Can I Study Online to be a Dental Assistant?
A dental assistant is an integral part of the dental team, working closely with the dentist and the dental hygienist to provide both patient care and administrative support. If you pursue a career as a dental assistant, you’ll perform a variety of tasks such as sterilizing dental instruments, preparing rooms for patients, handing instruments to the dentist and processing x-rays. You may also answer phones, schedule appointments and maintain dental records.
Do You Need Licensing or Certification to Become a Dental Assistant?
Licensing and certification requirements vary from state to state. Most states don’t require entry-level dental assistants to have a license. Some states do require certification, and even if your state doesn’t require certification to obtain employment, many potential employers prefer candidates who have obtained certification from a national organization such as DANB.
In some states, licensing is required for specific tasks such as infection control or radiography. Contact the Board of Dental Examiners in your state to find out what’s required where you live.
Salary Potential and Job Outlook for Dental Assistants
Dental assisting is one of the fasted growing professions in the United States, and the job outlook for a career in this field is very good. CareerOneStop reports that projected employment is likely to grow at a rate of about 11 percent between 2018 and 2028, which is much faster than average job growth for all professions.
The salary earned by dental assistants can vary based on education, experience and location. The average salary of dental assistants in the United States as of September 2020 was $38,378 according to Salary.com, with pay ranging between $34,060 and $42,431 per year.
Working as a Dental Assistant
Most dental assistants work in dental offices, including family dentists, pediatric dentists and orthodontists. A small number of dental assistants work in doctor’s offices or in government jobs. As a dental assistant, you have the opportunity to work full-time or part-time. Some settings require working evenings or weekends.
As a dental assistant, you’ll enhance the efficiency of a dental office. You’ll enjoy a fulfilling career as you help provide quality dental care to patients and office support to the dental team.