What to Expect
Navy Dentists can enjoy an accelerated career experience working at the best military dental facilities on shore, at sea and in the field. Specifically, you may be called upon to:
- Practice basic dentistry on military service members and their families, including checkups, cavity fillings and preventive care
- Work with cutting-edge dental technology, such as digital X-ray systems and innovative dental restoration materials
- Participate in domestic outreach to the young, elderly and underprivileged
- Join humanitarian missions to introduce oral care to parts of the world in need
Navy Dental Corps Officers may serve at any one of more than 250 Navy and medical facilities around the globe, from Hawaii to Japan, Germany to Guam, and Washington, D.C., to Washington state. As a Navy Dentist, you could work at one of the highly acclaimed National Naval Medical Centers in Bethesda, MD, Portsmouth, VA, or San Diego, CA. Or you could provide medical support aboard one of two dedicated hospital ships—the USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy. Additional opportunities are available on surface ships, with aircraft squadrons, or even with the Fleet Marine Force.
Training & Advancement
Upon graduating from dental school, those pursuing a Dentist position are required to attend Officer Development School (ODS) in Newport, RI. ODS is a five-week program that provides a comprehensive and intense introduction to the responsibilities of Navy Staff Corps Officers. Here you will learn about the military structure of the U.S. Navy, its rich history of traditions and customs, leadership development and military etiquette.
For your initial tour of duty, you could be assigned to a multi-specialty dental clinic or a large teaching hospital. This could be followed by an operational assignment with the Navy Construction Battalion (“Seabees”) or Fleet Marine Forces (FMF). However, other assignments are possible.
Advanced Training Opportunities
After the conclusion of your first tour, you become eligible to pursue specialized training “tracks” in the areas of Administration, Clinical Training, Operational Training and Education.
Many Dentists choose to pursue specialization through clinical residency training. This allows you to become an expert in a particular field of dentistry, such as Endodontics, Prosthodontics and others. Most specialties require a minimum of two years of additional training after dental school. Specialties include:
- Advanced Clinical Programs – Exodontia
- Advanced Clinical Programs – General
- Comprehensive Dentistry
- Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
- Oral Pathology
- Orofacial Pain
- Pediatric Dentistry
- Public Health Dentistry
Promotion opportunities are regularly available but competitive and based on performance.
It’s also important to note that specialized training received and work experience gained in the course of service can lead to valuable credentialing and occupational opportunities in the field of dentistry.
Wherever you are in your dental career, the Navy can help ease your financial burdens and advance your career with generous scholarships, financial assistance and continuing education programs. Plus, if you’re a student or resident, you can concentrate on your education or training with no military/training obligation until after your program is completed.
Through the Navy Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) you could receive full tuition coverage for the cost of dental school and related expenses. Additionally, through the Navy Health Services Collegiate Program (HSCP), you could receive up to $269,000 while attending dental school to help cover the cost of tuition and expenses.
The Navy Financial Assistance Program (FAP) offers potentially more than $275,000 during your dental residency, consisting of annual grants, monthly stipends and expense reimbursement.
Practicing Dentists can receive a sign-on bonus up to $300,000. Request a medical recruiter contact you for complete offer details.
Qualifications & Requirements
A degree from a four-year college or university is a minimum educational requirement to become a Commissioned Officer. You must also attend Officer Training. There may be exceptions to the degree requirements based on extensive service experience. Additional qualifications include:
- U.S. Citizen between the ages of 21 and 41
- Currently licensed and practicing dentistry in the U.S. (new graduates must obtain a license within one year of beginning Active Duty service)
- Graduate of an American Dental Association-approved dental school
- Willing to serve a minimum of three years Active Duty
- In good physical condition and able to pass a full medical examination
General qualifications may vary depending upon whether you’re currently serving, whether you’ve served before or whether you’ve never served before.
Serving part-time as a Navy Reserve Sailor, your duties will be carried out during your scheduled drilling and training periods. During monthly drilling, Dentists in the Navy Reserve typically work at a location close to their homes. This gives you the flexibility to expand your dental experience in the Navy without compromising your civilian practice at home.
For annual training, dentists may serve anywhere in the world, whether at sea, in hospitals stateside, or in bases and camps in countries around the world.
Take a moment to learn more about the general roles and responsibilities of Navy Reserve Sailors.
Most of what you do in the Navy Reserve is considered training. The basic Navy Reserve commitment involves training a minimum of one weekend a month (referred to as drilling) and two weeks a year (referred to as Annual Training) – or the equivalent.
Dentists in the Navy Reserve serve in an Officer role. Before receiving the ongoing professional training that comes with this job, initial training requirements must first be met.
For current or former Navy Officers (NAVET): Prior experience satisfies the initial leadership training requirement, so you will not need to go through Officer Training again.
For current or former Officers of military branches other than the Navy (OSVET), as well as for Officer candidates without prior military experience: Officer Candidates are required to attend Officer Development School (ODS) in Newport, RI. ODS is a five-week program that provides a comprehensive and intense introduction to the responsibilities of Navy Staff Corps Officers. Officers who previously held a commission in another United States Military Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Public Health Service, or United States Coast Guard are exempt from attending ODS or LDO/CWO Academy.
With flexible training options, Navy Reserve Dental Officers can comfortably balance civilian and military schedules. You can maintain your own life and your own practice – enriching both with the rewarding work you do for others.
The Navy Dental Corps offers you a truly diverse variety of academic, clinical and operational settings in which to practice. In some cases, you can even work in the same civilian setting you work in now. What’s more, you will enjoy an unrivaled sense of pride and fulfillment known only to those who serve.
As a Navy Reserve Sailor in the Navy Dental Corps, you’ll receive a first-rate benefits package including your choice of either $50,000 per year in specialty pay, up to $250,000 in medical school loan repayment assistance, or an immediate one-time sign-on bonus of up to $10,000. Reservists joining the Navy Dental Corps as residents can get up to $250,000 in dental school loan repayment assistance as well as a monthly stipend, dependent upon service commitment. Contact a Navy Reserve Medical Officer Recruiter for complete offer details.