Education and Training Requirements

High School

If you are interested in becoming an endodontist, you can begin preparing with a course of study emphasizing math and science subjects. Algebra, trigonometry, calculus, physics, biology, chemistry, and health are all helpful to prepare for college course work. Business, accounting, and economics courses will also help if you decide to run a private practice later on in your career.

Postsecondary Training

To enter dental school, you generally need significant college course work in the sciences, a bachelor's degree, and a good score on the Dental Admissions Test, or DAT. After completing four years of dental school, dentists who want to specialize in endodontics attend a two- to three-year graduate training program.

Endodontics programs in the United States and Canada are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Visit the American Association of Endodontists' Web site, https://www.aae.org/specialty/education-events/academics/advanced-programs-in-endodontics, for links to nearly 60 training programs.

Other Education or Training

The American Association of Endodontists provides continuing education (CE) opportunities at association-sponsored events and via online courses. Recent online classes included An Evidence-Based Approach to Treating Endodontic Pain and Rotary Instrumentation: An Endodontic Perspective. The American Dental Association also offer CE classes, webinars, and seminars. Contact these organizations for more information. 

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

All 50 states and the District of Columbia require dentists to be licensed before they can practice. Most states require that dentists graduate from an accredited dental school and pass written and practical examinations. Individual state licensing boards administer the tests for licensure.

Nearly 20 states require endodontists to obtain a separate specialty license. To be able to practice as a specialist, dentists must graduate from an accredited postgraduate program and pass additional state examinations. Many state licenses allow dentists to practice both in their specialty and in general dentistry. 

Board certification available through the American Board of Endodontics (ABE) is independent of state licensing requirements. To achieve ABE diplomate status, endodontists must file an application with the ABE, be interviewed and approved as a candidate, pass written and oral examinations, and provide written endodontic case histories. To maintain their status, endodontists must renew their certification every 10 years. ABE diplomate status is sought voluntarily by endodontists to show excellence in their abilities.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

There is no way to obtain direct experience in endodontics until dental school, but in high school it's a good idea to take as many health and science classes as possible and participate in science clubs. During dental school, you'll participate in practicums and internships, which will provide introductory experience in various dental specialties.  

Endodontists, more than most dentists, must have superb hand-eye coordination and the ability to do finely detailed work. As procedures and technology change, practicing endodontists must continue lifelong learning. They stay up to date on advances in their specialty by taking continuing education courses each year. Also, because many dentists own their own practices, knowledge of business practices is beneficial.