Dentists diagnose and treat problems related to oral health including, but not limited to, tooth and gum diseases. The US Department of Labor identifies the median pay for a dentist as $149,310 a year. The job growth is expected to be above average at 16% through 2022. Are you interested in becoming a dentist?

There are over 70 dental schools in North America that award degrees of Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), which are equivalent degrees. Most dental schools require a baccalaureate degree (in a science or other field), an admission exam (Dental Aptitude Test or DAT), and the successful completion of required pre-dental courses. Although the specific requirements vary for different dental schools, the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) lists the following core courses (all of which can be taken at PVCC) as general pre-dental requirements:


PVCC Courses

Credit Hours

One year




8 credits

One year

General Chemistry

CHM151 & CHM151LL

CHM152 & CHM152LL

8 credits

One year

Organic Chemistry

CHM235 & CHM235LL

CHM236 & CHM236LL

8 credits

One year




8 credits

Additional coursework (which also can be taken at PVCC) that may be required or recommended by some dental schools includes:

  • Biochemistry (CHM260 & CHM260LL)
  • Anatomy & Physiology (BIO201 & BIO202)
  • Microbiology (BIO205)
  • English Composition (ENG101 & ENG102)

IMPORTANT: Always check with an academic advisor at PVCC and at your chosen university before planning your coursework.

PVCC provides a quality and cost-effective way to begin your path to becoming a dentist. All of the required pre-dental courses (as well as the general education for a baccalaureate degree; 90 out of 120 credit hours in some cases) can be completed at PVCC for a fraction of the cost of going to a university. Additionally, PVCC is conveniently located, has small class sizes, state-of-the-art laboratories, and professors that focus on giving you the best possible preparation for your future career. Also, PVCC has a Professional Scientist Preparation Program (PSPP) that provides:

  • Career testing
  • Critical-thinking assessment
  • Personal-statement writing workshops
  • Mock interviews for professional schools
  • Identification of scholarship resources

Finally, you can join the PVCC chapter of HOSA-Future Health Professionals to forge inter-professional working relationships, take advantage of internship opportunities, and enjoy a dynamic lineup of guest speakers.

There are two dental schools in the state of Arizona:

  • Midwestern University of Dental Medicine – Arizona (in Glendale) offers a DMD degree. The specific prerequisite courses that are required to be considered for admission include the core courses outlined above and Biochemistry (substituted for second semester Organic Chemistry), Anatomy & Physiology, Microbiology, and English Composition. For complete admission requirements please visit their website.
  • The A. T. Still University Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) program is located in Mesa, Arizona. Prerequisite courses include the core pre-dental courses outlined above in addition to Biochemistry, Anatomy & Physiology, and English Composition. For complete admission requirements please visit their website.