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Career choice and future design of dental students in China and Japan



The purpose of this study was to compare career choice and future plans of dental students in China and Japan. Information was derived from a self-answered questionnaire. Significant differences were detected for eight items between the two countries. Regarding motivation towards career choice, 41% of Japanese students indicated positive motives related to helping others, achieving self-worth and health-care related interests, whereas Chinese students indicated that their choice was mainly for financial and prestige reasons, and for 32% of them, dentistry was a passive choice. More Chinese dental students (74%) wanted further education compared with Japanese students (22%). The majority of Japanese students (56.9%) planned to work as general dentists. Conversely, Chinese students were more likely to specialise (50%). More than 50% of Japanese students wanted to work in dental offices, but the majority of Chinese students (65%) preferred university hospital. We found it is strange that nearly one-fourth of the Chinese students did not want to be a clinical dentist mainly because of the poor health-care environment. This study provides a description of the perspectives of Japanese and Chinese dental students and enables a better understanding of career choices and future course design issues.