People who are interested in dental medicine as a career choice might be interested in careers as a Dental Assistant. This support-oriented role is often found in dentist’s offices and the people who perform the roles are vital to the office’s success.
Dental assistants generally help during dental procedures and often help handle administrative tasks. Is a career as a dental assistant right for you?
Education and Requirements
Those looking for a career as a dental assistant will typically be required to have a 2-year degree, such as an associate’s degree. Some programs offer certificates in dental assistant-related fields, such as dental hygiene support or dental medicine administration.
Generally speaking, it won’t take long for those with the proper education to find work in the field: dentist offices are almost always looking for good people. The dental field is growing day-by-day, so those looking for work in this field need not worry about having trouble finding a job.
Dental assistants have rather variable responsibilities depending on the office they work in, the dentist they work for and the state they work in. That said, the most common tasks they undertake tend to involve dealing with patients. Many assistants are the face of the office, speaking to patients and prepping them for procedures.
During procedures, assistants tend to perform the role of support for a practicing dentist. They tend to hand the dentist their tools, operate the suction hose and other dental tasks. These are all vital tasks to making sure dental procedures go smoothly.
Another common responsibility of dental assistants is administrative work. Keeping up with patient records, scheduling appointments, and recording procedures could be included in this type of administrative work.
Typically, in a small office, these tasks are handled by a smaller number of assistants. In a larger office, however, these tasks would be delegated to specific assistants to streamline work.
On average, dental assistants make roughly $28,000 in a year. This is a two-year degree position, meaning that the average salary tends to be a bit lower than in some other, more education-intensive fields.
The position is often used as a stepping stone for those looking to progress further in the dental field. Many people in medical school moonlight as dental assistants while getting other degrees.