medical assistant schools

Dental Assistant Training

Are you looking for dental assistant programs? Are you like other typical dental assistants, intrigued by dentistry but prefer a job that permits you to move around while performing your work?

Dental Assistant Frequently Asked Questions:

dental assistant projected job growth rate

What is a Dental Assistant?

What a dental assistant might do may vary a bit state by state, and depending on the dentists’ offices where they work, they generally perform tasks such as taking x-rays, scheduling appointments, and recordkeeping. Dental assistants wear protective clothing, safety masks, surgical masks, and gloves to protect themselves and patients, along with following safety protocols.

What is the job description for a dental assistant?

A dental assistant carries out various work related assignments like:

  • Maintaining dental records
  • Scheduling patient appointments
  • Sterilizing dental instruments
  • Handing dentists instruments during procedures
  • Instructing patients in dental hygiene
  • Working with patients on billing and payment
  • Preparing the work area for patient treatment
  • Ordering and monitoring dental supplies and equipment inventory

dental assistant median salary is $34,500

What is the salary potential of a dental assistant?

The median dental assistant salary is $34,500 per year.[iii]   States with the highest employment levels within this occupation are: California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois. [v]

Where do dental assistants work?

Just about all dental assistant jobs are in dentists’ offices under the supervision of dentists.[i] They also might work with dental hygienists throughout the day.

What dental assistant courses will I need to take?

Most dental assistant programs will typically take classes like these during their time as a student:

  • Preventive Dentistry
  • Dental Office Administration
  • Fundamentals of Dentistry
  • Dental Pharmacology
  • Dental Radiography
  • Restorative Dental Procedures

How can you pursue a career as a dental assistant?

While the requirements on how to become a dental assistant may vary state to state, it may generally be a good idea to obtain postsecondary training in dental assisting if you are thinking about pursuing a career as a dental assistant. Some states require dental assistants to graduate from an accredited program and pass a state test.[ii] Many times, these accredited programs are offered at community colleges and only take about a year to complete.ⁱ Two year programs, also available at community colleges, are less common and usually lead to earning an associate’s degree.ⁱ

Accredited programs typically include hands-on laboratory work, along with classroom activities. Students study gums, teeth, jaws, dental instruments, and other areas dentists work on. Supervised experience is included, too.

If becoming a dental assistant not for you, but you still want a career in allied health - explore other medical assisting careers.

[i] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-assistants.htm#tab-3 | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-assistants.htm#tab-4 | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-assistants.htm#tab-5 | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-assistants.htm#tab-6 | [v] bls.gov/oes/2012/may/oes319091.htm

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