Format of Original
American Dental Education Association
Journal of Dental Education
The rising costs associated with obtaining a dental education have caused some to question the financial benefit of pursuing a dental degree. There is a concern that recent graduates may have difficulty finding professional opportunities that provide the income necessary to service their accumulated educational debt. The aim of this study was to evaluate the trends in educational costs to aid in making an accurate appraisal of the financial benefit of a dental education. Adjusted into constant dollar terms, data from a variety of sources were collected for economic variables such as tuition, fees, student indebtedness, and dentists’ earnings. These variables were then analyzed to determine the true costs and benefits of obtaining a dental education. The results showed that, over the course of the last decade, educational costs increased faster than the real net income of practicing dentists, which led to a decline in the return on investment in dental education. However, regardless of an applicant’s choice of public or private dental school, there continues to be a positive economic return on students’ commitment of both financial resources and time to receive a dental education.