Recent government reports state that Americans can expect a 31% growth in the number of dental assistant jobs over the next ten years. This rate of growth is considerably higher than the average for almost all other occupations. The demand for preventive dental services is likely to continue to grow, leading to a fair amount of growth in the number of dental assistant jobs across the country. But of course this hinges on the economy. Beyond the basics and some cleaning once in a while, additional teeth work is not on the cards for many people who are looking for a job, underemployed, and not too confident about their job security.
Currently, there are roughly 300,000 dental assistants already at work in the United States and most of these assistants are employed at the dentists’ offices. They are usually required to work under the supervision of a dentist, and may also work closely with a dental hygienist as a part of the job. Dental assisting jobs will often require the use of protective gear such as a surgical masks, safety glasses, gloves, and protective clothing to safeguard against infections. Like any healthcare field, employees are required to follow safety procedures in order to minimize the risks associated with X-ray imaging and other potentially dangerous equipment.
A majority of dental assistant jobs are full-time. In some cases, the job may require the individual to work in the evenings or during weekends, depending on the work hours at the dentist’s office. A growing number of dentist offices are adding night and weekend hours to their schedule in order to accompany the busy schedules of their clients.
Dental Assistant Salary
More than 60 percent of all dental assistants work full time. The median annual dental assistant salary is $33,470. According to the most recent reports, the top 10 percent had an income exceeding $47,090, and the bottom 10 percent had an income below $22,680.
Qualifications for the Job
Different states have different qualification requirements for the job of a dental assistant. Some states may require a candidate to undergo dental assistant training and education from an accredited program and, in many cases, pass a state exam. In some other states, no formal qualifications are necessary for applying to a dental assistant jobs. On-the-job training may suffice in such cases. Experienced dental assistants or dentists at the office train the new assistant about various aspects of the job. The job description is regulated in most states, and varies from one state to another.
High school students who wish to make a career as a dental assistant should preferably opt for courses in anatomy, chemistry, and biology. In case, the candidate wishes to graduate from an accredited program, it may take about one year for the certification program, or two years from an associate’s degree. Some states require the candidate to receive a specified minimum amount of on-the-job training as well. Obtaining a license is also required for dental assistant jobs in some of the states.
A dental assistant job description typically involves organization and preparation of tools that a dentist requires to work on a patient. From record keeping to patient care, dental assisting jobs cover a wide range of tasks. However, the duties may vary slightly, depending on the laws in a particular state, and the office of a particular dentist.
Find Dental Assistant Jobs
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Additional Dental Assisting Job Resources
As you search for a dental assisting job, keep in mind the general dental assistant job description for reference. You may also wish to keep typical dental assistant salary figures in mind. If you have not already done so, you may wish to look into pursuing formal dental assistant training or certification, as those options may increase your ability to find employment.