Observation Experience

The UMKC School of Dentistry suggests candidates observe for a minimum of 100 hours in at least five different dental offices, and they give preference to candidates who have worked in a dental office.
You can begin by arranging an informational interview and a day or two of shadowing experience with your own dentist, and you can search for other dentists to ask in the area. When you really click with a dentist, shadowing sometimes sets the occasion for an, "Oh, by the way, I'm looking to hire someone to help with reception or billing this summer," conversation, which in turn sets up the possibility of getting trained to assist.

There are many other ways to gain experience. The UMKC School of Dentistry has extended a standing invitation to shadow dental students in their clinic. To make a reservation, call 1-800-776-8652.


Part of dentistry is applied science, and it's helpful to know how this knowledge is developed. Working on a research project is also a good way to earn a substantial recommendation letter from a faculty member who knows you well. Most students volunteer their help, some earn directed study credit, and a very few are paid for their assistance. To get involved, you can start at the Center for Undergraduate Research.

Volunteering and Social Service

In addition to dentistry experiences, dental schools, including UMKC, emphasize a demonstrated commitment to social service. You can find opportunities through Volunteer Douglas County , Volunteer Match, and the KU Center for Community Outreach.

Especially if you have some experience working in a dental practice, you might be interested in volunteering at the Douglas County Dental Clinic. They need volunteer dental assistants and experienced office staff to help provide services at the clinic. KU students also regularly volunteer to help with the Kansas and Missouri Missions of Mercy, annual events in which many dental professional and volunteers gather to serve many people, who cannot afford dental care.

University Career Center

Entry into a dental program includes interviewing with the school of your choice. When you get an invitation to interview, practice with the University Career Center! You may want to get started by using a pre-built medical school mock interview available in HireJayhawks.com (Type "medical" in the keyword box to access it.) To schedule an in-person practice interview, call 785-864-3624 or schedule online. Need an outfit for your interview? Visit The P.H.O.G.

The UCC can also help you put together a resume to apply for dental assistant positions. Then, search for local dental offices. Introduce yourself, and leave a resume that they can keep on file. Check back every semester or so, to update your resume, and let them know you're still interested in a position. Also, let your friends and family know  you're looking for a job as a dental assistant. 

Writing Center

Most Dentistry programs require supplemental applications, and personal comments essays and/or personal statements. When you finish a draft we recommend you meet with the Writing Center to review! Call 785-864-2399 to schedule a review with a consultant.

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