From as early as your first-year post-qualification, you may consider further qualifications to progress your career. The MJDF (Membership of the Joint Dental Faculties) and the MFDS (Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery) are postgraduate diplomas which are undertaken as a first step on the career pathway for dentists.
Achieving one of these diplomas verifies that you have gained the standard and level of experience expected after two years of full-time work. The syllabus for both exams is based on the Dental Foundation Training Curriculum, and a large part of the knowledge and experience necessary for the exam will therefore be acquired during vocational or dental foundation training.
1. Why should I take them?
If you look at the websites of any of the royal colleges you will see a plethora of reasons as to why you should firstly take the exam, and secondly, take the exam at their particular college. Reasons include:
- Career development: although MFDS/MJDF is not mandatory to gain entry to specialist training
- Enhanced job prospects
- Entry to medical school
- Set yourself apart from others
- To gain some more letters after your name
Perhaps one of the most important reasons is for future job prospects. Having MFDS or MJDF might help you get the job. Additionally, it can also help to set yourself apart from the crowd.
2. How much do they cost?
Remember to check with your accountant about your ability to claim back these fees against tax, however we all know that looking at the numbers is not the whole story. Colleges will also offer revision courses which may come with exam discount, don’t just consider the cost of the exam.
3. Where can I take the exams?
As all fans of Kirstie and Phil know, location has a big impact in our choices in life. All colleges are looking to expand their scope of locations. The table below is a not exhaustive list and in no particular order. A quick trip to the college websites will show you there are many more overseas centres too.
So, wherever you live there is probably an exam centre near you. I think it is highly unlikely that we will be able to see the same variety of locations for part two: an exam paper can be sat anywhere but moving an OSCE and a load of actors around is more of a challenge!
4. Membership fees: whatyou'll need to pay each year
To keep your newly gained letters after your name, you will need to pay your chosen college each year for the privilege. As you can see above this varies quite vastly depending on where you live and between each college. Perhaps this is something to consider alongside exam fees - which qualification will cost more in the end?
It’s not all about the money though, the best college for you may be the most expensive one. Which one will offer you most value for money? The lists on the college websites are fairly generic – all giving you access to college libraries and research grants. You can also receive discounts on hotel rooms, tailored shirts and banking benefits. Some colleges enable you to take one exam and become a member of two colleges, whilst others offer CPD opportunities.
5. How quickly can I start?
Each college has a differing policy on when you can take the various parts of the qualification. For MJDF, you are only able to take part 2 once you have completed 12 months of postgraduate experience – so once you have finished Dental Foundation Training or Vocational Training.
Both the MFDS and the MJDF have their merits, to my current knowledge neither is seen as better than the other and it is not especially beneficial to take both. Each college will say their exam is the best, but it must be an individual decision at the end of the day.