"I love my job as a dentist. Although the schooling was a lot of hard work it was worth it in the long run."

Role Model Photo Erica Valencia

Health Field: Dentist

Number of years in the profession:
1 year

Years in College: 8 years

Professional Credentials:
BS in chemistry from Michigan Technological University and DDS from University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry.

How did you know this career was what you wanted to do?
I wanted to have an exciting career that would allow me to help others.

What other careers did you consider?
I have always known I wanted to be a dentist.

What experiences in your life developed your interest in your career?
My role model growing up was my dentist. I was in awe of her as she was a working mother and was able to have a successful practice.

What early preparations did you take (in high school and college) to reach your career goal?
In college and high school I job shadowed at a number of offices. Those opportunities allowed me to see various aspects of the profession.

What things did you find to be difficult as you prepared for your career?
The admissions process is long and involved. I recommend to start looking at the ADSAS website when students are juniors in college so that they have all of the necessary items to apply for dental school.

How did you overcome these challenges?
I checked out books from the library about applying to dental school as well as purchased a book that provided an overview of the dental schools in the US.

Was your family supportive of you through your college (or other training) years?

Did you have a job and work while you were going to college or other training? Yes

Present Career as a Dentist

Describe an average work day for you.
I work at a clinic that mainly provides care to pediatric patients. On a daily basis I see an average of 15 patients completing procedures that range from exams to fillings to extractions.

How many hours do you work in an average week?

What kind of health care setting do you work in?
I work at a Community Health Clinic.

What do you see as strengths needed for your career?
The dental field needs individuals that are kind and concerned with addressing the needs of all patients.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is helping those in need of dental care. Our clinic strives to help all patients and provide services that best suit their needs.

What advice would you give to those who are interested in your career?
I would recommend job shadowing at a dental office. It will give you an opportunity to see the daily tasks of a dentist.

If you could start over, would you still make the same decision to pursue education?
I love my job as a dentist. Although the schooling was a lot of hard work it was worth it in the long run.

Do you plan to pursue opportunities for advancement in your career field?
Every year I will take continuing education courses to keep up on the most current information.

View Other Professionals in this Field
Valencia  | Solomon  | Plemons  | Nichols  |
Are you a current health professional?
Click here to share your experience and advice with us