Dentist Vs. Engineer

Dentists and engineers are professionals who have different areas of expertise. This article looks as some of the superficial similarities in their roles and explores the differences in their objectives and duties in greater detail.

Comparing Dentists to Engineers

Dentists and engineers work in different fields. Dentists are required to have a higher level of training and earn significantly higher salaries.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Outlook (2016-2026)*
Dentists Doctoral degree, license $159,770 17%
Engineers Bachelor's degree $83,540 (civil engineers) 11% (civil engineers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Dentists vs. Engineers

Meeting clients is one comparable task that dentists and engineers may perform. Dentists assess their patients while engineers may meet with clients to determine their specific needs when starting a project. Both dentists and engineers can be responsible for assigning tasks to staff, establishing safety protocols and monitoring staff. Dentists may be involved in some product design when they create models for producing things such as dentures but they do not construct those products. Engineers are responsible for all aspects of their projects, from creating a design to constructing the product or overseeing the staff involved with construction.


Dentists are medical professionals who are qualified to diagnose dental health conditions and determine which treatment their patients need. While it's common to think of dentists treating teeth they also address issues with the gums and mouth. Dentists can opt to extend their training and specialize in one of nine areas. Completing a specialty prepares them to focus on specific types of dental issues or treatments. They spend a lot of time standing in their job so they need to be reasonably fit and also capable of bending over for prolonged periods. Fine motor skills are also important because they perform delicate procedures in a confined area.

Job responsibilities of a dentist include:

  • Examining patients
  • Reviewing X-rays
  • Applying substances to patients' teeth
  • Giving patients prescriptions
  • Extracting teeth
  • Supervising staff


Engineers are masters of design and creation. They can specialize in a number of different fields and may focus on producing machines or electrical devices. Other engineers work on designing and building structures. It isn't always necessary for an engineer to have a Professional Engineering (PE) license, but with a PE license and experience engineers can advance in their career and assume leadership of projects. Some engineers work for the government but most are employed by companies that provide engineering services. Overtime is common.

Job responsibilities of an engineer include:

  • Developing budgets
  • Examining environmental regulations
  • Acquiring permits
  • Identifying project objectives
  • Enforcing safety protocols

Related Careers

Dentists who opt to specialize may be interested in becoming orthodontists, because orthodontists realign teeth by using things such as braces. Aspiring engineers may also be interested in what industrial designers do because industrial designers also create and modify products.

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