Becoming a Dental Office Assistant

Dental Office Assistants perform clinical as well as administrative duties in various dental care settings. Their clinical responsibilities include assisting dentists during dental procedure; preparing patients and treatment room, sterilizing medical equipment, processing x-rays; providing patient education for proper oral health care, so on and so forth. On the other hand, their administrative duties include scheduling patient appointments, maintaining records of dental treatments, helping patients on billing and insurance claims etc.

Dental Office Assistant may find employment in various dental care settings such as dentist’s offices, hospitals, group of dental practices, dental manufacturing companies, research facilities etc. However, they mostly work under direct supervision of dentists in their working environments. They usually work full time and may be required to work in the weekends.

Educational Requirements

To qualify for the position of Dental Office Assistant, the aspiring candidates need to complete at least a high school diploma or equivalent to GED. Most employers prefer job aspirants with the certificate in dental assisting programs, offered by various community colleges. The program takes around one year to complete.

The students need to learn about dental terminology, various medical equipment that dentists use along with medical billing, record keeping, computer operations, so on and so forth.

Certification and Licensure

Since the practice of a Dental Office Assistant needs to be licensed in many states, the aspiring candidates have to pass the licensure examination. The job aspirants can obtain professional certification from the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

Skill Set               

Dental Office Assistants possess various traits such as strong listening abilities, high level of attention to detail, excellent organizational skills, command in time management, good at customer service, ability to work well in a team-oriented environment, instruments management abilities, excellent verbal and written communication skills, competent in computer skills, ability to maintain effective rapport with patients, dentists, other staff members etc.

Job Outlook and Salary

The job outlook for a Dental Office Assistant remains excellent across the USA. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for job opportunities in this profession may rise 25% from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. The average annual salary of a Dental Office Assistant was $34,500 in May 2012.