All dentists must graduate from high school and complete required courses such as general biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and statistics/calculus. While nearly all dental schools require at least a bachelors degree (4 years), a select few may consider admitting exceptional students after only 3 years of college. Although this is very rare. To apply, students must take the Dental Admissions Test. Admission to dental school is competitive, and is generally determined based on factors such as GPA, DAT scores, research, recommendation letters, and extracurricular activities. To become a licensed dentist, one must then complete an accredited dental school curriculum and successfully master all clinical competencies and national board exams. Most dental school curricula require four years of training, however, some states require dentists to complete a post graduate residency program as well. The degrees are equivalent. A newly graduated dentist can then pursue further specialty residency training ranging from 2 to 6 years in one of the recognized specialties. Additionally, dentists are required to participate in continuing education where they attend lectures to learn of recent developments, practice new methods, and earn continuing education hours throughout their career.