There are so many career options out there that it can be overwhelming to decide which one you’d like to spend your life doing. If you’re looking for a stable career with an excellent job outlook, then you may want to consider becoming a dental assistant.
Let’s discuss the dental assistant career’s outlook, salary, benefits, and how to become one.
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Job Outlook for a Dental Assistant
The job outlook for dental assistants is very positive. Employment for this position is projected to grow seven percent from 2022 to 2032, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
There are about 55,100 openings for dental assistants that are projected each year on average over the decade. As the larger baby-boom population continues to age and start to have more dental issues, the need for dental assistants will grow in demand.
Best-Paying States for Dental Assistants
The national average annual wage for a dental assistant is $39,770. However, this pay can vary greatly by state.
These are the top 10 highest-paying states for dental assistants:
- Minnesota – $49,880
- New Hampshire – $48,760
- Alaska – $47,330
- North Dakota – $46,640
- Massachusetts – $46,640
- Virginia – $44,640
- Connecticut – $44,520
- Rhode Island – $43,710
- Washington – $43,680
- Oregon – $43,440
Benefits of a Dental Assistant Program: Reasons to Switch
- Training Doesn’t Long
It doesn’t take years to become a dental assistant. Your training could be completed in as little as 10 months, depending on the program you choose to enroll in.
- Professional Development
Working as a dental assistant is an excellent way to see if you’re passionate about the dental field. If you find that you are, you will have the opportunity to pursue further education to become a dental hygienist or a dental office manager.
- Job Security
Careers in any healthcare field tend to come with a high amount of job security because seeing the doctor or the dentist is necessary for your health.
- Variety in Job Duties
A dental assistant will never have the same day twice. While your overall responsibilities will stay the same, your duties can vary based on the needs of the patients and the office. For example, you could be taking x-rays one day and assisting with cleanings on the next. Because the position covers a range of duties, you’ll never be bored.
As a dental assistant, you can have a great positive impact on people’s lives. Not only can you connect with your patients, but you can improve their health, confidence, and hygiene through healthy teeth and gums.
- In-Demand Career
No matter what state the economy is in, people will always need to visit the dentist. As the population continues to grow, so does the need for dental assistants.
- Freedom to Live & Work Where You Like
The demand for dental assistants is high and dental offices are located almost everywhere, from the smallest towns to the biggest cities. It’s likely that you can find a position wherever you’d like to work.
- Predictable Schedules
Dental offices, with few exceptions, have strictly set schedules. Most dental assistants will work eight-hour shifts on weekdays. There is little to no chance of receiving emergency calls or requests to work after hours. As a dental assistant, there is a great work-life balance that can be hard to find in other positions.
Choosing The Right Dental Assistant Training School For You!Have you considered enrolling in a program to become a dental assistant? A career as a dental assistant has a lot of benefits. Dental assistant training school could be your ticket to a successful future if you’re kind, caring, and enjoy working in the healthcare industry.
What’s the Job Like?
Dental assistants help with dental procedures, work on administrative tasks, and assist with the care and support of patients. They play an essential role in ensuring that patients are comfortable, satisfied, and educated on their dental treatments and procedures.
These are some common tasks for a dental assistant:
- Scheduling patient cleanings, procedures, and treatments
- Maintaining and organizing patient records
- Providing patient care and assistance before, during, and after a dental procedure
- Preparing dental equipment and tools by cleaning and sanitizing them
- Educating patients on oral hygiene
- Assisting dentists in performing laboratory tasks and procedures, like X-rays
Work Environment for Dental Assistants
The work environment for dental assistants tends to be very pleasant. Most will work in dental offices alongside dentists, other assistants, and office staff members. Many work on a smaller team, which allows for close, positive working relationships.
If you’re not interested in sitting at a desk, being a dental assistant is for you. Many are mobile and social throughout the day. Additionally, the dress code is typically comfortable with medical scrubs and supportive shoes.
How to Become a Dental Assistant
1. Enroll in a Dental Assistant Educational Program
Enroll in a program that’s been accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation in your state. The certificate programs typically take one to two years to complete, depending on whether you’re earning a certificate, diploma, or associate degree. Your course will include both classroom and laboratory work to learn about teeth, gums, dental instruments, and other aspects of the career.
2. Complete an Externship
Many dental assistant programs offer externships as a voluntary part of your coursework, which provides you with real-world training. Dental assistants can gain experience and have a stronger resume when completing an externship to practice their skills.
Externships often include gaining experience in:
- Chair-side assisting
- Oral anatomy
- Dental pathology
- Dental pharmacology
- Oral hygiene
3. Obtain Your Certification
After your education, you will need to get your state certification or complete the licensing requirements. Visit the Dental Assistant National Board’s website to learn about certification and licensure requirements for your state.
4. Apply for Open Positions
If you completed an externship or supervised training, you will have an edge when applying for open dental assistant positions. You will want to find an entry-level position that doesn’t require years of experience and ensure that you meet the requirements listed for the job.
5. Advance Your Career by Specializing
After working for a couple of years, dental assistants can choose to complete an advanced degree to become a dentist or dental hygienist.
Cost and Duration of Programs
At Blue Cliff College, we provide two programs that will assist you in becoming a dental assistant.
The first program:
- Takes place during the day
- Takes 12 months to complete
- Costs $18,615 for tuition
- Costs $2,257 for supplies and fees
The second program:
- Takes place at night
- Takes 15 months to complete
- Costs $18,615 for tuition
- Costs $2,257 for supplies and fees
Is a Dental Assistant Program Worth It?
If you have a passion for helping people with their oral hygiene, then the dental assistant program is for you. The dental assistant career is in demand, has an outlook for growth, provides job security and a predictable schedule, and has a steady salary.
If you’re interested in becoming a dental assistant, look no further than Blue Cliff College. Join one of our dental assistant programs to learn and experience everything you need to know to be well-prepared to succeed in your career.