Entering any field in dentistry is a huge decision and there are some important considerations you need to take before finalizing your choice. The considerations ranges from the detailed job description of a dental assistant, the work environment, to the growth and outlook. Let’s examine each in detail.
1. Job Responsibilities of an Assistant
Before signing up for the program of a dental assistant training, it is better to have a clear idea regarding the detailed job description of this profession. Some of the major responsibilities you will be entitled for are:
• Prepare the examination room for the current appointment
• Sterilize different types of dental tools and equipment
• Guide the patient to the exam room and help them relax
• Assist dentist or hygienist in handling tools and different tasks
• Process x-rays
• Record patient’s medical history and appointment scheduling
• Perform various tasks as directed by the dentist
• Be informative to the patient regarding healthy oral hygiene
• Handle the invoicing, payments and insurance processes
• Clean the room after the treatment
2. The Work Environment
The work environment preferred varies from person to person depending on the occupation. If you are more of an indoor person and like to work in a clean, brightly lit room with a professional atmosphere, then a job in a dental office may be among the best choices for you. Most dental offices have pleasant lighting, are clean, and peacefully quite.
However the environment also includes the requirements such as standing on your feet for long periods, wearing surgical masks, protective clothing, glasses and gloves to prevent the spread of contagious diseases.
3. How to Go Pro?
The requirements for a formal education may or may not be present varying from state to state. So it’s better to consult the website of Dental Assistant National Board which provides the details for each state’s requirements. Be careful and thorough when going through requirements before enrolling yourself in a program. You want to ensure the program is certified within the state’s requirements and wouldn’t cause a problem in your job hunt or further in your career.
You can even become a dental assistant in case your state does not have any educational requirements. Some clinics also tend to hire fresh assistants without any prior experience and provide on-job trainings.
4. How Much Does an Assistant Make?
The salary scale for a dental assistant varies depending on factors such as location of the clinic, state, and level of experience. One authentic resource to get an approximate measure of the wages is Occupational Outlook Handbook published by U.S. Department of Labor. The handbook states the median annual wages assistants are able to make in U.S.
Another way of getting to know a dental assistant’s salary is to go through the local job ads in your region. Some jobs may include the hourly wages in the ad that should give you an idea of how much you might be able to make once your training is complete.
5. Job Outlook
As per the Occupational Handbook, the job outlook in this career is huge and prosperous. It states that the employment for dental assistants is predicted to rise as high as by 25% from 2012 to 2022. The handbook further details that dentists will hire more assistants to take over ever-increasing routine tasks, that will save them enough time to see more patients and focus on more complex treatments. In short as dental practices will rise, so will the number of assistants.