Apr 13, 2010
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Pre-Dental
I have my bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and have been working that field for 3 years. Because of this, I have the physics and some of the chemistry pre reqs. I'm planning on going back this Fall and spring to take Biology and Organic Chemistry. That would allow me to take the DAT next spring, but by the time I could apply to dental schools I would potentially not be able to start until the following fall. Is there another way I should be going about this? Two years is a lot of time to be out of real work. I would also use that time to get some shadowing experience and volunteer work, but I still have to be able to pay the bills.

Also, is it possible for me to get a paying job in the dental field with the experience I have now? I'm just concerned about being able to pay my mortgage while trying to get this ball rolling. Any suggestions you have would be appreciated.
 

dentalWorks

Nights Watchmen
7+ Year Member
Jun 25, 2009
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your an engineer now, I am assuming you make 50-70k a year. Unfortunately no dental job out there (unless your an office manager, or hygienist, or the dentist himself) that will get you to make even 1/2 of that income....

But the good news is, you don't have to put a time restraint to how fast you need to complete your pre-reqs. I know many of us wanna finish them asap and get into dental school but the problem is, some of us have jobs, obligations, bills, payments, did I say bills? You get my point, you can't expect us to quit everything just to become students again..... So for people like you, you should stay at your engineering job, and take part time night courses at your local 4-year university. I think this is your best route

What I am suggesting to you is what I ended up doing back in 2007. I worked as a software engineer and took part-time pre-dental courses at MSU for 2 years exactly. Did it till early 2009, quit my job and became a full-time post-bacc student (I had to move back to my parents house cause living was impossible without a job).

right now, I am jobless, pretty much all done with post-bacc, and getting my last checks ready for the application cycle this coming June

Hope this answers some of your questions
 

Palmetto914

StrangerDanger
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Jan 13, 2008
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I worked as a mechanical engineer, too. I started my pre-reqs in the fall of 2008. I took two classes at night each semester, but that's only because I couldn't get to the university until after 6pm. I applied the following cycle (2009), while still taking pre-reqs, and I took the DAT without all of the pre-reqs completed (particularly biology and ochem II). I got in, but it was a looong road. I'm now going to school full time this semester to finish the remaining pre-reqs (22 credits!).

Keep your job until you absolutely cannot work anymore. Get a hold of some dental schools and have them spell out what you still need to take, and use that to work out a schedule.

I was in the same boat as you. I wanted it all done asap. Unfortunately the application cycle doesn't really allow a fast application process, so even the absolute fastest possible way might be 2 years down the road. Hell, even when you're accepted, you still have nearly a whole year before you start!
 

SeattleRDH

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Mar 10, 2010
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Yeah. It sucks. But if you can't pay your mortgage now how will you pay it in dental school? Because you definately won't be able to work then.
 

doc toothache

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Jan 17, 2006
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I have my bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and have been working that field for 3 years. Is there another way I should be going about this? Two years is a lot of time to be out of real work. I would also use that time to get some shadowing experience and volunteer work, but I still have to be able to pay the bills.
Also, is it possible for me to get a paying job in the dental field with the experience I have now? I'm just concerned about being able to pay my mortgage while trying to get this ball rolling. Any suggestions you have would be appreciated.
Going from mechanical engineering to "a paying job in the dental field" is a step backwards professionally and financially. Why the sudden rush?
 
Apr 13, 2010
2
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0
Status
Pre-Dental
Thanks for your responses! You confirmed the timeline that was in my head.

I guess I should have been more clear about the job part. I was wondering if I would be able to get a job in a dentist office to get some real experience while finishing my pre reqs before applying to dental school. Would they pay someone with no experience that just wants to go into the field, or is that more of an unpaid shadowing kind of deal?

For those of you that were in my shoes, how were you able to shadow while having a regular job? I work 55-65 hours a week overlapping normal dentist hours. Also, were all of your pre reqs offered in the evenings or how did you work that out?

Thanks!
 

dentalWorks

Nights Watchmen
7+ Year Member
Jun 25, 2009
5,646
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181
Sterling Hts, Mi
Status
Dentist
Thanks for your responses! You confirmed the timeline that was in my head.

I guess I should have been more clear about the job part. I was wondering if I would be able to get a job in a dentist office to get some real experience while finishing my pre reqs before applying to dental school. Would they pay someone with no experience that just wants to go into the field, or is that more of an unpaid shadowing kind of deal?

For those of you that were in my shoes, how were you able to shadow while having a regular job? I work 55-65 hours a week overlapping normal dentist hours. Also, were all of your pre reqs offered in the evenings or how did you work that out?

Thanks!
well shadowing is not a job. You can do it just 1 time a month for example. There are some dentist that open up on the weekends, contact them and see what they say. Tell them your interested in accumulating approx 40-50 hours worth of shadowing over the next 3-6 months and would like to know if they would be willing to give you this opportunity.

If you want "dental experience / exposure"... shadowing is fine.... You do not have to get a job in a dental office making 8-12 dollars an hour to obtain this exposure.

My pre-reqs were not offered at night, as matter of fact many were offered in the middle of the day (10AM, 2PM, 3:30 PM, etc) however I had a great relationship with my managers and they wanted to keep me happy so they allowed me to have a flexible job schedule. I would design the schedule myself and they always approved. Maybe you can do the same for yourself
 
Feb 17, 2010
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I may be wrong, but I think you COULD apply for dental school this year. You could study for the DAT, take it this spring/summer, and apply to dental school this summer. Use some vacation days from work to job shadow some dentists (7 full days = 56 hours job shadowing). Look up old professors to write up letters of recommendation, write up a personal statement, apply. It's ideal to have taken bio and ochem before the DAT, but you don't have to. You don't have to finish the prereqs in order to apply -- just before you matriculate. So if you apply this summer (2010) and get in, you still have time to take bio and ochem next year (2010-2011 school year) before you matriculate in summer/fall 2011.

Again, I may be wrong but I think it's possible. I don't know if I'd do that personally though.

I'm in a similar situation. I just use some vacation days to get time off work to job shadow. It's not ideal (I'd rather use my vacation to actually take a vacation!) but it's what I have to do. I'm going to try to find dentists to shadow on the weekends or after work, but it was already hard enough to find one dentist to shadow...
 

Palmetto914

StrangerDanger
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Jan 13, 2008
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If all you need to take for pre-reqs are bio and ochem, you could apply, but unless your mech. eng. GPA was good, and your DAT is great, a couple of pre-req courses won't impress the adcoms. And you'll probably need more than just a bio and a couple ochem classes, but schools can tell you specifics.

I was lucky that MOST of my prereqs were offered at night. I saved all the pre-reqs I couldn't take at night for the end, quit my job, and hammered them out. Granted, I already had my acceptance and needed those classes to be eligible, so quitting was a no-brainer. Shadowing was taken care of on random "sick" days and any days around holiday breaks (there are usually a few days around the holidays where you might be off, but dental offices are open).