Dental Assistant Job Description, Qualifications and Outlook
With perhaps one of the most comprehensive assistant jobs in healthcare, people with the dental assistant job description who are good at their jobs typically increase the efficiency of dentist in the practice. They tend to require strong communications skills, a measure of dexterity, as well as excellent organizational abilities.
In most states, dental assistants have no formal educational requirements other than a postsecondary nondegree award. Meanwhile, in other states, an aspiring dental assistant has to pass an exam and graduate from an accredited program. Certifications and additional qualifications are also available.
Job Overview: What Does a Dental Assistant Professional Do?
Ranging from performing x-rays to sterilizing instruments, and even keeping appointments and handling payments, the dental assistant job description is one of the most complexes, yet least frustrating in the industry. While there is plenty of stress to go around a dentist’s office, it’s a far more relaxed atmosphere and work environment than a hospital.
Dental Assistant Job Duties
- Working with patients and making them comfortable in regards to the procedure.
- Preparing patients for their treatments.
- Setting out and sterilizing the dentist tools, and handing them to the dentist during the procedure.
- Preparing the work area and completing various assigned lab tasks.
- Keeping the patients’ mouths dry and also teaching proper dental hygiene.
- Taking and processing x-rays and using suction hoses and other such equipment.
- Taking patients’ pulse and blood pressure, and models of their teeth for further study.
- Completing various assigned lab tasks and performing various office management tasks.
- Scheduling patient appointments and keeping records of patients’ dental treatments.
- Working out billing and payment with the clients and also communicating with patients and suppliers.
Some people with the dental assistant job description occasionally do get certified or get enough experience on the job to start performing one or several different, more complicated procedures. Once a dental assistant starts being able to perform these tasks, they will most likely also start receiving better pay and a superior function:
- Coronal polishing.
- Fluoride application.
- Sealant application.
- Topical anesthetics application.
Dental Assistant Essential Skills
Organizational skills. The dental assistant has to have a good sense of organization in order to always keep tabs of his tasks and make sure all are fulfilled. Also, borderline mandatory is for this professional to have very quick learning capabilities.
Interpersonal skills. This professional must possess excellent listening skills and communication skills. He has to be able to relate to the patients and to understand them. Also, it is relevant to have a measure of compassion and empathy. And most importantly a certain moral standing.
Detail-oriented. Orientation towards details is also necessary for this job. Also, quite important is to have a very high dexterity in order to perform the necessary duties. Finally, what is encompassing for this professional is to have a very strong stomach.
Becoming a Dental Assistant Professional
Since the dental assistant job and salary aren’t the most highly regarded in healthcare, there aren’t all that many prerequisites which a potential candidate must meet. It is important to have a certain educational level and some optional certifications. People with the dental assistant job description receive numerous tasks, not only administrative duties but also regarding hygiene and assisting the medical professionals.
Qualifications and Training
First of all, there is no official dental assistant training. The dentist or someone else appointed by the dentist generally teaches new dental assistants the inner workings of the position, helping them understand what they must do. From there, the dental assistant has to make an effort to learn everything that must be done, but the work environment is usually friendly and allows for quick learning.
As for any possible additional qualifications, there are a number of certifications, licenses, and registrations which can be obtained by people with the dental assistant job description that can help move them up the career path.
The most common such certification is the CDA (Certified Dental Assistant). In order to take the exam held by the DANB (Dental Assisting National Board), an aspiring CDA must either have a high school diploma or graduate from any accredited program and to complete an amount of more or less nonexistent on-the-job training. A certification in CPR is also mandatory.
The work experience for people with the dental assistant job description isn’t really as mandatory as that for other similar professions. The skills and qualities of each candidate are what recommend them the most during interviews, and experience, while important, takes a back seat to personal capabilities.
Experience matters in the sense that someone working for many years as a dental assistant will be able to land a different job more easily than someone without the experience. Some of the opportunities that usually open up for people with the dental assistant job description, as they gain more and more experience on the job, are as follows:
- Solo or group dental practices and offices.
- Specialty practices (orthodontics, endodontics, pediatric dentistry, dentofacial orthopedics, prosthodontics, oral/maxillofacial surgery, etc…)
- Dental school clinics.
- Hospital dental clinics.
- Public health dentistry.
- Insurance companies.
- Selling of dental products.
- Teaching positions in community colleges, technical institutes, and vocational schools.
The majority of dental assistants tend to work full time, although part time is also an option that pops up pretty often. Plus, most of them work in the offices of dentists, although it isn’t infrequent for someone with the job description for a dental assistant to work in a different industry, such as sales or education.
Job Outlook & Advancement Opportunities
The employment rate of dental assistants is estimated to grow 18% by 2024 thanks to recent oral health developments. And also to evidence showing general health to be related to dental health, most people with the dental assistant job description have a highly positive career outlook. The average salary reported for dental assistants was situated at around $36,000 per year and $17.30 per hour in 2015.
According to payscale.com, the median dental assistant salary is around $31,112. Over the years, particularly over more than twenty years on the job, this pay can reach around $40,000. However, most choose to leave the profession after less than twenty years on the job. Still, the dental assistant job is one of the most coveted medical assistant positions. If you are interested in learning more about the work possibilities in this field, you can also read the dental hygienist job description.
Since many people seemed interested, you can find a dental assistant resume sample by following this link. We hope we’ve managed to help you learn more about the dental assistant job description. One of the least stressful jobs in healthcare, and we wish you good luck in your job hunting!