How To Become A Dental Assistant
Career Video: Dental Assistant
The dental industry is exploding in technological advancements. It will continue to need qualified Dental Assistants. Dental Assisting pays well. It’s a great career choice for those who enjoy helping others look and feel their best.
Why Become A Dental Assistant
Dental Assistants play an important role in the lives of dental patients. They provide many dental services within a dental office. In fact, they are often the first person that a patient comes into contact with once they are called in for their appointment. This is a great career for those interested in dentistry or helping others. Dental Assistants must be active listeners in order to best care for the dental patient. Reading comprehension and critical thinking are important skills as well. After all, a Dental Assistant may care for a patient who undergoes dental surgery.
Dental Assistant Work Environment
Dental Assistants work indoors. They may work in large or small dental offices. Dental Assistants usually work full time. Some work evenings or weekends depending on the needs of the dental office. Some Dental Assistants may specialize in assisting orthodontists or cosmetic dentists. They may work within a sterile setting during oral surgery. It is required that Dental Assistants follow safety procedures involved with in dentistry. If a Dental Assistant is responsible for the task of x-rays, he or she would want to minimize their exposure to radiation. Protective clothing is worn to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
Dental Assistant Salary
The median salary for Dental Assistants was around $34,500.00 in 2012 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Generally, the lowest paid wage was around $23,000.00. Top wages can be close to $50,000.00.
When we consider salary for any profession it is important to consider factors such as location, education, and experience. Another consideration is the size and type of employer. Some Dental Assistants choose to work for organizations that provide dental services to low income patients. It is a personally rewarding choice. However, the pay is almost always less than the pay offered through private employers.
Dental Assistant Career Outlook
There will always be a need for Dental Assistants. In fact, cosmetic dentistry continues to improve by leaps and bounds. The advances made during the last ten years are astounding. This fact alone means that qualified Dental Assistants will always be in demand. Another reason the field will grow is because people now have more access to dental services and dental insurance.
The Occupational Outlook Handbook expects this field to grow by 25% within the next ten years. That is faster than average growth. When a dentist makes a decision to hire a Dental Assistant, it frees him or her up to spend time performing more complex dental procedures.
Dental Assistant Degree
Those interested in becoming a Dental Assistant have several options. Regardless of which is chosen, it is important to check what the qualifications are in your home state. Some states require that Dental Assistants attend and graduate from an accredited program and pass an exam administered by the state. Some states have no formal educational requirements.
If you are still in high school, focus on taking biology, chemistry, and anatomy. Those classes will help you when you move on to your Dental Assistant program. Most programs last around two years. The Commission on Dental Accreditation approves more than 250 training programs. Those programs include class instruction and lab experience.