Medical school vs dental school. Medical school is better for those who have not yet decided that their field of choice in the healthcare industry. Dental school is for those who are certain about the dental field as their career path for the future.
Ok, so the answer can be as simple as this. Most students who are here, are uncertain about their career goals. They want to enter the healthcare field. But they are uncertain. Most schools have both fields offered on the same application. Both medical and schools accept the MCAT. But then they also require you to pick between either one field as your top priority.
Most students, are just entering the healthcare field. They don’t know which field is best for them and why. I am writing this article, to help the students who are experiencing this exact conundrum.
Med school and dental school differ widely. But they focus on the same major subjects. This is probably why they are offered to students on the same application form of almost every university. Lets discuss medical schools first.
Medical School Program
Medical schools focus on teaching about the entire human body. From the head to the toe. You will learn anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, pharmacology, Forensic Medicine, Public Health, Medicine, Surgery, ENT, Ophthalmology, Gynae & Obstetrics, Pediatrics as major subjects. These subjects also contain some minor subjects within them like for e.g. anatomy contains neuroanatomy and histology as minor subjects. All these subjects will deal with the whole individual without any specific focus on any area or system of the body. The focus on a specific system will be taught in residency and the focus on a specific region will mostly be taught in fellowship studies.
So med school will deal with the whole body in general. This can be a great experience for newcomers who are not certain about which system or area of the body they want to specialize in. But don’t get the notion that its general so it would be easy. Nope, while learning generally about the human body there are so many subjects to cover that it drives most students insane. Like me. So, take it with a grain of salt but four years of med school are brutal.
But the con is that you are a generalist after med school unlike dentistry which makes you specialize in the dental field from the start. So let’s now focus on dentistry.
Dental School Program
Dental schools teach general subjects about the human body, but they don’t tend to go in depth over them. The major focus in dentistry is the human teeth and their ailments. So, it is always very hard to compare dentistry with medicine. Dentistry should be in fact be compared with podiatry, optometry, pharm D etc. As these fields are also specialized from the start just like dentistry. Dentistry should be considered a specialized field in all respects. The major subjects in dentistry include :
- Dental Materials
- General Pathology
- Oral Anatomy
- Oral Embryology
- Oral Histology
- Oral Physiology
- Oral Biology & Tooth Morphology
- Dental Pharmacology
- Community & Preventive Dentistry
- Conservative Dentistry
- Oral Medicine
- Endodontic Dentistry
- Orthodontics & Dental Radiology
- General Surgery
- Operative Dentistry
- Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
- Crown & Bridge etc.
As is evident from the list a major focus is placed on the specialized dental care from the start. Dental school is also a four year program in most countries compared to the five year med school program. But in the US the number of years of school will mostly remain the same.
Medical school costs and acceptance rate
Medical schools costs will be around 250,000$ to 300,000$ depending on the school prestige and area. Your average living costs will be way higher, which will come on top of this. The average price of med school comes out to be around 450,000$ to 525,000$. If you can live frugally you would probably end up around 450,000$ at minimum. So you need to decide whether you want to take on this much debt or not. The acceptance rate of medical schools is far lower than dental schools. But there are many more medical schools than dental schools. So the average competition between both the fields comes out to be just about the same.
Dental school costs and acceptance rate
Total student fees for four years can be as much as $425,466 to $550,932 including living expenses. I have written an in-depth analysis of the costs in this article. So, it is about the same as med school. The acceptance rate is higher (varies from state to state), but as I said earlier lower number of dental schools in the country mean almost the same competition in a nutshell.
If you are still confused about dentistry you can check out our article Is Dentistry a good career ? for examples about the pros and cons of dentistry as a career. For knowledge about which schools to apply for dentistry check out this article.
Both med school and dental school are different fields altogether. They may be both on offer after MCAT but that doesn’t mean their focus is the same. One focuses on the whole body while the other only on the human teeth.