was the nose-in-the-air assumptions above that I was in it for the money and to get rich. I couldn't care less about being rich. What I do care about is being able to pay back my loans in a reasonable amount of time and still have a decent lifestyle. It's not prudent to jump in first and ask questions later. Not with $200K on the line. I know what it's like to be without dental insurance and to be embarrassed about a cavity. My interest in dentistry has far more to do with helping people in that capacity than with building my bank account. I shouldn't have to list all these disclaimers before being flamed on here. It's the height of ignorance to jump to conclusions which is what many did.

But, that is their right to be ignorant about things. I'll say this: there are those who will enter medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, etc. at any cost and without little or any regard to the costs of doing so. And maybe those people are better than me. Yet I am repeating myself once again in saying that it is imprudent to enter a field that could very well have a cost of entry around $200,000 without having a good idea of what you can earn and how long it will take you to pay it off.

As a side note, one of the consequences of this recession has been that banks are tightening up their lending standards. Good luck getting a loan to buy a $150,000 house (which is conservative in many parts of the country) if you have a $200,000 student loan and make less than $100,000. Maybe 2-3 years ago but not now.

I respect your decision to leave your job and do dentistry.
 
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OP
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Feb 16, 2010
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One step at a time grasshopper :) . It's way too early to worry about salary. Find what you like first and then capitalize on it. It doesn't matter what you want to become (e.g. an engineer, psychologist, accountant, chemist/biologist/physicist, etc.). If you're GOOD at it, "money" or success will enter the picture. It all starts with being honest to yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. Sorry for the lecture! It's for your own conscience. Take what you want from my 2 cents.
I have to respectfully disagree with that. It's never too early to be concerned with salary. Maybe it's my age (I'm not "that" old but older still) but being "good" at something only goes so far. It really resembles the "diminishing returns" we all learned about, some of us years ago. You can only be so good at something. Take computer programming for an example. Lots of people know how to program. But how many people are good enough at it to work for, say, Microsoft, and even there, in a high level capacity? It's a lot easier to distinguish yourself at a start-up than it is at Microsoft because at that level, you are already surrounded by brilliant people. You can work as hard as you want to there but that doesn't mean you'll ever out-do anybody there.

I told my wife that the optimal time to enter a field such as dentistry or medicine has probably come and gone. Consider the factors such as competition, declining insurance reimbursements, competition to get into school, etc. and it's hard to disagree with that premise. Everyone in my family is a health care professional. Yet when I ask doctors if they would encourage people to follow in their footsteps, most say no, they'd recommend PA, etc. Yet have you seen the acceptance rates for PA school? I'm sure many on here have and in many cases, it's < 10% and in some cases closer to 5%. While some may have other motives in saying so, their statement isn't unreasonable on the face of it. On the competition side, in some places it is harder to get into pharmacy school than medical school. Upon graduation, for dentists, the competition is worse. One of the first things a person in a new city seeking a dentist may see is your website. Many have sites but some do not. But there's only a finite number of people who design websites (read, they overlap and build for multiple professionals) and a website can only be so good. Taken in totality, these are not things that had to be dealt with 10-20 years ago.

My own opinion, which I freely admit may be wrong, is that in dentistry the margin for separating yourself is narrower than in the computer programming example I cited. In any given city, there's probably plenty of dentists who can do high quality work along with plenty who do crappy work. But once you are in that upper tier, separating yourself becomes much harder. People don't evaluate you solely on your work. Even the most amenable receptionist can turn certain hard to please people off. Maybe someone has a nicer office. Maybe people don't like the music you play. It can be anything beyond the quality of work that you do. So while I accept the overall premise that being good is a prerequisite, it only goes so far. In other words, being "good" encompasses much more than the skills they teach in dental school and a great deal of it is outside of your control. So if you accept that premise, you have to accept that a great deal of your salary is outside of your control. Simply put, there's only so much you can do and it may not be enough to pay off your loans in a reasonable amount of time.

To ramble on a bit... About ten years ago, when I would go to a dentist, optometrist, etc., I'd never get a follow up call asking how I was doing. Now, I get those from my veterinarian for our pets. That's what makes me think that little things like that influence a client base as much or probably even more than the quality of work the doctor did. All it takes is being at a cocktail party and someone raving about how their dentist, etc called to check on them after a filling and someone in the group who didn't receive similar treatment from theirs starts to become jealous. The quality of the work may be the same and maybe even the dentist who called perhaps did slightly inferior work when compared with the other dentist. That can be enough to trigger moving to a new doc. But now, it seems like everyone calls, so we're back to my original (rhetorical) question of how do you distinguish yourself among the top? I suspect that it's probably difficult and maybe impossible to do because just when you figure out something the others aren't doing, they learn about it and start to do it too. That's game theory, my friends, and it's why it is so much harder to win now than it was even just 10-20 years ago.
 
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AmpedUp

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You're probably same person that believes appearance is better than personality lol. That sure is average.

I just wrote that if you actually believe in yourself in whatever you do, you'll have both "appearance" and "personality" in one basket.

Sure. Tuition is quite bothersome to look at; and if that's a concern, you've met the wrong career choice. However, as some people have suggested and what I've been TRYING to communicate with you, you'll get a return on your investment in the long-run. You have to spend money to make money (literally and contextually). It's a business, too. Whether you think it's worth it is your own call. The salary is up there for all to see. And if you're an average person with average expectations, your answer is right in front of you.

It's not a matter of who is correct or incorrect. This is your life and decisions to make; not mines or any other SDN members. IMO You're wrong to infer that salary > career choice. I can list some examples to match my logic, but it would not matter to you. You have your own philosophies (that I hope work) and I'm pretty sure you cling tightly to them (as evidenced by your post). BTW, That's not a bad thing.
 
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You're probably same person that believes appearance is better than personality lol. That sure is average.

I just wrote that if you actually believe in yourself in whatever you do, you'll have both "appearance" and "personality" in one basket.

Sure. Tuition is quite bothersome to look at; and if that's a concern, you've met the wrong career choice. However, as some people have suggested and what I've been TRYING to communicate with you, you'll get a return on your investment in the long-run. You have to spend money to make money (literally and contextually). It's a business, too. Whether you think it's worth it is your own call. The salary is up there for all to see. And if you're an average person with average expectations, your answer is right in front of you.

It's not a matter of who is correct or incorrect. This is your life and decisions to make; not mines or any other SDN members. IMO You're wrong to infer that salary > career choice. I can list some examples to match my logic, but it would not matter to you. You have your own philosophies (that I hope work) and I'm pretty sure you cling tightly to them (as evidenced by your post). BTW, That's not a bad thing.
I don't believe that salary is always more important than career choice. Not true. But there is a point beyond which, for me anyways, it is and $200,000 for dental school falls beyond that point. There's lots of things I'd love to do. But even though I have no kids, I am married and even though she has a good job, I cannot just do whatever I want. So it's fair to say I have considerations that other younger members on here do not have.

I do believe that the return on your dental school investment exists - after all, if it didn't, hardly anyone would do it. But there is a point at which tuition can diminish your ROI. Fifteen years ago, or maybe even ten, we were a lot farther away from that point than we are now. I know not a single dentist who has told me that their incomes have kept pace with the rate of tuition increases. My own personal dentist has expressed anger at how much it costs to go now and he didn't go to school in the seventies either. Everyone likes to throw around the ROI term but have people really calculated it? It's a complex calculation. I'll admit that I haven't. But, my guess is that as you go up in tuition, even with a good salary, you'd have to work well beyond your sixtieth birthday to get the numbers you want.

Maybe because it's late but I do not follow the appearance/personality thing you are talking about. But that's okay.
 

AmpedUp

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I don't believe that salary is always more important than career choice. Not true. But there is a point beyond which, for me anyways, it is and $200,000 for dental school falls beyond that point. There's lots of things I'd love to do. But even though I have no kids, I am married and even though she has a good job, I cannot just do whatever I want. So it's fair to say I have considerations that other younger members on here do not have.

I do believe that the return on your dental school investment exists - after all, if it didn't, hardly anyone would do it. But there is a point at which tuition can diminish your ROI. Fifteen years ago, or maybe even ten, we were a lot farther away from that point than we are now. I know not a single dentist who has told me that their incomes have kept pace with the rate of tuition increases. My own personal dentist has expressed anger at how much it costs to go now and he didn't go to school in the seventies either.

Maybe because it's late but I do not follow the appearance/personality thing you are talking about. But that's okay.
It's another "average" joke ;)

I've looked into the tuition issue and I know exactly what I'm going to do to pay it off. But I'll leave that up to you to research, because it is a quest for the truth from here-on-out.

But honestly, maybe you should start to look outside the box if financial security is an issue, being that dental school has a high price tag. With a wife and all, it will be frustrating - I'm sure. Finance and Accounting would come to my mind. You can make a killing in those careers if you work really hard.
 

AllIn4Dental

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Feb 23, 2010
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WOw intense discussion, I see where both sides are coming from.. It probably wasnt a good idea to call dental school about this becuase when it might be a red flag..I know what your getting at however, the economy is bad and you dont want to have to wait 5 years after school to buy a house and then 20 more to pay off your debt.....But really , that shouldnt be the deciding factor on becoming a dentist ..I Think if you like science and dealing with people everyday then becoming a dentist is what you should pursue, no matter what the stats say or the "horror" stories you read. Theres alot of people out there that jump into dentistry without thinking it thru, those are the people that have trouble with money , you know what im saying?

Look at it this way, if a dental school told you that 95% of their graduates are making over 200k and the rest are below 100k, would you strive to become a dentist... My feeling is that the 5 percent that "jump" into it for the money are the ones that make the least.. I dont know , just trying to help
 

CaptainSSO

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Jan 29, 2010
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It's another "average" joke ;)

I've looked into the tuition issue and I know exactly what I'm going to do to pay it off. But I'll leave that up to you to research, because it is a quest for the truth from here-on-out.

But honestly, maybe you should start to look outside the box if financial security is an issue, being that dental school has a high price tag. With a wife and all, it will be frustrating - I'm sure. Finance and Accounting would come to my mind. You can make a killing in those careers if you work really hard.
What is it with pre-health students trying to dissuade other pre-health students from going to professional school? I have never seen this with other programs--for instance, people I have met who are planning on going to graduate school for biology all encourage and support one another.
 

AmpedUp

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What is it with pre-health students trying to dissuade other pre-health students from going to professional school? I have never seen this with other programs--for instance, people I have met who are planning on going to graduate school for biology all encourage and support one another.
Tuition price tags.
 
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Feb 16, 2010
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WOw intense discussion, I see where both sides are coming from.. It probably wasnt a good idea to call dental school about this becuase when it might be a red flag..I know what your getting at however, the economy is bad and you dont want to have to wait 5 years after school to buy a house and then 20 more to pay off your debt.....But really , that shouldnt be the deciding factor on becoming a dentist ..I Think if you like science and dealing with people everyday then becoming a dentist is what you should pursue, no matter what the stats say or the "horror" stories you read. Theres alot of people out there that jump into dentistry without thinking it thru, those are the people that have trouble with money , you know what im saying?

Look at it this way, if a dental school told you that 95% of their graduates are making over 200k and the rest are below 100k, would you strive to become a dentist... My feeling is that the 5 percent that "jump" into it for the money are the ones that make the least.. I dont know , just trying to help
I don't regret calling the schools. If they think that I am in it for the money, that is their choice. We all know what the average salary is for dentists according to the ADA, etc. What isn't known is what you can really make in this environment fresh out of school. Call me crazy but I think schools don't want you to think about it. Sign up and ask questions later. Just because it's a dental school or med school and not the University of Phoenix doesn't mean they don't have the same profit objective, even if they are non-profit. It sounds like a lot of people on here buy into that.

To answer your question, if a school told me that, I'd expect that I would have a reasonable chance of paying off my loans in a decent amount of time and I could go into it without too many worries in that regard.

Look, I'm done. You guys can talk about nobility and entering professions for altruistic reasons, etc. It was a judgment call on my part that I am comfortable with. Disagree or agree with it all you want. I got an answer and now I'll weigh everything. It's probably a long shot anyways.
 
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May 13, 2009
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Someone is obviously in it for the money. What did you expect to get paid with no experience right out of dental school? Just to let you know, there are much easier ways to be rich.
Such as? Could ANYONE list some occupations that provide the same if not better income, autonomy, job security, independence, lifestyle and career options as dentistry for a new college graduate?
 
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NCToothDr

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Adam123, I understand your perspective regarding the economy and repaying the debt incurred by going to dental school. I am an older (non traditional) applicant myself, and I agree that it is smart to see a bigger picture. But, I think that you would find better salary information by visiting the ADA website, talking to local dentists that you've developed relationships with, searching for current DDS openings in your area (many will have a starting salary posted), etc. You can also look into creative financing - ie. rural health loans that offer $ in exchange for working in a under served area.

I would venture to guess that the $50,000-$60,000 number you were given was for graduates opening their own practice just out of school. It is difficult to do so, but the long term payoff is nice.

No one knows how dentistry (or any profession, for that matter) will change in the future. So I agree with others, it's an investment. For me the benefits out weigh the negatives. There are so many things about dentistry that I love, beyond the salary. So for me it was the only decision. My husband and I plan to take a set back in our lifestyle for the next four years (or maybe even longer) in exchange for something that makes me happy. I plan to keep my debt to a minimum and have faith that it will work out in the long run.

Best of luck with your decision. I don't think your greedy, but being smart. I hope you find what makes you happy.



Best advice I was given: "Loan money is not lottery money."
 
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Adam123, I understand your perspective regarding the economy and repaying the debt incurred by going to dental school. I am an older (non traditional) applicant myself, and I agree that it is smart to see a bigger picture. But, I think that you would find better salary information by visiting the ADA website, talking to local dentists that you've developed relationships with, searching for current DDS openings in your area (many will have a starting salary posted), etc. You can also look into creative financing - ie. rural health loans that offer $ in exchange for working in a under served area.

I would venture to guess that the $50,000-$60,000 number you were given was for graduates opening their own practice just out of school. It is difficult to do so, but the long term payoff is nice.

No one knows how dentistry (or any profession, for that matter) will change in the future. So I agree with others, it's an investment. For me the benefits out weigh the negatives. There are so many things about dentistry that I love, beyond the salary. So for me it was the only decision. My husband and I plan to take a set back in our lifestyle for the next four years (or maybe even longer) in exchange for something that makes me happy. I plan to keep my debt to a minimum and have faith that it will work out in the long run.

Best of luck with your decision. I don't think your greedy, but being smart. I hope you find what makes you happy.



Best advice I was given: "Loan money is not lottery money."
Thanks, I appreciate that! Best of luck to you.
 
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Aug 27, 2009
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adam123,

I didn't mean my earlier response to be a personal attack, I apologize if you took it that way. I do understand your fear of taking on the debt and wanting to ensure you'll be earning enough to pay it off. I understand you don't think money is everything and I didn't mean to offend you by saying "you'll learn"--that was my bad-haha. I was alluding to the fact that I was 25 yrs old, making good money, but still felt like it wasn't fulfilling. As a dentist, I will be my own boss, making my own hours and more in control of my career...rather than climbing a corporate ladder. Those are some of the add'l reasons I decided to leave my engineering path even though, I enjoyed it. Like you, I feel there are many things I enjoy and can be "good" at..I guess I'm just a renaissance man-haha-j/k

Anyhow, I personally just have confidence that if I learn what I'm supposed to learn in dental school that I will be able to repay my loans and live comfortably. We can only make the best decision based with the information we have at the time. For me, seeing that average associate salaries are 6 figure and seeing job listings showing 6 figure starting salaries is enough for me to assume I have a good chance at starting out with 6 figs. Also, seeing that a dentist I worked for here in VA brought in about around 6k daily revenue, lead me to believe even in a recession people are taking care of their teeth.

Also, when I said I didn't think it was "valuable information" I meant that I don't think where you go to school plays a role in your salary; which is why I wouldn't ask a school that information.

Additionally, I disagree with your thoughts on profit's related to non-profit schools. Of course a non profit school has overhead and operating budgets they have to maintain (so yes, they need to increase tuition prices), but I like to believe that money goes back into benefiting the student; either through better professors, facilities or programs. The premise that the profits go back into the university is a large reason for-profit schools can't compete with non-profits in the long run (in terms of providing a quality education).

You probably won't read this b/c you've been attacked so much, but best of luck to you, whatever you decide to pursue!
 
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adam123,

I didn't mean my earlier response to be a personal attack, I apologize if you took it that way. I do understand your fear of taking on the debt and wanting to ensure you'll be earning enough to pay it off. I understand you don't think money is everything and I didn't mean to offend you by saying "you'll learn"--that was my bad-haha. I was alluding to the fact that I was 25 yrs old, making good money, but still felt like it wasn't fulfilling. As a dentist, I will be my own boss, making my own hours and more in control of my career...rather than climbing a corporate ladder. Those are some of the add'l reasons I decided to leave my engineering path even though, I enjoyed it. Like you, I feel there are many things I enjoy and can be "good" at..I guess I'm just a renaissance man-haha-j/k

Anyhow, I personally just have confidence that if I learn what I'm supposed to learn in dental school that I will be able to repay my loans and live comfortably. We can only make the best decision based with the information we have at the time. For me, seeing that average associate salaries are 6 figure and seeing job listings showing 6 figure starting salaries is enough for me to assume I have a good chance at starting out with 6 figs. Also, seeing that a dentist I worked for here in VA brought in about around 6k daily revenue, lead me to believe even in a recession people are taking care of their teeth.

Also, when I said I didn't think it was "valuable information" I meant that I don't think where you go to school plays a role in your salary; which is why I wouldn't ask a school that information.

Additionally, I disagree with your thoughts on profit's related to non-profit schools. Of course a non profit school has overhead and operating budgets they have to maintain (so yes, they need to increase tuition prices), but I like to believe that money goes back into benefiting the student; either through better professors, facilities or programs. The premise that the profits go back into the university is a large reason for-profit schools can't compete with non-profits in the long run (in terms of providing a quality education).

You probably won't read this b/c you've been attacked so much, but best of luck to you, whatever you decide to pursue!
Hey, I appreciate your reply. My level of anger was due to folks, not necessarily you, who jumped to conclusions and tried to impugn my motives. The level of vitriol is silly. When I was young, I was probably idealistic too. The problem is that banks don't accept checks drawn on the accounts of idealism, no matter how deep they are. My wife read the comments and she was about to fall over from laughing so hard.

If other folks comments are representative of the quality of discourse on this site, I may just not post anymore.
 
Sep 5, 2009
312
0
Claremont, CA
Status
Dental Student
Hey, I appreciate your reply. My level of anger was due to folks, not necessarily you, who jumped to conclusions and tried to impugn my motives. The level of vitriol is silly. When I was young, I was probably idealistic too. The problem is that banks don't accept checks drawn on the accounts of idealism, no matter how deep they are. My wife read the comments and she was about to fall over from laughing so hard.

If other folks comments are representative of the quality of discourse on this site, I may just not post anymore.
Sounds good:laugh:
 

SeattleRDH

Moderator Emeritus
Mar 10, 2010
888
3
Duh
Status
adam123,
The reason why I went into dental hygiene is because my dad (who's a dentist) advised me to do so. I was 26 when I started hygiene school and was very worried about going deep into debt also. I make great money. In Seattle the average wage is $45 an hour largely due to our wider scope of practice. But I've decided to go on to dental school because I'm not happy as a mid-level provider. I went through the cost/benefit ratio of staying with my career versus going further in my education and found that it will take about 10-15 years before I break even. So after I graduate dental school I'll be pushing 50 before I see the financial fruits of my labor.

It's a tough decision. The more you prepare for post-graduation life, the better off you'll be. When I first graduated hygiene school I interviewed at a temp agency to start the job search. About a third of my interview group had just graduated dental school and were there for the hygiene orientation. They were in the same pool as me for temp hygiene jobs. I felt so bad for them being overqualified! (Many dentists I talked to preferred hygienists over dentists when they needed a temp).

So it's all about having a plan. Go to the least expensive school. Consider the HPSP scholarship or a public health loan forgivness program. Or go to an area where there are more dentists retiring than moving there. Start building a relationship now with a dentist who you think will be retiring a few years after you graduate. Have them hire you as an associate and slowly let them phase out while you take over (and buy) the practice.

You can do it. You just have to make it happen.
 

SeattleRDH

Moderator Emeritus
Mar 10, 2010
888
3
Duh
Status
Hey, I appreciate your reply. My level of anger was due to folks, not necessarily you, who jumped to conclusions and tried to impugn my motives. The level of vitriol is silly. When I was young, I was probably idealistic too. The problem is that banks don't accept checks drawn on the accounts of idealism, no matter how deep they are. My wife read the comments and she was about to fall over from laughing so hard.

If other folks comments are representative of the quality of discourse on this site, I may just not post anymore.
Some people on SDN are very mean but not all of us!

I was talking to my friend yesterday about this because it suprises me also. She said that this is how people are on online forums - they're just nasty to each other. I don't know, maybe I'm too old to understand since we didn't have these sites when I was the average age of these pre-dents. Nonetheless, I'm still on here and trying to be as positive as I can.

Don't give up on us!
 
OP
A
Feb 16, 2010
18
0
Status
Some people on SDN are very mean but not all of us!

I was talking to my friend yesterday about this because it suprises me also. She said that this is how people are on online forums - they're just nasty to each other. I don't know, maybe I'm too old to understand since we didn't have these sites when I was the average age of these pre-dents. Nonetheless, I'm still on here and trying to be as positive as I can.

Don't give up on us!
Where were you guys yesterday? :)
 
OP
A
Feb 16, 2010
18
0
Status
adam123,
The reason why I went into dental hygiene is because my dad (who's a dentist) advised me to do so. I was 26 when I started hygiene school and was very worried about going deep into debt also. I make great money. In Seattle the average wage is $45 an hour largely due to our wider scope of practice. But I've decided to go on to dental school because I'm not happy as a mid-level provider. I went through the cost/benefit ratio of staying with my career versus going further in my education and found that it will take about 10-15 years before I break even. So after I graduate dental school I'll be pushing 50 before I see the financial fruits of my labor.

It's a tough decision. The more you prepare for post-graduation life, the better off you'll be. When I first graduated hygiene school I interviewed at a temp agency to start the job search. About a third of my interview group had just graduated dental school and were there for the hygiene orientation. They were in the same pool as me for temp hygiene jobs. I felt so bad for them being overqualified! (Many dentists I talked to preferred hygienists over dentists when they needed a temp).

So it's all about having a plan. Go to the least expensive school. Consider the HPSP scholarship or a public health loan forgivness program. Or go to an area where there are more dentists retiring than moving there. Start building a relationship now with a dentist who you think will be retiring a few years after you graduate. Have them hire you as an associate and slowly let them phase out while you take over (and buy) the practice.

You can do it. You just have to make it happen.
I had strongly considered hygiene but I was hearing that the market is really flooded, perhaps even to the extent of nursing. Is this true in your area?
 

AmpedUp

The Legend Still Lives
7+ Year Member
Dec 1, 2009
657
6
Status
Dentist
Hey Adam123,

I don't usually write apologies to anyone on SDN, because I don't regret expressing or defending an opinion, but if my opinion/posts did offend you then that makes me feel very guilty. But honestly, if you're dissatisfied with rising tuition prices (reflected everywhere) and want to go to dental school, some sacrifices have to be made. Make an appointment with a financial counselor or something to look over your situation so that you can implement the best plan to handle and pay off the debt. If your wife works and you have some money saved up, you can surely bear SOME of the costs (especially if you can make cuts somewhere in your budget). Like I said, if you have a strong desire, don't get angry at the tuition bill. It'll be right there on paper and if you don't have the right attitude, and I don't mean this to be rude, you have no one else but yourself to blame (partly - some of it could be politically influenced). But like everyone has mentioned, dentistry is a greatly rewarding field and you don't necessarily have to go into private practice to make a GREAT living. I know I won't for the first couple of years. Very few people do nowadays.

Again, I apologize for the dry sarcasm and if you ever want to chat about anything, PM me. We're here to help and support one another. I'm definitely NOT a mean person. In real life this would've been a fun and enjoyable discussion, because (you have to remember) that a majority part of communication is nonverbal (e.g. facial and gestures). The personal attacks weren't intended. The "average" jokes were just miscommunicated. I go by the philosophy that if you strive for average you're not doing good enough - try harder (but not to the point of exhaustion of course). It's just that when someone raises issues like this, they are red flags for me and others to question desire and commitment. That's all. And someone mentioned on here that I'm trying to dissuade you from going into dentistry. Now that was quite presumptive. I'm here to help and support (go look at my older posts) and I want the same from others.

Can we be friends? :D
 
OP
A
Feb 16, 2010
18
0
Status
Hey Adam123,

I don't usually write apologies to anyone on SDN, because I don't regret expressing or defending an opinion, but if my opinion/posts did offend you then that makes me feel very guilty. But honestly, if you're dissatisfied with rising tuition prices (reflected everywhere) and want to go to dental school, some sacrifices have to be made. Make an appointment with a financial counselor or something to look over your situation so that you can implement the best plan to handle and pay off the debt. If your wife works and you have some money saved up, you can surely bear SOME of the costs (especially if you can make cuts somewhere in your budget). Like I said, if you have a strong desire, don't get angry at the tuition bill. It'll be right there on paper and if you don't have the right attitude, and I don't mean this to be rude, you have no one else but yourself to blame (partly - some of it could be politically influenced). But like everyone has mentioned, dentistry is a greatly rewarding field and you don't necessarily have to go into private practice to make a GREAT living. I know I won't for the first couple of years. Very few people do nowadays.

Again, I apologize for the dry sarcasm and if you ever want to chat about anything, PM me. We're here to help and support one another. I'm definitely NOT a mean person. In real life this would've been a fun and enjoyable discussion, because (you have to remember) that a majority part of communication is nonverbal (e.g. facial and gestures). The personal attacks weren't intended. The "average" jokes were just miscommunicated. I go by the philosophy that if you strive for average you're not doing good enough - try harder (but not to the point of exhaustion of course). It's just that when someone raises issues like this, they are red flags for me and others to question desire and commitment. That's all. And someone mentioned on here that I'm trying to dissuade you from going into dentistry. Now that was quite presumptive. I'm here to help and support (go look at my older posts) and I want the same from others.

Can we be friends? :D
I appreciate that. My questions/concerns were driven by the fact that I am older and therefore have less time to work than some of the younger, more traditional applicants. This means less time to pay off loans, pay off our house loan, and still put money towards retirement. That was the sole reason for my questions/concerns about the costs. So anyways, no hard feelings on this end either.
 
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AmpedUp

The Legend Still Lives
7+ Year Member
Dec 1, 2009
657
6
Status
Dentist
I appreciate that. My questions/concerns were driven by the fact that I am older and therefore have less time to work than some of the younger, more traditional applicants. That is the sole reason for my questions/concerns about the costs. So anyways, no hard feelings on this end either.
Cool!
*shakes hands*

I think you're ahead of the curve by financial standing. If not, there's always financial aid and subsidized loans. But honestly, I think you will be able to absorb the cost of dental school better than I would as of now (I assume), because you can probably consolidate the debt with all the other things you have to pay for. Personally, I have no income as of now and I saved up very little while in college. Thankfully tuition was paid off (paid my last installment yesterday)...but truth is I worry too at accumulating debt and having no job at the same time.
 
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xhamburgersamx

10+ Year Member
Jun 26, 2008
657
0
Status
Dental Student
Well my buddy just got an associate position in saturated southern california for $450 per day or 27% of collections minus lab. He's 1 year out of dental school.
 
OP
A
Feb 16, 2010
18
0
Status
Well my buddy just got an associate position in saturated southern california for $450 per day or 27% of collections minus lab. He's 1 year out of dental school.
That's not bad. COL is high in SoCal though. Did he have to choose between the flat rate or the collections? Or is it the higher of the two? Not sure how that works.
 

SeattleRDH

Moderator Emeritus
Mar 10, 2010
888
3
Duh
Status
I had strongly considered hygiene but I was hearing that the market is really flooded, perhaps even to the extent of nursing. Is this true in your area?
I've never had a problem getting a job. The thing with hygiene is that it is the PERFECT job for a working mom so there are a lot of us working part time. The average length of career is less than 15 years, though, and you might want to investigate why this is so. Check out this salary survey: http://www.dentalconnections.com/ApplicantSurveyHygienist.aspx

Think about this: what do you not like about your current career?

As for me, I don't like that I have to carry out other people's diagnoses. I also want to work for myself. Private practice dental hygiene doesn't work (too large overhead). It will be a long time before a nurse practitioner equivalent (ADHP) comes into existence. If ever.

So, you might find (like me) that you have to go back to school again to get your dream job.
 

xhamburgersamx

10+ Year Member
Jun 26, 2008
657
0
Status
Dental Student
That's not bad. COL is high in SoCal though. Did he have to choose between the flat rate or the collections? Or is it the higher of the two? Not sure how that works.
Whichever is higher by month, not per day. SO basically, he can't just work super duper hard a few days per month and then slack the rest and take home the better of the two per day - following? It's a good job in a good enviorment. The only drawbacks is that it's a 4 days/week job hence it's not full time (40 hours/wk).
 

coolfez

Removed
Mar 20, 2010
99
1
Status
I don't see why everyone is all up on arms about Adam123 asking about how much a dentist earns.

And lets be realistic, most people who want to be a dentist, the salary is part of the perk. If not, I dare you to become a dentist, take home just enough to live on and have a used car and a rental apartment and donate the rest to charity (or give it to me).

I don't think the 60K number is accurate. I mean, dental hygienists make that much money with only 2 years of trade school! I would recommend working as an associate and learn the business side of things. My parents own a restaurant, and my dad worked in a restaurant for a couple years to know the inner workings. I feel it is the same thing, since running a restaurant is more than just cooking food, same with having a dental practice, there is more to success than treating teeth.
 
OP
A
Feb 16, 2010
18
0
Status
I don't have any desire to open my own practice, or at least certainly when I'm fresh out of school. As long as I was part of a good practice, that sounds fine to me.
 

armorshell

One Man Freak Show
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Apr 12, 2006
7,173
238
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Non-Student
Seems like a pretty good deal to me.
It's more of a 'meh' deal. 27% of collections minus full lab costs is about 10% lower than what you'd see if you were starting out outside of a uber saturated area. One of my classmates has 2 $170k+/year guaranteed offers for their first year out, and I'm sure metropolitan Missouri is a decent place to live.
 

armorshell

One Man Freak Show
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Apr 12, 2006
7,173
238
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The only weird thing I saw about this thread is that you thought dental schools would have this information.
 
May 12, 2009
123
0
NJ
Status
Dental Student
I have to defend Adam a bit here. Trying to get a good idea of what your going to make upon graduation is a huge deal because at bare minimum you have to pay off your student loans.

I was running the numbers on loans for a private school and my conclusion is that if your don't make at least $100K your going to have a hard time.

A lot of private schools will leave you with a $320K bill. If you want to pay that off in ten years the total cost with interest is about $540,000. Thats going to leave you with payments over $50,000 a year just to cover you loans. These are my approximate numbers as I have done the math in an Excel that I am not looking at, but i think it just goes to show that looking to make over 100K starting as a dentist isn't about getting rich. Its about paying your loan off while living an average salary. If someone only made $70,000 a year and had to pay off $50,000 in loans a year they are going to have an extremely hard time getting by. Asking about the money isn't always about trying to get rich its about trying to make sure you will be able to get out of you debt.
 
May 13, 2009
440
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I have to defend Adam a bit here. Trying to get a good idea of what your going to make upon graduation is a huge deal because at bare minimum you have to pay off your student loans.

I was running the numbers on loans for a private school and my conclusion is that if your don't make at least $100K your going to have a hard time.

A lot of private schools will leave you with a $320K bill. If you want to pay that off in ten years the total cost with interest is about $540,000. Thats going to leave you with payments over $50,000 a year just to cover you loans. These are my approximate numbers as I have done the math in an Excel that I am not looking at, but i think it just goes to show that looking to make over 100K starting as a dentist isn't about getting rich. Its about paying your loan off while living an average salary. If someone only made $70,000 a year and had to pay off $50,000 in loans a year they are going to have an extremely hard time getting by. Asking about the money isn't always about trying to get rich its about trying to make sure you will be able to get out of you debt.
:thumbup:

It's called being a realist. Money is what's going to support you and your family. Considering the amount of money and time one invests in their dental career, salary is damn important. I hate people who get on others because they're thinking about salary :rolleyes:
 
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Oracle DMD

Chuck NOracle DMD
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jul 29, 2008
1,142
12
San Diego
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Dentist
It's more of a 'meh' deal. 27% of collections minus full lab costs is about 10% lower than what you'd see if you were starting out outside of a uber saturated area. One of my classmates has 2 $170k+/year guaranteed offers for their first year out, and I'm sure metropolitan Missouri is a decent place to live.
27% collections sounds like a nightmare. if you get paid based on production than you control how much you make with your schedule being the only regulating factor. if you're based on collections than you introduce all kinds of other barriers. 1) what you produce 2) what the owner's front office collect 3) courtesy write offs for cash payments or different insurances 4) payment processing (some people will have you do the work but write a check to the office which gets deposited under the owners column instead of yours which = no collections for you)
 

dentalWorks

Nights Watchmen
10+ Year Member
Jun 25, 2009
5,646
158
Sterling Hts, Mi
Status
Dentist
I called several dental schools today to see if I could get some numbers on what their graduates are earning upon graduation. Not one school wanted to give me hard numbers. I'm a skeptical person by nature and this made me wonder if the reason why they wouldn't do that is because the numbers right now, for whatever reason (economy) weren't good at all. One lady googled something while we were talking and came back and reluctantly admitted that it could be as low as $50-60K per year "while you built up your client base, much like that of a hairdresser." I about dropped the phone. Has anyone seen actual numbers? Heck I could have googled it (and have), I know good and well those schools track that. I just can't imagine graduating with nearly $200K in debt and making 50-60, that is not worth it at all.
Im gonna summarize what you did:
"Hi dental school, I love the art of dentistry, its been my passion, and althought I am not going into dentistry for money, I need for you to tell me how much starting dentists make because if its "lower" than my expectations, I wanna switch majors now"

dude, wtf !!! There are PLENTY of people out there (engineers and I.T folks) who make 60k a year and are able to buy a house that is around the 200k range. YOU CAN LIVE JUST FINE OFF OF 60K A YEAR EVEN IF YOUR 200K IN DEBT. Yeh your not going to be sitting in a cadillac escapade, but you'll be eating and living just fine

You know what, don't go to dental school, yeh 60k is too low, go to some other field, leave dentistry for us. I love how some kids are always "omg Im not doing this for the money, no way, I just wanna work and help people.... what??? 60k a year on a 200k debt?? f*** that I don't wanna be a dentist anymore"
 
Jul 13, 2009
176
0
Shebulba
Status
Pre-Dental
Im gonna summarize what you did:
"Hi dental school, I love the art of dentistry, its been my passion, and althought I am not going into dentistry for money, I need for you to tell me how much starting dentists make because if its "lower" than my expectations, I wanna switch majors now"

dude, wtf !!! There are PLENTY of people out there (engineers and I.T folks) who make 60k a year and are able to buy a house that is around the 200k range. YOU CAN LIVE JUST FINE OFF OF 60K A YEAR EVEN IF YOUR 200K IN DEBT. Yeh your not going to be sitting in a cadillac escapade, but you'll be eating and living just fine

You know what, don't go to dental school, yeh 60k is too low, go to some other field, leave dentistry for us. I love how some kids are always "omg Im not doing this for the money, no way, I just wanna work and help people.... what??? 60k a year on a 200k debt?? f*** that I don't wanna be a dentist anymore"
-200k mortgage is a 30year loan
-200k student loans 10 years
-engineer 4 years in school after high school
-dentist 8+ in school after high school
-engineer started mortgage 4+ years before you
-engineer started 401k of IRA 4+ years before you
-Dentist sacrificed most of his 20s
if dentist starts making 60k a year anytime soon y'all can have it.
 
May 21, 2009
242
1
Status
Pre-Dental
It's more of a 'meh' deal. 27% of collections minus full lab costs is about 10% lower than what you'd see if you were starting out outside of a uber saturated area. One of my classmates has 2 $170k+/year guaranteed offers for their first year out, and I'm sure metropolitan Missouri is a decent place to live.
thanks armorshell for some recent insight into this, vs old stories.
 

dentalWorks

Nights Watchmen
10+ Year Member
Jun 25, 2009
5,646
158
Sterling Hts, Mi
Status
Dentist
-200k mortgage is a 30year loan
-200k student loans 10 years
-engineer 4 years in school after high school
-dentist 8+ in school after high school
-engineer started mortgage 4+ years before you
-engineer started 401k of IRA 4+ years before you
-Dentist sacrificed most of his 20s
if dentist starts making 60k a year anytime soon y'all can have it.
lmao @ this. you and the OP should form a club together. Help lower the competition for us REAL pre-dents please.... Thank you
 
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DrReo

"Thread Necromancer"
10+ Year Member
Jun 29, 2007
3,117
14
Status
Academic Administration
Wait a second. I thought Obama was going to start giving free education out?

Did I miss something?