Career Development Plans of Dental Students at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Tanzania

Matilda Mtaya Mlangwa, Mona Matiko


Examining dental students’ career development plans contributes to understanding of their professional expectations and planning of human resource for health within a health system. This study aimed to investigate the career development plans of Dental students at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS). A cross-sectional study was performed by utilizing self-administered questionnaires, as data collecting tools. The questionnaires were distributed to all Dental students who participated in the study in 2014 (n=100). In the survey, students were asked about their socio-demographic characteristics, career development plans, future intensions and their areas of choice for their future career. The survey revealed that most students had decisive thoughts and sufficient knowledge about their future career. Majority of the students planned to practice as Dental professionals in Tanzania (39%), particularly in urban areas (chosen by 83%). Also, many students (72%) preferred to become prospective clinical scientists, especially in the fields of “Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery” and “Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopaedics”. In the survey, the role of socio-demographic factors on students’ career development plans was also identified. Where, most female students compared to males reported that they prefer to work in urban areas. Additionally, many older students than younger ones favored to pursue clinical sciences in future. Although this study showed various perspectives regarding career development plans of Dental students in Tanzania, Universities need to ascertain professional counseling sessions and mentorship programs so that most students will be able to make informed decisions on their future career. Ultimately, the understanding of Dental students’ career development plans will facilitate planning of human resource for oral health and ensure their availability in many areas of Tanzania.

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