Career Motivations, Perceptions of the Future of Dentistry and Preferred Dental Specialties Among Saudi Dental Students

Hassan S Halawany*
Department of Periodontics and Community Dentistry, College of Dentistry, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia

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© Hassan S. Halawany; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Periodontics and Community Dentistry, College of Dentistry, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia; Tel: +966 555415198, +966 4677401; Fax: +966 14698817; E-mail address:



The purpose of this study was to determine the career motivations, perceptions of the future of dentistry and preferred postgraduate specialties of Saudi dental students.


A pretested, self-administered, 16-item questionnaire was distributed to first- through fifth-year dental students at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. Descriptive statistics were calculated, and the level of significance was set at 5%.


Of the 530 potential participants, 329 students (198 male and 131 female respondents) completed the questionnaire. High professional status (71.4%), a secure career (67.8%), a high income (78.1%), flexible working hours (54.4%), a wide range of career options after graduation (59.3%), opportunities for self-employment (69.3%) and good job opportunities abroad (65.3%) were endorsed to a great/considerable extent by the respondents. “It takes time to establish a practice” (62.3%), “Postgraduate education is a necessity” (72.4%) and “The increasing number of dental institutions is a threat to the profession” (59.3%) were endorsed to a great or considerable extent by the respondents. The most popular specialty among the male students was oral maxillofacial surgery (20.1%) and among female students was operative dentistry (23.4%).


The career motivations of this group of dental students seemed to relate to socioeconomic aspects of dentistry and perceptions of the future of dentistry seemed to relate to the need for postgraduate education.

Keywords: Career choice, dental specialties, dental students, motivation, perspectives, questionnaires, Saudi Arabia.