Search for school

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon: Education and Career Information

An Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon is a specialist dealing with the diagnosis and surgical aspect of disease, injury and defects of the facial region. They are an orthopedic surgeon. This type of surgeon handles all aspects of this area, including dental work, such as impacted teeth, to more serious situations involving facial trauma. This role has a number of years of school to complete before becoming an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

What does an oral and maxillofacial surgeon do?

An oral and maxillofacial surgeon performs surgery on the mouth and jaws. They can correct birth defects, perform facial reconstructions, and remove teeth. This is not the same as a dental surgeon, and this role is trained to do only a certain amount of surgery in the mouth. This type of surgeon has an additional four to six years of training and are highly trained in their areas. This type of surgeon will perform a more complex extraction, such as wisdom teeth. They also perform jaw surgery, dental implants and the removal of oral cancer, or benign tumors and cysts. These types of surgeons are unique in their specialty, as they have an additional four years in a hospital residency program for surgery after completing dental school. They are trained in emergency medicine, anesthesiology and general surgery. You will find oral and maxillofacial surgeons in large medical centers, hospitals and dental practices.

How much does an oral and maxillofacial surgeon earn?

The average salary for an oral and maxillofacial surgeon is about $218,960, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013), which can go as high as $240,400. This is dependent on education, experience, location and the type of practice. Private practice consultant surgeons usually make more on the higher pay range.

What types of skills are needed to become an oral surgeon?

There are a number of skills needed to be successful as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon:

Steady hands: This role has the oral surgeon on their feet for long periods of time. They must be able to have stamina and steady hands that remain calm in difficult situations.

Complex Problem Solving: As a surgeon, this role must be able to identify complex problems and work quickly to evaluate them to make effective decisions for the best solution.

Reading comprehension: This role should be able to read clearly for comprehension and apply the information learned to assist with decision making.

Critical thinking: This role must use logic and reasoning to identify areas of strength and weakness, considering alternative solutions and approaches to problems they encounter.

Speaking: This job requires speaking with a number of people at different times and on different levels. The oral and maxillofacial surgeon should be able to convey information to all these audiences in an effective way.

Active learning: The oral surgeon must understand any implications of their decisions as they integrate new information into their scope of work.

Monitoring: The surgeon must be able to monitor the patient as they are working to make sure there are no complications occurring.

Observational skills: Study and observation work hand-in-hand. The surgeon must have excellent observational skills in order to properly assess and diagnose patients, making adjustments as required.

Management of Personnel Resources: An oral and maxillofacial surgeon works with others to get the data they need. This role must be able to stand as a leader and effectively manage people and resources to ensure the safety of all patients.

Internship Requirements

Internship requirements vary based on school, state and program. Dental school requires a certain amount of internship hours prior to graduation. Once the student completes dental school, they will have to complete a hospital-based surgical residency program which is at minimum, four years.

Education Requirements

This is a highly specialized position, so the educational component is crucial. On average, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon has about 12 to 14 years of schooling prior to beginning their practice in the field. In order to pursue a career as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, the student must enroll into a pre-dental program, or obtain a bachelor’s degree. Most students opt toward getting their bachelor’s degree, which is four years. A pre-dental program will contain coursework in science, biology, health, mathematics and chemistry.

Once the four year degree has been obtained, the student must attend dental school, which is an additional four years. This will help confer the degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). In dental school, students will treat patients in a supervised setting to gain clinical and practical experience. Once dental school has been completed, a surgical residency program in a hospital is required. This will take another four to six years to complete. During this time, students usually pursue another advanced degree, or complete fellowships in a sub-specialty area.

After completion of the surgical residency, surgeons take a written and oral exam to become board certified in oral and maxillofacial surgery. Many oral and maxillofacial surgeons have both specialties – that of a dentist and a medical doctor. There are a number of programs that provide training in both concurrently, which also confers a medical degree in addition to the Doctor of Dental Surgery. This route is usually six years. Pursuing a Ph.D. may also be an option that is of interest.

This is a very challenging, yet interesting field to work in. Although they work long hours and may be under a lot of pressure at times, the work is varied enough to keep the surgeon learning at all times. If you are someone who enjoys learning new skills and procedures, and you have a vested interest in assisting people in restoring their ability to function normally in the facial region, this could be a great role. In addition, this is a very lucrative position that continuously grows based on experience. Going into this profession should be a serious consideration that takes a lot of thought, as the financial sacrifice in schooling is great.

Scholarships for Students Interested in Becoming a Surgeon

Bill Kane Undergraduate Scholarship CANfit Program Scholarships Gates Millenium Scholarship
The Hispanic Health Professional Student Scholarship The Leopold Schepp Foundation Scholarship The Marion B. Pollock Fellowship
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Undergraduate Scholarship Tylenol Future Care Scholarship Gallagher Health Careers Scholarship

Full Sail University

Push Your Creativity To The Next Level

Programs:

  • Cloud Technologies Bachelors - Online
  • Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online)
  • Entertainment Business, Master of Science (Online)
  • And more...

Purdue University Global

Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.

Programs:

  • BS in Business Administration
  • MS in Accounting - Audit Specialization
  • AAS in Criminal Justice
  • And more...

Colorado Technical University Online

A degree from CTU connects you to what matters most: powerful professional network, real-world professional faculty and innovative technology. Once you earn your degree you hit the ground running.

Programs:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN completion)
  • Master of Science in Information Technology - Network Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Human Services
  • And more...

Regent University

Regent University prepares students with the knowledge to excel and the faith to live with purpose.

Programs:

  • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership - Organizational Leadership
  • Master of Business Administration - Leadership
  • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction - Teacher Leader
  • And more...

Claremont Graduate University

Claremont Graduate University (CGU) has been awarding master’s and doctoral degrees for nearly 100 years. 

Programs:

  • Masters of Science in Evaluation & Applied Research
  • Masters of Science in Marketing Analytics

MPH@UNC

MPH@UNC is the online Master of Public Health (MPH) program from the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, which is ranked the No. 1 public school of public health and No. 2 school of public health on U.S. News’ list, most recently published in 2015. The program offers a Leadership in Practice concentration and can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. GRE, GMAT or MCAT scores are required.

Programs:

  • Online Master of Public Health

Ultimate Medical Academy Online

Ultimate Medical Academy is a nonprofit healthcare career school—and students are at the heart of everything we do. That’s why we offer exclusive student services through your career training and beyond, beginning from the time you enroll online or at our campus in Clearwater, FL. We’ll also guide you toward the right program for your goals, and help you understand the affordability of your career training. So let us know you’re interested, and we’ll discuss how UMA can help you succeed.

 

Gainful employment information can be found at UltimateMedical.edu/gainful-employment and includes information on tuition, loan debt, completion, placement, and occupations.

Programs:

  • A.S. - Healthcare Information Technology
  • A.S.- Health Sciences (Pharmacy Technician)
  • A.S. - Medical Billing & Coding
  • And more...

Tulane University - Online

Programs:

  • Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Management
  • Master of Professional Studies in Information Technology Management

Regis College

As a leader in education, Regis is dedicated to offering programs with a holistic view of health services that are designed for the future of the field. Through cutting-edge coursework, industry-active faculty members, and an array of majors and graduate programs, Regis has been able to positively impact the educational community, health services landscape, and personal lives of students nationwide.

Programs:

  • Online Master of Social Work
  • Online Master of Public Health - Epidemiology Concentration
  • Online Master of Public Health
  • And more...

University of Denver - MBA

The Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver has offered a top-quality business education since 1908. 

Programs:

  • Master of Business Administration

Syracuse Communications

The online M.S. in Communications from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University will equip you with communications fundamentals and allow you to choose from three specializations.

Programs:

  • Master of Science in Communications

New England College - Online

Work toward your graduate degree with New England College Online.

Programs:

  • MS in Management/Project Management
  • Master of Science in Accounting
  • MS in Management/Non-Profit Leadership
  • And more...

Keiser University Graduate School

Since 1977, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career-focused education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.  Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience.

Programs:

  • Accountancy with a concentration in General Accounting
  • Master of Business Administration, MBA - International Business
  • Master of Arts in Homeland Security
  • And more...

Purdue University Global

Building on Purdue's mission to provide greater access to affordable, world-class education, Purdue University Globaldelivers a fully personalized online experience that's tailored to working adults.

Programs:

  • BS in Business Administration
  • MS in Accounting - Audit Specialization
  • AAS in Criminal Justice
  • And more...

Related Post