During the years following graduation you should aim to gain a broad range of experience and knowledge by completing a variety of training posts. Particularly, completion of foundation training and the MJDF/MFDS examination are likely to be highly important for a successful application to specialist training posts. Additional aspects, such as audit completion, poster presentations, publications and attaining prizes and awards, are all invaluable. This will allow you to build and develop a strong CV for any future career pathway but is particularly important for the competitive arena of specialist training.
Most specialist training programmes are a minimum of three years and demand a degree of personal and financial sacrifice. You need to choose the right specialty and institution of study and decide whether to study full or part-time.
On completion of the training programme and passing all the relevant exams, you will be provided with a Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training (CCST) by the General Dental Council. This will give you the opportunity to join the specialist list and use the title ‘specialist’. But this is not the end of the journey: finding and managing the right dental practice and establishing and building your reputation and patient base is just as challenging, if not more, than the training programme itself.
Once you are established, the rewards of being in control of your time and providing a high standard of care using the latest techniques, equipment and materials, as well as working with other specialist colleagues, will give you immense job satisfaction and help you to enhance and maintain your professional interest over a 40 to 50 year career.