Searching for how much does a dental assistant make an hour or as a yearly salary? Keep reading cause you won’t believe it!
Dental assistants are absolutely necessary in almost every dental office, but the good news is that they do receive good payment for their services. Being a dental assistant is considered to be one of the top 100 career choices in any industry, and in the top 50 career choices in health care.
First let’s take a look at what they do to be worth that much…
What Do Dental Assistants Do?
The basic gist of being a dental assistant can be summed up as follows: make the dentist’s job as streamlined as possible. Dental assistants often clean and prep tools used in dentistry, pass dentists the tools that they need to fill cavities, and even prepare patients for treatments. They update patient records, and might even help apply sealants to patient’s fillings. They’ve also been known to polish teeth and dentures from time to time. It’s also not unheard of for dental assistants to process oral X-rays.
Where Do Dental Assistants Work?
The truth is that there really is only one major setting where you’ll find dental assistants at work, and that’s in dental offices. They work right next to dentists, often doing preparation before the dentist enters the office. In some very rare cases, they may be hired at universities to assist dental professors with tutoring students and preparing tools for dental demonstrations.
One of the biggest perks about dental assistants is that they work regular business hours, and that they often work less than 40 hours per week. This is because they are always working the same hours as the dentists or orthodontists that they are assisting.
How Much Does a Dental Assistant Make?
On average, a typical dental assistant will make about $35,000 a year. They also get benefits and retirement packages in many of their work settings.
What Is The Job Outlook For Dental Assistants?
The need for dental assistants is growing way, way faster than the demand for most other jobs – even when you take into account the job demand for people in all medical fields. Statistics show a job growth rate of 24.5%. That is almost double the average job growth rate. By 2022, there will be at least 74,000 more openings available for dental assistants. It is unsure whether or not schools will be able to keep up with the demand.
For dental assistants, this means higher wages and higher job security in the near future. Sound interesting? Then let’s see if you’d be a good fit for the job…
What Qualities Are Good For Dental Assistants To Have?
In most cases, employers want to have dental assistants that have a knack for running a medical office smoothly. Administrative capabilities tend to be a major point of the job, as is customer service skills. Being able to communicate with patients as well as the dentists that they work with is also a must.
Because many dental assistants are the ones who update and maintain patient files, there is a good need for assistants with neat handwriting, an eye for detail, and an ability to keep things well organized. Filing away those files efficiently is always a plus.
It’s a very good idea to have an interest in becoming a dental hygienist or even a dentist if you want to be a dental assistant. Many dentists and hygienists have used this position as a stepping stone in their career. People who have an interest in dentistry tend to be more attentive to their work, and also do better when it comes to helping patients.
Perfect fit, right? Then let’s explore how to become one so you can start banking all that money!
How To Become A Dental Assistant
There is a chance that you live in a state that does not require additional training or certification outside of a high school degree. However, not having formal training doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s okay to apply to be a dental assistant and expect to get hired. Dental assistants do need some training outside of high school in order to be licensed in most states. The exact requirements can vary from state to state, so it’s important to look into the requirements in the state that you live in before you commit to any programs or training.
While it doesn’t necessarily require formal training in all states, the truth is that most employers prefer dental assistants that have taken courses and certification available at a 2-year university. Passing the Certified Dental Assistant Exam put forth by the American Dental Association is how you can become a certified dental assistant. This is usually taken after a 1 to 2 year program at community colleges.
The Bottom Line About Being A Dental Assistant:
Dental assistants are becoming more and more needed in offices throughout the country, and that means good things for people who want this low stress career. However, signs are showing that there will be an increased need for training and certification if you want to pursue this career in all 50 states. Bottom line here? If you want to get a job as a dental assistant and keep it, get certified!