The Changing Dental Career Landscape

The Next DDS

This past July, the Next Media Group conducted the 2016 Graduating Dental Student Survey, which provided insight into many of these behaviors and preferences of future dentists. The survey was released to 3,940 graduates using THE NEXTDDS, an online educational resource designed specifically for Gen-Y dental students, and completed by 656 students with consistent demographics from each of the 62 dental schools.

The results of the survey confirmed that these future dentists are technologically focused. They prefer to use technology and digital tools in all parts of their lives – in the classroom, in their personal lives as communicators and consumers, through eLearning, and ultimately as practicing dentists upon graduation. They also highlighted the importance of career development through continuing education, and having access to organizations, resources and third-party providers who can offer solutions to this need.

For many of the desires and expectations reported by students, Heartland Dental and other DSOs are primed to fulfill these needs:

  • Managing student loan debt – 78% want a career option that will help cut down or manage debt. Also, almost 50% reported they expect to make less than $50,000 in their first year of practicing. Heartland Dental’s support can assist with this. Supported dentists start out at a competitive salary from the beginning. From the benefits gained and bonus earned through completing Heartland Dental’s Doctor Mastery Program, dentists can wipe out their debt in just a few years.
  • Immediate education – 44% want to immediately gain access or pursue CE and specialty training, and 75% wish to improve clinical skills upon graduating. Offering continuing education opportunities for dentists is a focus of Heartland Dental. Supported dentists have access a variety of clinical, leadership and communication training.
  • eLearning and online CE opportunities – 65% believe it is advantageous, 86% relied on videos, animations, instructional pieces, etc. to learn. Heartland Dental is continually building more online educational opportunities, recently rolling out Homeroom, the company’s learning management system (LMS).
  • State-of-the-art technology in offices – 86% think digital technology and diagnostics is important. The clinical affairs and procurement teams at Heartland Dental work to ensure supported dentists have access to the latest, state-of-the-art products and technology, and trial/research these products and technology to give supported dentists valuable recommendations.
  • Number of opportunities available across the nation – Over 60% cited finding a job post-graduation as a top concern. Heartland Dental has opportunities across the nation in supported offices, helping dentists practice where they want to practice.

To view the complete survey, please visit

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