Postgraduate Study is More Accessible than Ever
Wolfgang Richter - DDS, PhD, FESCD
Editorial Board Smile Dental Journal
Vice President BAIRD
Honorary President ESCD
The truth is, there are merits for and against postgraduate education. Obviously it is a huge investment in time and money but it is also a sure-fire way to differentiate yourself and your practice.
Postgraduate studies may not be for everyone. But if you’ve been in your job for a while, and now you really want pushing ahead and advancing your skills and responsibilities it might be an ideal way striving for new horizons in dentistry.
It will be very intellectually stimulating and opening your mind to disciplines which you hadn’t formally pursued
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is the illusion of knowledge” - Stephen Hawking
Postgraduate qualifications include postgraduate certificates and diplomas, master’s degrees and doctoral degrees.
Postgraduate study is particularly accessible now that many universities and professional societies like BAIRD are offering their courses by distance and online (f.e. University of Manchester/UK), as well as part-time (f.e. the module programmes of BAIRD), so you can study from the convenience of your own home, at your own pace and around your other work and family commitments.
Some employers will support their employees to undertake postgraduate studies by allowing flexibility with working
hours and even, in some cases, offering financial aid.
There are as many answers to this question as there are postgraduate students. You may enjoy a certain subject andwant to explore it at an advanced level, such as a Masters degree or postgraduate research. In a difficult economicclimate, you may decide that additional qualifications will improve your career prospects, making you an assetto your employer or a better interview candidate. Many employers look for the advanced knowledge and skills ofpostgraduates, as well as the commitment they have demonstrated in achieving a further qualification.
There are also flexible study options, so you can fund your education by fitting study around your job. If your course is relevant to your job, you could even get support from your employer towards fees or study costs.
It develops a new form of maturity. It creates a whole new dynamic and mode of conversation, and confidence, which would enable you to walk into your workplace as a real professional.
Continuing education is clearly important, but the value of a diploma depends on what you do with it.
The learning subjects out of the classroom, practical knowledge and studying these principles are the foundation forpractice success.
You will be deepening your knowledge and acquire a specialism. In the fields as diverse and ever-changing as cosmetic dentistry and implantology, postgraduate study can open a whole new world of knowledge and opportunity. Often, though, postgraduate study can be about changing direction rather than specialising.
A master’s programme or diploma can also be a significant way of networking for employment opportunities or developing a network of contacts and get your name out there in the right circles.
“Knowledge is a treasure, but practice is the key to it.” - Lao Tzu
Being proactive is incredibly important in achieving the outcomes desired from a postgraduate course. Dedicating a year or two to a subject is advantageous, but it takes more than that alone to improve employability and overall skills.
A postgraduate qualification is an excellent way to enhance your knowledge and skills. Not only does an additional qualification help you to stand out from the crowd, but it also shows your commitment and dedication. Research work is demonstrating your ability to think independently and work towards a goal.
“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest” - Benjamin Franklin, The Way to Wealth: Ben Franklin
on Money and Success
I think for most people a postgraduate degree is an investment that they will have to make at some point in their careers. My advice would be not waiting too long to pursue one – from my observations, the longer you wait, the harder it becomes to really focus and benefit from it. I would also suggest that people think very hard about the program they choose – definitely try to get into the very best program you can. A diploma or master programme will reflect well on you and your investment of time and money is better made with a program that is high-quality and of high repute.
But the most valuable rewards require persistence.
Rewards are a direct result of the energy and effort we’ve put into it.
Success does not happen itself – we need to make it happen.