Dental assistants often perform a wide variety of tasks in a dental office. Tasks vary from one office to another, depending on staffing situations and the size of office. For example, some offices which may not have a secretary will require the assistant to perform clerical duties. Some offices may have several dental assistants, so tasks will be shared. Regardless of whether the assistant works in the office or the exam room, it is important to know that dental assistants are a crucial necessity to the dentist.
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Kansas Dental Assistant Roles & Responsibilities
Dental assistants working in a clerical setting will often be seen greeting patients, answering phones, scheduling and filing. The most common tasks performed by the dental assistant involve preparing visitors for their dental exam. During the exam, the assistant may stand chair-side to the dentist, handing over tools and other required items. Also the dental assistant usually performs and develops X-rays, makes impressions of a client’s teeth and sterilizes the room and dental tools after each use.
Kansas Dental Assistant Salary Outlook
Dental assistants in Kansas may expect to be paid an average of $31,650 per year. Salary amounts vary; careers in smaller offices in small towns pay less while careers in larger offices in bigger cities will pay higher. Once experience has been gained, higher pay scales up to about $33,000 after several years may be expected. (Figures courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Employment & Wages database.)
Educational Requirements for Dental Assistants in Kansas
Those who plan to enroll in a dental assistant program will need a high school diploma. Many colleges and vocational schools offer an accredited dental assistant program. Some dental assistant programs span the length of one year and offer a certificate upon completion. Many programs are available in a two-year setting where an Associate degree is earned. Assistants holding an Associate degree will have the opportunity to become a Registered Dental Assistant.
Financial aid is widely available in the form of scholarships and grants, both of which are free. Most grants awarded are federally funded. Federal student loans yielding a low interest rate are also available. Students will need to complete a FAFSA form and submit it to the school’s financial aid office.
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