Dental Assistant

female dentists treating teeth of patient in modern clinic

Entry level education: Postsecondary nondegree award

Projected 10-year growth: 8% from 2021 to 2031

Number of jobs: 358,600 (2021)

Dental assistants are healthcare professionals who work alongside dentists to provide support in various clinical and administrative tasks. They play a vital role in dental clinics, providing assistance in procedures, sterilizing instruments, taking X-rays, and performing other tasks as needed.

Dental assistants must have excellent communication skills, be organized, and have an eye for detail. They must also be knowledgeable about dental procedures and terminology, as well as the equipment and tools used in dental clinics.

dental assistants also have administrative responsibilities such as scheduling appointments, maintaining patient records, and managing office supplies.

They often serve as the liaison between the dentist and the patient, ensuring that the patient is comfortable and well-informed about their treatment. Dental assistants also educate patients about oral hygiene practices and provide instructions for post-treatment care.

anonymous dentist with assistant treating teeth of patient

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as of May 2020, the median annual wage for dental assistants in the United States was $41,180, which translates to a median hourly wage of $19.81.

dental teeth cast models on table

The dental assisting curriculum is designed to provide students with a comprehensive education in dental assisting, covering topics such as dental anatomy and terminology, infection control and sterilization, radiography, dental materials, chairside assisting, and administrative tasks.

The job forecast for dental assistants is positive, with a projected employment growth rate of 7% from 2020-2030, driven by an aging population, increasing demand for dental services, and a focus on preventative care.

person writing on white paper

Dental assistant certifications, such as the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA), Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA), and Expanded Functions Dental Assistant (EFDA), provide a way for dental assistants to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in specific areas of dental assisting. These certifications can help dental assistants advance their careers, increase their earning potential, and stand out in a competitive job market.

Financial aid options for dental assistant programs include federal student aid, state aid, institutional aid, private scholarships, employer tuition reimbursement, and private loans, which can help cover the cost of tuition and other expenses.

There are many scholarships available for dental assistant students from various organizations which can help offset the cost of tuition and other education-related expenses.

dental equipment
opened notebook with pen on white desk
photo of doctor checking on her patient

Choosing a dental assistant school can be an important decision that affects your career path and future success in the field. There are several factors to consider when choosing the right school and program for you.

The skills required to become a dental assistant include strong communication, interpersonal, organizational, technical, problem-solving, patient care, and adaptability skills.

If you are interested in pursuing a career as a dental assistant, here are some factors to consider to help you decide if it’s the right path for you.

crop doctor writing prescription on paper
opened notebook with pen on white desk
opened notebook with pen on white desk
close up photo of a woman getting a dental check up

Becoming a dental assistant can offer a fulfilling career path with a range of benefits, including job security, competitive pay, professional development opportunities, and a good work-life balance. Additionally, the skills and knowledge gained as a dental assistant can be transferable to other healthcare careers, providing a foundation for further career growth and development.

Choosing an online dental assistant program can offer many benefits, including flexibility, convenience, affordability, accreditation, access to technology, and access to instructors. Online programs can provide a pathway to a career in dental assisting that allows students to balance their education with work, family, or other commitments, and can provide access to quality education and advanced technology from anywhere with an internet connection.

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