Reasons for choosing dentistry as a career among dental students in Saudi Arabia
275 - 280
European Journal of Dentistry
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Objective: This study aimed to identify reasons and influential factors for choosing dentistry as a career among dental students in Saudi Arabia. The preferred field of dental specialty following graduation will also be investigated. Materials and Methods: A questionnaire was developed and circulated among undergraduate dental students studying at a private dental college in Saudi Arabia. A list of 16 reasons that possibly influenced students’ decision to study dentistry was presented and participants were invited to indicate on a 5-point Likert scale the extent each reason influenced their choice of dentistry as a career. The listed reasons were categorized into economic, professional, vocational, social and personal reasons. Results: Totally, 788 out of 970 questionnaires were completed (response rate: 81%). Proportion of female students exceeded proportion of male students (59% and 41%, respectively) and most participants were Saudi students (73%). The top three influential factors on students’ decision to study dentistry were “Dentistry is a prestigious profession,” “I like to treat people and improve their appearance,” and “I like working with people and caring for them.” Variations were identified between male and female students and also between Saudi and non‑Saudi students in the reasons to choose dentistry as a career. The vast majority of participants (94%) expressed a desire to follow a postgraduate study. Orthodontics and oral surgery were the most preferred dental specialties. Conclusion: The social and vocational reasons were the main factors that motivated this group of dental students to attend a dental program. Greater training opportunities should be planned to accommodate the speculated increasing demand for postgraduate dental education in Saudi Arabia.