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Schools for Aspiring Dental Managers: How to Choose

Several programs exist that prepare students for all aspects of running a dental office. These include associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs, as well as certificate programs, in dental office management, dental hygiene or dental informatics.

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Dental managers need to know administrative and insurance procedures, but they can also benefit from a scientific understanding of dentistry. Certificate, associate and bachelor's degree candidates can expect to complete clinical work or internships, often in a dental office or a laboratory; master's degree candidates must usually complete a thesis or equivalent.

Top Schools with Dental Management Programs

There are many institutions with programs for aspiring dental managers; this is a list of some of those colleges and universities.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition* (2015-2016)
College of Southern Nevada Las Vegas, NV 4-year, Public Associate's, Bachelor's In-state $2,805; Out-of-state $9,450
Indiana University-Purdue Indianapolis, IN 4-year, Public Associate's In-state $9,056; Out-of-state $29,774
Ohio State University Columbus, OH 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's In-state $10,037; Out-of-state $27,365
Rio Salado College Tempe, AZ 2-year, Public Associate's In-state $2,046; Out-of-state $7,830
Texas A&M University College Station, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's Undergraduate: In-state $10,176; Out-of-state $28,768; Graduate: In-state $5,598; Out-of state $15,125
Miami Dade College Miami, FL 2-year, Public Associate's In-state $2,834; Out-of-state $9,661
University of Iowa Iowa City, IA 4-year, Public Master's, Graduate Certificate In-state $8,396; Out-of state $25,574
University of Kentucky Lexington, KY 4-year, Public Master's In-state $10,439; Out-of state $24,905
Cuyahoga Community College Cleveland, OH 2-year, Public Associate's In-district $3,136; In-state $3,953; Out-of-state $7,648

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Advanced General Dentistry Programs
  • Dental Assisting
  • Dental Clinical Science
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dental Laboratory Tech
  • Dental Materials
  • Dental Public Health and Education
  • Dentistry - DDS, DMD
  • Endodontics
  • Oral Biology and Oral Pathology
  • Oral Surgery
  • Orthodontics
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Periodontics
  • Prosthodontics

School Selection Criteria

There are many things to think about when looking for a dental management school.

  • Decide on your area of interest such as patient care and billing, scientific topics, or research and technology.
  • Choose a school that offers the program level of study you are interested in such as a certificate, bachelor's, or master's degree.
  • Some programs offer internships, which is a valuable way to gain practical experience.
  • It's important to consider the support an institution gives to help students find work after graduation, such as resume and interview preparation assistance.

Certificate or Diploma in Dental Office Management

These programs usually last two years, and some offer a combination of on-site and online classes. Designed to prepare students for the job market, they include basic courses in English usage and communication, word processing software and office technology. Clinical practicums are sometimes required. Some certificate programs transfer to a bachelor's degree program in dental hygiene.

Associate Degree in Dental Management

Students can complete an associate degree program in dental or medical practice management along with, or instead of, a certificate program. In an associate degree program, aspiring dental managers complete a broader spectrum of courses that include financial and personnel management. A clinical internship or externship is usually required, and students may gain laboratory experience. In some associate degree programs, a dental certificate is a requirement for admission.

Bachelor's Degree in Dental Hygiene

Bachelor's degree students complete dental hygiene and management requirements along with science and research courses. They also investigate specific areas of dentistry, such as community dental health, wellness promotion, periodontology and gerontology. Internships and fieldwork prepare program graduates to work in many facets of a dental office.

Master's Degree in Dental Hygiene or Dental Informatics

Students interested in pursuing scientific research can follow a bachelor's degree program with a master's program in dental hygiene. Many of these programs offer an administrative or management track. Dental informatics, the application of computer research to dental management, is a common master's degree topic as well. Master's students concentrate on laboratory work and may complete a thesis or capstone project.

Dental managers typically complete postsecondary studies in dental hygiene or dental informatics to prepare for their career. These studies can be pursued at the undergraduate levels towards a certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree, and it is also possible to pursue graduate studies towards a master's or graduate certificate.

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