A dental assistant is a vital member of the team that cares for patient’s dental health. Assistants also help the office and practice run smoothly, performing small tasks that free the dentist and dental hygienists to give more attention to the patient. The tasks this position is responsible for are widely varied. Dental assistants may help the dentist by preparing the examination room, handing over tools and supplies when the dentist is with a patient, or performing general sterilization procedures. In the lab, assistants can make temporary crowns or develop x-rays. This position also requires heavy interaction with patients, as dental assistants often manage office duties such as gathering information, organizing charts and paperwork, and scheduling appointments.
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Job and Salary Outlook for Kentucky Dental Assistants
The average salary for dental assistants working in Kentucky is $31,310 a year or roughly $15.06 per hour. The position does not necessarily have to be full-time; many dental assistants work part-time hours. The job outlook for this position is good, as assistants are in demand with dentists. Jobs are expected to grow 31% (faster than average) nationwide. In Kentucky, Louisville and Elizabethtown offer the greatest opportunity for positions. (Figures courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Employment & Wages database.)
Educational Requirements for Dental Assistants in Kentucky
Because necessary skills are often learned in the exam room or in the office, higher education is not strictly required. In some states, however, dental assistants must have a license or be certified in certain areas. Kentucky dental assistants fall under one of two categories: Dental Assistant or Dental Assistant qualified in coronal polishing. DANB is an informative website that further explains the two different types of assistant and the requirements for both. Though formal training or education from an accredited school is not an absolute must, those who have completed programs at technical or trade schools are generally offered positions first and receive higher salaries.
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