South Florida Dental Training Programs with School Options

Research dental training programs in South Florida, which currently has more than five colleges and universities offering relevant degrees. Read an overview of the programs, admission info and requirements for three schools in the region to decide which one is right for you.

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Dental Schools in South Florida

Whether you're interested in working as a dental hygienist, assistant or dentist, the South Florida area has a variety of education options available. This article highlights the coursework and learning opportunities in programs at three institutions. Also included is a table of school stats and some details on a few other college options in the region.

  • Miami Dade College offers an associate's degree program for aspiring dental hygienists.
  • Palm Beach State College also offers an associate's degree in dental hygiene as well as a dental assisting certificate option.
  • For those seeking training to become dentists, Nova Southeastern University offers a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree program and an option for students who completed dental school outside of the United States. Many additional programs are available through the school, including postdoctoral options in dental specialties, a general dentistry residency, dentistry master's degree and continuing education classes.

Comparison of Schools

There are clearly a lot of dental programs to choose from in the South Florida region. To help you narrow your options and make an informed education decision, check out this table containing info on costs, acceptance rates, and enrollment numbers for the profiled colleges.

Miami Dade College Palm Beach State College Nova Southeastern University
School Type 4-year, public 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2017) 56,001* 30,052* 20,793*
Campus Setting Large city Large suburb Large suburb
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $2,838 in-state; $9,661 out-of-state* $2,444 in-state; $8,732 out-of-state* $20,419 (average graduate)*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Aid (2016-2017) 82%* 68%* 100%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) N/A - open admissions* N/A - open admissions* 58%*
Retention Rate (2016-2017) N/A - Not reported N/A - Not reported 79% full-time*
Graduation Rate (students started in fall 2011 and completed within 150% of normal time) 31%* 33%* 52%*

Sources: *NCES College Navigator

Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College was founded in 1960 and is part of the Florida community college system. Dental programs are given through the college's Medical Campus School of Health Sciences, which is located right in Miami.

Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene

This is a 3-year program, which includes general education and natural science courses. The program consists of classes and clinicals. Clinicals are completed at facilities in the county of Miami Dade. Program courses include professional issues, emergencies in a dental office, clinical assessment techniques, radiology, dental specialties and materials, dental pharmacology, periodontology, community dental health and dental hygiene.

Palm Beach State College

This educational institution was established in 1933 and today consists of five campuses with nearly 50,000 students. Both dental programs are offered on the Lake Worth campus.

Postsecondary Adult Vocational Certificate in Dental Assisting

The certificate program is eleven months in length and is offered only in the fall term during the day. Students completing the program earn an expanded function certificate for Florida and a Certificate of Completion. Some courses in the dental assisting program may be applied to the college's dental hygiene associate's degree program. Students take courses in dental anatomy, dental radiology (classes and labs), clinical procedures, clinical practice, dental materials (classes and labs), expanded functions (classes and labs), preventive dentistry and office management.

Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene

This program is available during the day in the fall term only. Major coursework (excluding general education courses) can be completed in 21 months. All natural science courses, such as physiology, anatomy, chemistry, nutrition and microbiology, required for this program must be completed before a student begins the dental hygiene coursework. Dental hygiene courses include instrumentation, dental hygiene labs, pharmacology, periodontology, compromised patients, dental materials and office emergencies.

Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University is the eighth largest, independent not-for-profit university in the U.S. Dental programs are offered through the Health Professions Division's College of Dental Medicine in Fort Lauderdale.

Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD)

This is a graduate 4-year program that trains students to become general dentists. Applicants must take the Dental Admission Test (DAT) and should have already completed at least 90 semester hours in courses. Prerequisite courses include English, biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, biochemistry and microbiology. The curriculum covers public health and primary care, human disease and biology, dentistry clinical practice and patient care. The program consists of classroom lectures, community- and campus-based clinicals and simulation labs.

DO/DMD Dual Degree Program

The Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)/Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) program at Nova was devised for aspiring professionals who plan to work with underserved and rural populations. Students are taught a holistic approach to general dentistry and preventive medicine. This dual degree program takes six years to complete. In addition to labs and lectures, students participate in clinical rotations, practicums and dental board exam review courses.

International Dental Graduate Program

This 3-year program is open to students who have graduated from dental schools not located in the U.S. This program will help students gain U.S. licensure. To be admitted to this program, students must earn a passing score on the first part of the National Board Dental Exam and participate in a psychomotor bench test and clinical case presentation.

Advanced Education in General Dentistry Residency

Students are provided with advanced training in clinical general dentistry in this 12-month program and have the opportunity to improve their clinical skills and add to their scientific knowledge base. An option to continue in the program for a second year is available and is focused on special needs dentistry. Students in this program do not pay tuition, but are responsible for certain fees.

Master of Science in Dentistry

Students are expected to complete this program in 2-3 years. This program is designed for students who are enrolled in one of the dental college's postdoctoral programs and offers training in research methodology and research. Students complete core and emphasis courses and a research thesis. The program's area of research focuses on advanced oral health/biological science diseases and issues. Postdoctoral students in this program must complete requirements for the MS and the postdoctoral program at the same time.

Postdoctoral Certificate in Endodontics

Students take classes and complete clinical experiences in this 24-month program. Graduates of the program are prepared to take the exams to become board certified in endodontics. Clinics cover non-surgical and surgical endodontics.

Postdoctoral Certificate in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

This 4-year program is composed of lectures and clinicals and prepares graduates for board certification in oral and maxillofacial surgery. Students gain experience in temporomandibular joint procedures, cosmetic maxillofacial surgery, craniofacial and cleft surgery and maxillofacial trauma reconstruction. Students complete rotations in outpatient clinics and level-one trauma centers among other areas in the hospital. Students do not pay tuition for the program.

Postdoctoral Certificate in Orthodontics

This 36-month program results in the awarding of a master's degree and a certificate. The program emphasizes clinical training. Students take part in lectures, case conferences and seminars. In clinical experiences, students treat children, adolescents and adults.

Postdoctoral Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry

This 24-month program includes multidisciplinary conferences, seminars and lectures and can be completed in two years. The program includes training in operating room and hospital protocol and general anesthetics. Students must also complete a research project.

Postdoctoral Certificate in Periodontics

Students taking this 3-year postdoctoral program attend lectures and seminars that cover periodontics, periodontal prosthetics and implant dentistry. Students must complete related research and work as clinical instructors for pre-doctoral programs.

Postdoctoral Certificate in Prosthodontics

Students enrolled in this 36-month program earn a certificate and may choose to earn a master's degree, which requires the student to submit a research thesis or a publishable article. During the clinical portion of the program, students learn to complete dentures, fix partials and implant prosthodontics. Students attend lectures, labs, demonstrations and seminars and complete literature reviews. The didactic portion of the program covers dental ceramics, dental materials, anatomy of the neck and head, oral pathology, research design, occlusions and statistics.

Dental Courses in Continuing Education

Nova also offers continuing education dental courses. These classes may be suitable for general dentists, lab techs, dental assistants, dental hygienists and specialists.

Other Schools

Students may enroll in a pre-dental program at Barry University in Miami Shores. South Florida State College in Avon Park offers an occupational certificate in dental assisting and an associate's degree in dental hygiene.

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