Whether you’re still studying to become a dentist, opening up your first practice, or you’ve been patching up cavities for years now, we have some good news for you – you’ve picked a great profession! U.S. News recently ranked dentistry as the No. 1 profession in the country. With dentists earning some of the top salaries in the medical field and reporting above-average job satisfaction,it’s easy to see why. But true as this might be for the average dentist, not all of them are finding it quite so easy, and the reason might be as simple as location.
Due to factors like cost of living, confidence in the economy, and availability of affordable insurance in certain areas, some states and regions are better for working dentists than others. Earlier this year the Dental Products Report (DPR) ranked all 50 states to determine the worst and best states to be a dentist. To do this, they looked at 10 overall factors, including median income, education level of patients, overall well-being and the percentage of population who visited the dentist within the past year. Some of the results were quite surprising.
We’ll start with the good news first. According to the DPR, the very best state to practice dentistry is, you guessed it, Minnesota! OK maybe you didn’t guess it, but it’s true. With strong economic confidence, an extremely low rate of uninsured residents (7.4 percent), and 75 percent of the population reporting that they’d visited the dentist in the past year, the North Star State might just be America’s dental paradise. Coming in at a close second is Iowa. While Minnesota boasts a higher median income than Iowa, the Hawkeye State actually has an even lower rate of uninsured residents. That, plus a relatively high education level, makes it a great place to practice dentistry. With an even lower rate of uninsured residents (only 6 percent), the number three spot goes to Hawaii (as if you really needed another reason to go to Hawaii). Nebraska’s low cost of living and high economic confidence earned it the number four spot, while above average median incomes put Virginia in at number five.
Now for the bottom five. The wavin’ wheat might smell sweet in Oklahoma, but ranked at number 45, with an extremely high rate of uninsured residents (a whopping 47 percent to be exact), the Sooner State might not be such a sweet place for dentists. And you might want to think twice before you pack your drill and head down to Graceland, because low median incomes and high rates of uninsured residents earned Tennessee the number 46 spot on the DPR’s list. And it doesn’t get much better for the south after that. West Virginia takes number 47 with its last-place rankings in overall well-being and economic confidence. Arkansas and Mississippi earned the number 48 and 49 rankings with their respective last and second-to-last-place rankings in recent dental visits. And coming in dead last, with low rankings in just about every category on the list, is Louisiana. But don’t worry Bayou State, you’ve still got Mardi Gras, right?
Protecting Your Income
No matter where you decide to live and work, it’s always important to protect your income with disability insurance. Whether you’re practicing in Minneapolis or Baton Rouge, if illness or injury put you out of work, disability insurance can provide a valuable safety net to keep you and your family living the lifestyle your occupation has provided for them. Talk to a disability insurance specialist today to discuss the occupation-specific benefits that are available to dentists.