Dental assistants not only care for patients and perform clerical duties that help the dental office run smoothly, but they are also responsible for providing support to dentists and hygienists. Often, dental assistants take care of the many small details both in the office and in the lab that enable the practice to be a successful one. Some tasks may include preparing the examination room by ensuring the tools are clean, bibs are available, and everything that the dentist and patient need is ready to be used. In the lab, assistants make molds of teeth or temporary crowns. Dental assistants may also work in the office, handling patient’s charts and necessary paperwork.
Tennessee Dental Assistant Schools Enrolling Now
Salary Outlook for Tennessee Dental Assistants
The average salary for dental assistants working in Tennessee is $33,160 per year, which breaks down to be over $15 per hour. This average salary is about one to two thousand dollars higher than the national average. Median salaries are even higher in Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Morristown. The job outlook for this position is considered excellent, with positions expected to grow throughout the next decade. Jobs, like salaries, are more concentrated in metro areas or locations with bigger populations, like Kingsport, Clarksville, and other cities positioned off of Interstate 75. The exception to this rule seems to be in Memphis, where they are proportionally fewer dental assistant positions. (Figures courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Employment & Wages database.)
High education is not necessarily required for a dental assistant job. Often, needed skills are learned while on the job. In some states, however, dental assistants are required to have a license or be registered; in some places potential assistants must also pass an exam. In Tennessee, there are three types of certification: Practical Dental Assistant, Registered Dental Assistant, and Registered Dental Assistant qualified to perform expanded functions. For more information on the different kinds of dental assistant positions, see http://www.danb.org/main/statespecificinfo.asp#TN. For those wishing to receive training, many trade, vocational, and technical schools offer programs for this job.
Financial Aid Information
All schools are accredited institutions that provide training programs in dental assisting and can be found online. Financial aid varies by school; the websites listed all provide easy-to-find links to financial information.
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