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Dental Assistant Occupation Overview

What is a Dental Assistant in a nutshell?

Dental assistants work alongside dentists, performing a variety of tasks to maintain patient comfort and smooth office function.

Average salary of a Dental Assistant:

Most dental assistants earn around $36,200 annually, with salaries depending on region and experience.

Necessary education for a Dental Assistant career:

Most dental assistants receive formal education from a junior college or professional school, pursuing  12-month certificate programs or 24-month associate degrees. Most programs are approved by the American Dental Association.

Dental Assistant roles:

Depending on what a Dental Assistant's duties are, they could hold positions in the office such as:

  • Chairside Assistant
  • Intra-Oral Assistant
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Community Health Assistant
  • Dental Education Assistant
  • Dental Research Assistant

Dental Assistant Skills and Responsibilities:

They work as part of a dental health care team which may include dentists, dental hygienists, dental lab technicians and people who work with dentures.

Important skills for dental assistants can include:

  • Basic Laboratory Skills
  • CPR/Basic Life Support
  • Health Educating
  • Importance Skills for this career
  • Infection Control
  • Maintaining Files and Records
  • Medical Terminology
  • Patient Examination
  • Patient History Taking
  • Patient Preparation
  • Sterile Technique
  • Workplace Supplies Inventory
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Problem Solving & Critical Thinking
  • Stress Management Skills
  • Time & Priority Management
  • Workplace Computer Skills
  • Workplace Math

Job Outlook for Dental Assistants:

The job outlook for Dental Assistants is predicted to be excellent, per the US Labor Bureau, with expected employment to grow much faster than average. The US Labor Bureau lists this career as the third fastest growing occupation over the next decade.

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Related Articles

Dental Assistant Career Profile

Dental Hygienist Career Profile

Dental Care Coordinator Jobs


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