Dental Assisting can be a Varied and Rewarding Career
Why become a dental assistant? Well, not everyone knows that dental assisting is becoming a popular career choice. In fact, dental assisting is one of the fastest-growing occupations which only require on-the-job training or experience (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
What Does a Dental Assistant Do?
Dental assistants provide a varied range of patient care and laboratory duties, as well as record-keeping and other office/admin work. Although they partake in patient care, they are not licensed to perform the same duties that dental hygienists perform.
Duties can be varied, and include things like making sure a patient is comfortable, and aiding dental hygienists. They may also be required to take molds and make casts of teeth, clean and polish removable appliances, make temporary crowns, schedule patients, and receive bills.
Dental Assistant Employment Statistics
Statistics showed dental assistants held around 295,000 jobs in 2008; most worked in dental offices, whereas some were employed by physicians. Others worked in Federal, state or government offices.
Dental assistants usually take a pro-active learning role, and gain their skills and expertise with on-the-job training, although educational programs are sometimes available from community/junior colleges, trade schools, technical institutes, or the Armed Forces. High school students hoping for a future career in dental assisting should aim for courses such as health, biology, chemistry, and office practices.
Those looking for a career in dental assisting should be reliable, have good teamwork/people skills, and good manual dexterity. Depending on the state, you may require a license or become registered; this could include a written test or practical exam. You may be required to perform specialized duties, including radiological procedures, in which case you should complete the Radiation Health and Safety examination offered by the DANB.
Possible Career Advancements
Depending on your career goals, you may wish to become an office manager, a dental-assisting instructor, or a dental produce sales representation, although bear in mind that opportunities can be limited for those with no further education.
Average Pay Rates
Dental assistants earn an average of $33,230 a year; that’s $15.98 an hour. To check out how much dental assistants are earning in your area, use the salary calculator at Salary.com.
Now that you know the basics, do you want to become a dental assistant?