You might want to teach your kid how to wield a dental probe.
According to U.S. News & World Report’s 100 Best Jobs of 2014, dentist and dental hygienist are among the top 10 occupations in the country. Dentist came in at No. 3, the highest ranking health care-related career, while dental hygienist was No. 10.
Today, careers in health care and information technology are the go-tos when it comes to gainful employment. Tech jobs jumped up into the top two slots on the list – software developer is No. 1, followed by computer systems analyst.
Dentist, last year’s top occupation on the list, fell two spots, but dental practitioners aren’t complaining. On average, they make a salary of $145,240, and employment is expected to grow 33.3 percent by 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Occupations are calculated based on several components, including 10-year growth volume, 10-year growth percentage, employment rate, median salary, job prospects, stress level and work-life balance. These factors are then combined into a single weighted average score between zero and 10.
The demand for dental professionals is not going away, the report points out. If anything, more people want brighter smiles, looking for teeth whitening options and ways around oral health problems such as cavities, dry mouth and bad breath.
“A comfortable salary, low unemployment rate and agreeable work-life balance boost dentist to the No. 3 position on our list of Best Jobs of 2014,” said the report in U.S. News.
In the rankings, dentist was followed by nurse practitioner, pharmacist, registered nurse, physical therapist and physician pharmacist. As a whole, the outlook for health care professionals is exceedingly strong. Of the 100 jobs covered in the report, a total of 38 were in the sector.
The road to dentistry
To become a dentist, as with other health care jobs, you must undergo something of a marathon of training and testing. The report shows that the pathway begins as early as high school, when students would focus on courses in biology, anatomy and physics. Undergraduate classes involve mathematics, chemistry and biology, and most aspiring dentists take the Dental Acceptance Test by their junior year. After that, getting into dental school is the big hurdle.
For now, if you’re interested in improving your own smile before working on others’, teeth whitening options are a big hit. And besides your kid’s routine check-up and cavities filled, you have another reason to bring your youngster into the dentist’s office.