Are you interested in starting an exciting career in dentistry? Becoming a dental assistant is a great way to start. You’ll learn the ins and outs of dentistry while playing a key role in office operations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the job outlook for dental assistants is expected to grow by 11% from 2020-2030, which is faster than most other professions. Now is an ideal time to join this personal and professionally beneficial career. There are several benefits to working as a dental assistant, including flexible schedules, variety in your daily routine, and promising new job prospects.
But before you pick up a textbook and our dental tools, familiarize yourself with the roles and responsibilities of this rewarding profession.
Often the unsung heroes of the dentistry office, dental assistants strive to provide patients with quality care from the time they schedule an appointment to the time they leave with a fresh, clean smile. The daily life of dental assistants is fast-paced and entails a variety of responsibilities in both the front and back office. Some of the most common tasks entrusted to dental assistants are:
- Scheduling appointments
- Readying treatment rooms for appointments
- Preparing patients for treatments
- Assisting the dentist during procedures
- Operating dental diagnostic tools
- Assessing information and results
- Helping with insurance and payment processes
As integral members of the office, dental assistants keep operations running smoothly, playing both administrative and clinical roles.
To effectively manage these responsibilities, successful dental assistants must possess strong interpersonal skills, including:
The variety of administrative and clinical tasks performed every day requires strong organizational skills. Dental assistants are tasked with managing office work, whether it be in the front office or helping the dentists provide the highest care possible. Strong organizational skills can help you manage your work quickly without sacrificing quality.
Another key skill is communication. You’ll be interacting with dentists, dental hygienists, and patients daily, which requires strong communication skills (and sometimes a lot of patience)! Effective communication can help create rapport with patients, better assess pain levels, and understand important information about medical history that may affect the procedure or treatment plan.
Dental assistants are trusted by other members of the dentistry office as being a reliable helping hand in any situation. To provide the best assistance possible, dental assistants must possess strong critical thinking skills. You’ll be asked to give insight and opinions in highly stressful situations, instances where clear thinking is a necessity. The ability to think critically will strengthen your team while ensuring the best results possible for your patients.
Now that you’re caught up on the responsibilities and ideal skill set of dental assistants, it’s time to start creating your plan for making this dream job become a reality!
You could become part of this growing career field in 16 months or less through Herzing University’s Dental Assisting program. Herzing University has a variety of programs to jumpstart your successful career in dentistry. What are you waiting for? Get started today.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.