A foreign trained dentist is licensed to practice in the United States differently by each state’s regulations. Dr. Fox wrote an article titled “How internationally trained dentists are licensed to practice in the U.S.” on the American Dental Association website back in 2008. A lot has changed since the article was written, but I thought it’s still mostly relevant so I wanted to share it with you. She reflects on the different ways foreign-trained dentists can become licensed in the states, and also what to be careful of. It may seem difficult, but Dr. Fox quickly sums up the general outline for a foreign trained dentist to become an American trained dentist.
Dr. Fox writes that a foreign trained dentist receive credit for their education received in their country:
Internationally trained dentists can complete a U.S.-based predoctoral program and earn a DDS or DMD degree, sometimes in less time than it takes U.S. students. There are many predoctoral programs in the U.S. that offer advanced standing for international dentists, meaning students can receive credit for some of their dental education obtained in another country. A DDS or DMD degree from an accredited predoctoral program satisfies the educational requirements for licensure in all states. Individual program requirements vary.
She also writes how some states have different options:
In some states, a general practice residency or other advanced education program (advanced education in general dentistry or specialty training) is accepted in lieu of a dental degree or certificate of completion. Minnesota is another unique case, as the state dental board determines educational credentials of international dentists on a case-by-case basis.
Finally, Dr. Fox writes of a third option that is exclusive for foreign trained dentists:
International Dentist Programs offer yet another alternative to dentists trained outside the U.S. Separate from other dental education programs, International Dentist Programs grant either DDS or DMD degrees or a certificate of completion. However, earning a certificate may only satisfy licensure eligibility requirements in the state where the program is located.
Ultimately the current dental system is set in place so that a foreign trained dentist receives the same education as an American trained dentist. Dr. Fox provides different options for foreign trained dentists that can be chosen for the best fitting scenario. It’s a difficult path, but dentists on average make over $150,000 per year in the U.S..