A lot of dentists juggle with the idea of specialising themselves and some students consider the option at the beginning of their careers or before their studies. Becoming a specialist by definition means you’ve specialised in a given field. It may allow you to provide a higher standard of care or let you move into a better paying field, but it requires investing time and money into yet more schooling. So, should dentists specialise for more opportunities? Let’s take a look at some of the factors that should go into making this decision so that you can make the right one for you.
The Cost-Benefit Analysis
Any educational programme will cost money. You’ll have to pay tuition fees, buy books, and possibly purchase additional equipment. If you spend an additional year in school instead of in the workforce, count those lost wages as a cost in addition to the tuition. However, this isn’t an issue if you can earn the certification online and continue working.
For example, you could take orthodontic courses from the London Dental Institute. They can be done completely online, though you can also spend several practical training weeks in London. This programme provides an accredited postgraduate diploma in orthodontics. Also, you’ll be able to begin treating patients immediately through their mentoring programme.
The Type of Work You’d Like to Do
As a specialist, you will probably specialise in a given field. The question is whether or not you want to only take on that caseload. Make sure you like doing something before you commit to doing it all day every day. On the other hand, some dentists prefer the variety of work that comes with a general education in dentistry.
One of the things that attract people to specialist programmes is that specialists generally earn more. If you specialise, you could earn up to twice what a general dentist earns. This means you could work part-time and see the same pay rate as a general dentist seeing patients all day.
The Potential Job Opportunities
A general dentist can find work anywhere. Furthermore, they can find full-time and part-time jobs with existing practices or start their own. If you specialise in an area where there is relatively little demand, you either have to move to where there is enough work to sustain your practice or work part-time, or you’ll spend a long time hunting for a job, and that’s the last thing you want after spending several more years in dental school.
Your Aptitude and Abilities
If you’re already working as a dentist, you can tell what you’re good at and what you aren’t. If you enjoy something but aren’t good at it, further education might make it easier and allow you to serve more patients. However, you have to make sure that you’re cut out for it as you don’t want to abandon a course because you simply did not have the skills.
Specialty-training can be a worthwhile investment if it is a natural fit with your interests, abilities, and career goals. Do some soul-searching and carry out a good cost-benefit analysis before you sign up for a training programme.