Dentists have something to smile about. They have the best job in the country, according to a U.S. News & World Report study. The study ranked the top 100 jobs of 2013 based on the number of openings, the chance to advance and be professionally fulfilled, and the ability to meet financial obligations.
With an overall score of 8.4 out of 10 and an unemployment rate of just .7%, the dental profession outranked other top 10 jobs, including registered nurse, pharmacist and web developer.
Dentistry is a growing field with predicted employment growth of about 21% between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. More than 27,000 job openings for dentists are expected during that time. And with a median salary of $142,740 (in 2011), it is one of the highest paying healthcare professions.
This is all great news for insurers and consumers who will benefit from more choices of dental providers and – as many will open private offices – more access points.
As of November 2012, there were more than 195,000 professionally active dentists in the U.S., as reported on statehealthfacts.org, a Kaiser Family Foundation project. A NetMinder data analysis of dental PPO trends shows that these providers are joining more insurance networks, and their number of reported practice locations is growing.
In March 2012, the average national dental PPO network contracted with more than 72,000 unique dentists, up 8.7% from the prior year. If the number of dentists in the U.S. continues to grow, they won’t be the only ones smiling; consumers and insurance companies will be glad to see more providers and more practice locations in their insurance networks.