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Top 10 Most Expensive U.S. Dental Schools in 2024

According to the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), the average dental school debt is over $300,000. Although there are cheaper ways to earn your dental degree in the US, many schools charge a lot.

This brings us to the list of the most expensive dental schools in the United States. This article reviewed the top 10 most costly dental schools in 2024.

Without further ado, let’s dive into it.

The most expensive dental school in the United States is Arthur A. Dugoni Dental School. University of the Pacific Dental School has been among the top 3 most expensive dental schools in the nation for over five years.

Its tuition is over $100,000 annually, and other costs like Instrument Management System Fee, Dental Equipment/Textbooks, Health Insurance, etc., make attending the Doctor of Dental Surgery program so expensive.

The Most Expensive Dental Schools in the US

These are some of the most expensive dental schools in the United States in 2024. Note that tuition may change concerning inflation or other factors.

1. Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry

Arthur Dugoni Dentistry College

Location: Sacramento, California

Tuition: $124,185

Arthur A. Dugoni Dental School of the University of the Pacific is the only dental school in the US where you can complete your dental education in three years. However, this comes at the cost of over $500k.

Dugoni Dental School has about 653 students and residents and offers accredited dental degrees in 7 academic programs. The institution’s dental clinic receives more than 100,000 patients annually.

2. Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC

University of Southern California

Location: Los Angeles, California

Tuition: $113,739

Since its creation in 1897, the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of the University of Southern California has produced outstanding dental professionals. The school is one of the most expensive dental schools in the United States.

Herman Ostrow Dental School is recognized across all states across America and is fully accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).

3. New York University College of Dentistry

New york medical college

Location: New York City, New York

Tuition: $98,892

New York University College of Dentistry is one of the largest and oldest dental schools in the United States. The school is also known for its expensive cost of attendance, making it one of the most costly dental schools.

It is worth noting that almost 10% of the nation’s dental professionals studied at NYU dental school. Their dental clinic has about 300,000 patient visits annually and offers clinical treatments at subsidized costs.

4. Boston University Dental School

Boston University Dental School

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Tuition: $91,500

Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine at Boston University is a renowned urban research institution and one of the most expensive dental schools in the nation.

Starting from their first year, students will gain hands-on clinical experience and participate in the University’s tradition of community outreach programs. GSDM has over 700 students enrolled in accredited pre-doctoral and post-doctoral programs.

5. Tufts University School of Dental Medicine

Tufts Dental school

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Tuition: $91,056

Tufts University School of Dental Medicine is committed to providing students with the best dental education they can get.

Their Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM) program is designed to meet dental license requirements in the US. Tufts Dental Clinic serves over 6,500 patients in different locations across the state.

6. Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine – Arizona

Midwestern dental school

Location: Glendale, Arizona

Tuition: $88,612

Midwestern College of Dental Medicine – Arizona offers students a life-changing opportunity to build a successful career in the dental industry. Upon graduation, students are ready to start working as a dentist.

CDMA encourages diversity, advocates teamwork, and focuses on a general dentistry curriculum. The school is one of the most expensive dental schools in the US and has a graduation rate of 100%.

7. The University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

UPenn Dental

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tuition: $86,448

I would say it’s not surprising to see an Ivy League school among the most expensive dental schools. The University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine, is one of the oldest dental schools in the country.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in dentistry, Penn Dental may be the right choice for you, provided you are rich.

8. Loma Linda School of Dentistry

Loma Linda school of dentistry

Location: Loma Linda, California

Tuition: $82,701

Since its inception in 1953, the Loma Linda School of Dentistry has produced competent and passionate dental professionals who contribute to its mission. The school is part of an international Christian organization whose teachings are based on the Christian faith.

Loma Linda Dental School offers a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree and other accredited degrees/certificates in the dental field. If you think spending almost half a million dollars on dental education is worth it, you may apply to this school.

9. Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Harvard University Cambridge

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Tuition: $69,300

Founded in 1867, the Harvard School of Dental Medicine is known for producing some of the best dental doctors in the country. The school believes in compassion, fairness, and trust.

Like Harvard Law School, HSDM has over 15 scholarships and grants for DMD students. Note that international students are not eligible for these scholarships.

The Harvard Dental School’s Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM) program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Also, in 1948, HSDM received accreditation from the American Dental Association.

10. UNLV School of Dental Medicine

UNLV school of dental medicine

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Tuition: $57,334

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine, is Nevada’s only accredited dental school. It offers eight academic degrees and advanced certificate programs in dentistry.

UNLV Dental School is very selective when it comes to admissions. The school receives more than 1800 applications annually.

Are these dental schools worth the cost?

Are expensive dental schools worth it? Short answer: No. Going to an expensive dental school is a bad idea unless your parents are wealthy and willing to invest in your dental education. Trust me; it’s not worth it.

Why? More than 90% of dental students can’t complete their education without some form of student loan or financial aid. If you spend so much on dental education, you may not get out of debt until your 40s (if you are lucky) or 50s.

OK, let’s do some analysis here.

The average debt for public dental schools is around $250k – $300k. For private schools, it’s around $400k – $500k, and around $600k or more for overpriced dental schools.

The average dental salary is around $146k, and the entry-level is $49,996. With a tax rate of 24%, if you are single, you are left with about $110,960.

If your debt is, let’s say, $250k, paying 10% of your monthly income means you are paying $1,216/month. This will increase with time.

Assuming you pay about $12k annually, paying off this debt will take about 20 years and some months. It can be less if you have your student loans forgiven.

I hope you get the point now. Your dental specialty means a lot here since some are paid more than others. For example, orthodontists are paid more than general dentists.

If you intend to study at an expensive dental school, there are ways to pay off your student loans faster. Some of these include but are not limited to:

  1. You own your practice. Although most dental students have no interest in starting their private practice, this is the best way to pay off your student loans.
  2. Applying for federal scholarships.
  3. Joining the military or the National Health Service Corps programs.
  4. Starting a side hustle or business.

Why is Dental school so expensive?

Dental school is expensive because:

  1. Training a dental student in the US costs about $100,000/year.
  2. Dentistry is among the best professions in the country.
  3. Dental equipment and technology are expensive.
  4. Most universities find it hard to break even or profit from dental clinics.
  5. Running a dental clinic is extremely expensive. Universities must build the clinics, hire staff, and supply them with the required equipment.
  6. Lastly, the demand is high. Most dental schools know that pre-dents will stop at nothing to study their dream course. Also, they know that the government is always ready to hand out loans to these students regardless of their expensive tuition and fees.

Due to some of the reasons outlined above, dental schools are more expensive than medical and veterinary schools in the United States.

Let’s put the money aside. Becoming a dentist is no child’s play. It’s a life-changing decision that utilizes your time, money, and energy and can impact other areas of your life.

Hopefully, you now know some of America’s most expensive dental schools. What you do with this information is up to you.

There are lots of successful dentists out there who go to cheap dental schools. It’s not about paying almost a million dollars to get your dental degree. It’s about what you can do with the knowledge and experience gained.

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