Becoming a dental assistant is all the rage right now – and for good reason. It’s one of the best career choices, offering high job satisfaction, decent pay, and easy entry into the workforce. Besides, it is an ideal choice for those who like to help others. What’s more, dental assistant jobs are aplenty thanks to increased demand for their skills and charm.
In this brief guide, we will take a top-down look at the world of dental assistants. Hint: keep on reading to learn how to become a qualified/certified dental assistant.
Who is a Dental Assistant?
The terms dental hygienists and dental assistants are often used interchangeably – and deservedly so. These professionals are there to make the patient’s visit as pleasant as possible. While dental hygienists are usually responsible for cleaning the gums and teeth, the roles of dental assistants often vary from one dentist office to another.
What does a Dental Assistant do?
From scheduling dental appointments to assisting with surgical procedures and everything in between, a dental assistant must possess diverse skills and great attention to detail. In a typical dental office, a dental assistant is responsible for the following:
- Scheduling dental appointments
- Keeping dental treatment records
- Dealing with payment and billing
- Making sure that patients are as comfy in the dental chair as possible
- Sterilizing dental equipment before and after a procedure
- Handing dental equipment to the dentist during procedures
- Processing x-rays as requested by the dentist
- Making sure that the patient and the work area is ready
- Performing some dental procedures like coronal polishing, applying fluoride, applying sealant, and applying topical anesthetic.
These are just but a few things dental assistants do.
What’s the Outlook of Dental Assistant Jobs?
The median wage of a dental assistant is around $35,400, but you can make up to $50,000 depending on your geographical location, experience, and other qualifications. As you might expect, dental assistant jobs pay well in states where high-level of training is required. Interestingly, the demand for knowledgeable and compassionate dental assistants is projected to rise by a whopping 25 percent in the next 10 years.
How to Become a Dental Assistant
Step 1: Take a Dental Assistant Course
While it’s not required by many states, those who take an accredited dental assistant course have an added edge over the competition. They enjoy higher employability and get better entry-level salaries. The trick is to choose a recognized Dental Assistant course from a reputable school.
Step 2: Choose Your Specialty
You can decide to be a general dental assistant or focus on periodontics, endodontics, pediatric dentistry, dentofacial orthodontics, etc. Ensure that your dental assistant course is aligned with your specialty.
Step 3: Get Some Hands-On Training
An externship is perhaps the best way to get hands-on knowledge and gain experience. It’ll complement your dental assistant course and make you stand out from the rest.
Step 4: Licensing and Certification
Step 5: Interview for Dental Assistant Jobs
Dental assistant jobs come in all shapes and sizes. Make sure to polish your CV and get ready for the interviews beforehand.