Lawyer Vs. Dentist: Salary & Job Description

Lawyer and dentist are both high-paying careers that require professional graduate degrees. However, lawyers are specialists in jurisprudence, and dentists are specialists in dentistry.

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Comparing Lawyers to Dentists

Lawyers and dentists both typically interact directly with clients. Although client satisfaction is important in both professions, lawyers provide legal services and dentists provide care for people's teeth and gums.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Lawyer Doctoral professional degree $118,160 8%
Dentist Doctoral professional degree $159,770 19%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Lawyers vs. Dentists

Lawyers are responsible for analyzing the law to help clients justify their actions or charge others with wrongdoing. They typically work in a professional office. Dentists also work in a professional office, but they are in the business of offering medical services related to the mouth. Like lawyers, they can work for a conglomerate or open their own practice.


Lawyers are responsible for learning and interpreting laws. They have to learn the differences between laws and ordinances passed by cities, counties, states, and countries. The preparation of legal documents is also an essential part of the job. Clients hire lawyers to produce documents to make sure they are comprehensive and legally sound. Many lawyers represent clients in the courtroom as well. There are specializations of law that focus on patents, civil lawsuits, automobile violations, and felonies, to name a few. Most lawyers obtain a degree from an accredited law school. A small number of lawyers participate in apprenticeships in states where this is an option in lieu of earning a law degree.

Job responsibilities of a lawyers include:

  • Decipher the likely result of legal cases
  • Draft convincing and persuasive arguments
  • Present and analyze evidence for legal proceedings
  • Select jurors and make motions during trials
  • Negotiate settlements with clients


Dentists are medical professionals who treat issues with teeth and gums, which can include performing procedures designed to prevent future problems or remove and repair damaged teeth. Dentists also oversee a staff that can include dental assistants and hygienists. There are specialties within the dental profession that include endodontists, orthodontists, pediatric dentists, and prosthodontists. Dentists must earn a degree from an accredited dental school and continue their education if interested in a specialty.

Job responsibilities of a dentist include:

  • Educate patients on maintaining the health of their teeth and gums at home
  • Conduct diagnoses using x-rays
  • Treat tooth decay and cavities
  • Prescribe medications, such as antibiotics or pain relievers

Related Careers

If you are interested in the role a lawyer plays in convicting criminals in court, you may want to become a prosecutor. Individuals interested in becoming dentists may also be interested in becoming denture technicians. Denture technicians work in a laboratory rather than in an office.

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