Should you become a dental assistant?
Have you thought about working in a dentists office but don’t know where to start? Would you like a career that allows you help others? If so, you might consider training to be a dental assistant. Below are 5 Key Facts to know about becoming a dental assistant.
1. Dental assistants perform many tasks.
Dental assistants help the dentist and the hygienists in the examining room as well as work in the office. Here are a few of the tasks that a dental assistant performs:
- Greet patients and make sure they are comfortable in the dental chair.
- Sterilize equipment.
- Assist the dentist by handing him or her tools.
- Process X-rays.
- Perform lab test with the help of the dentist.
- Organize dental records.
- Process billing and payment.
- Schedule appointments.
- Educate patients about how to keep their teeth clean.
Do you like performing a variety of tasks? Would you like to work with both patients and dental equipment? Do you enjoy doing some office work? If so then you might consider a career as a dental assistant.
2. To become a dental assistant you need training, not a degree.
Each state has different requirements for becoming a dental assistant. Visit Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. to see the requirements in the state where you would like to live.
Becoming a dental assistant does not require a four-year college degree. Community colleges offer programs, as do some private, career-training schools. Training for students studying to be dental assistants usually includes, dental terminology, dental anatomy, dental instruments, clinical procedures, and lab skills. It is important to check with the program of your choice, to make sure that graduating from the school qualifies you to work as a dental assistant in that state.
While it is possible in some states to be trained on-the-job as a dental assistant, many dentists will want to see some job-training and internship experience on a potential dental assistant’s resume.
3. Dental assistants use a variety of skills.
A dental assistant performs a variety of tasks. For many, this diversity makes the work engaging and interesting. Here are some of the personal qualities you need to be a successful dental assistant:
- Detail Oriented—As a dental assistant, you need to follow important procedures, such as sterilizing a dental exam room.
- Organized—Do you enjoy putting everything in order? Do you pride yourself on being able to arrange things in a way that makes them easy to find? These are important skills of dental assistant, as they need to be able to organize both the office and the dentist’s tools.
- People skills- Dental assistants must be able to communicate well with both the patients and the dentists in the office. Going to the dentist can be a stressful experience, especially for children, but a good assistant can make a dentist visit a more pleasant experience.
4. Dental assistants salaries vary by state.
The salary for a dental assistant changes depending on where you live and your work experience. Check out The Occupational Outlook Handbook’s page on the median pay of dental assistants.
For a better idea of how much dental assistants make in your region, try doing a local job search.
5. Dental assistant jobs are growing.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental assistant jobs are projected to grow over the next ten years. As preventative dental care grows, dentists will be hiring more dental assistants to help them in their dental practices. As the baby-boomer generation ages, dentistry in general will be more in-demand. Check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics report on the job outlook.
If the tasks of a dental assistant sounds appealing to you, you might want to try a career-training program to give you hands-on experience that can help you become a dental assistant. NE Dental Academy offers a comprehensive dental assistant training program.