Dentistry is a career that involves promoting good dental hygiene and treating problems with gums, teeth, and the mouth. They care for the health of people by using modern technology and tools to maintain strong teeth and diagnose and treat oral problems. This includes tasks like filling cavities, removing tooth decays, giving anesthesia, and checking the growth of teeth.
Did you know that the first use of toothbrushes was said to be recorded in China? The country is known for having the oldest civilization, home to 1.4 billion people today, making them the first of many things and a crucial territory. Some of the first dental schools in China are China Union University, Aurora University Dental School, and the Medical College of the National Central University. For many years, dentistry was taught to students in English but now most schools teach it in Chinese. Although there are still a few schools teaching it in English, dental education in China is also open to international students. China offers a Bachelor of Dental Surgery or B.D.S. degree, which is the counterpart of the Doctor of Dental Survey (D.D.S.) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M. D.) degrees in western countries like the United States and Canada.
There are several reasons why you should consider studying dentistry in China. First, the country’s dental education is examined based on international criteria and is ranked as one of the best in the world. Second, the BDS program of China is known for applying modern tech in the field and having competent professors. There are leading-edge laboratories and learning resources. Third, the tuition fee for dentistry in China is much lower compared to other countries, making it a more affordable choice for students.
If you are ready to get started with your dental education in China, here are 5 steps to give you an overview of what you should complete before you can start practicing the profession:
Steps to Become a Dentist in China
1. Pass the national entrance exam to apply for dental school
The first step towards becoming a dentist in China is to pass the national entrance test, which the country started requiring in 1977. To take the test, a high school diploma is needed. No further undergraduate studies are required before entering dental school unlike the usual program for medical doctors. Passing this test is your very first ticket to get into any of more than 50 dental schools in China. The 2-day entrance exam is done annually and is composed of several types of questions like multiple choice and essays under the topics of English, Chinese, chemistry, physics, and social studies. The test is conducted shortly before the start of dental school programs; your score is a major consideration by dental schools for your admission.
2. Apply to your preferred dental school
Several educational institutions in China offer a degree in dentistry such as medical universities, medical colleges, and training schools. Some of the top dental programs can be found at Peking University and Anhui Medical University. The second step for you to be a dentist in China is to look and apply to your chosen dental school. Peking University offers the only program licensed by the Ministry of Education to offer a fast-track 8-year program combining the DMD and Ph.D. program in dentistry. Fees are around CNY 20,000 or USD 3,166 on an annual basis.
On the other hand, international students could consider applying to BDS programs taught in English. One of the schools providing a good English-taught BDS program is Wenzhou Medical University. The school has a 6-year program devoted to international students. To be eligible for the program, you should be 18-30 years old of age at the time of application, a high school graduate, compliant with Chinese Laws and School Regulations, and fluent in English. The processing of the application can take about 4 to 6 weeks. In terms of cost, the tuition fee at Wenzhou is USD 4, 749 per year or a sum of USD 28,494 for the entire 6-year curriculum.
3. Complete dental education to earn a BDS degree
Upon applying for a dental school, the next step to be a dentist in China is for you to complete the dental education. China’s curriculum for dentistry students consists of traditional classroom sessions, lab subjects, and an internship in the clinical setting. The first few years cover knowledge of basic sciences, followed by expertise in clinical sciences, and finally an internship or rotations in a clinic or medical hospital. The final year of students in the program focuses on how to take care of patients and prepares them for the upcoming dental licensure exam. The common academic calendar of Chinese dental schools is from September to July. Students need to complete requirements and pass both written and oral tests to pass the program. In terms of resources, the Ministry of Public Health oversees and provides the same textbook for all students under a consistent and unified curriculum. This keeps dental students consistent across different schools.
4. Pass the nationwide licensure exam to practice dentistry
It was not until 1999 that China started implementing a nationwide dental licensure examination. Previously, completing the BDS curriculum entailed that students receive both a degree and licensure. Passing the nationwide licensure exam for dentistry is the next important step for you to become a dentist in China. At present, the licensure exam is being rolled out every year and can be taken one year after students complete their BDS degree. The exam consists of 2 parts: a written and a clinical part. In the clinical part, graduates need to create a diagnosis and treatment plan based on the given patient situation. Note that the patient will not be given any actual treatment. Results are reflected as either pass or fail only, with the passing mark as 60%.
5. Complete post-graduate medical training
Upon successfully passing the licensure examination, the final step for you to attain your dream of becoming a dentist in China is to complete post-graduate medical training. The Ministry of Health will be assigned newly graduated dentists to dental schools o hospitals for further training. As supported by the country’s social welfare system, they will receive monthly income and gain training in the practical setting. From here, they can choose to pursue further studies as well and earn Masters and/ or Ph.D. degrees. Specializations could also be done such as in Orthodontics, Prosthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, among others.
I hope that this article on Steps to Become a Dentist in China was helpful. To know more information on how you can study in Asia, visit the Asia Scholarships Page.