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Dental Public Health and Education

Advanced degrees are required to practice in the dental public health field. Most individuals who pursue this specialty are experienced dental health practitioners concerned with optimal oral health care for selected populations. Read on to learn more about education and career options.

Inside Dental Public Health and Education

An advanced, non-clinical dental specialty, public health dentistry deals with the assessment of the overall oral health and needs of communities with special attention given to disease prevention, research and delivery of service. Individuals learn to address dental health care issues at a societal level. Managerial and analytical skills are refined to enable graduates to apply effective philosophies, practices and solutions to questions that arise in the dental public health arena. Employment opportunities exist in such areas as government agencies, public health departments, research institutions, foundations, colleges and universities. Common jobs include public health educators or oral epidemiologists.

There are several programs available to you in public health dentistry depending on your prior education and experience. Whether you want to focus on the research aspects of public health as an oral epidemiologist or work with individuals as a dental public health educator, can provide you with the information to help you make suitable education and career choices.

Education Information

Programs are available that lead to certificates, master's degrees and doctorates with a specialty in dental public health. Dentists and dental hygienists who have earned their degree are eligible to apply for admission to most programs. Common courses include oral epidemiology, program planning, administration and health policy, bioethics and law, statistical analysis and finance. Graduates are prepared for careers in dental academic settings or in the administration of dental public health.

The following articles highlight some degree options that may lead to a career in dental public health.

Distance Learning Options

Online and hybrid programs in public health are common, but due to the hands-on nature of the work, these are not usually offered by dental schools. Here are some of the distance learning opportunities in public health.

Career Options

Dental public health is an advanced dental specialty, so often individuals work as a practicing dentist or dental hygienist before transferring into the public health field. Below are some examples of careers in this field.

Employment Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not have specific data for dental educators in public health or oral epidemiologists. However, the BLS projected employment for general health educators to increase by 21% in the 2012-2022 decade, which is considered faster than average. Job growth for epidemiologists was projected at 10% for the same period. As of May 2013, the BLS reported that health educators made a mean annual wage of $53,800, and epidemiologists earned $73,040 (

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