According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dental Assisting is third fastest growing non-degreed occupation in the US. The number of Dental Assisting positions is expected to grow by 31% between 2010 and 2020. This is much higher than the average of 14% across all job sectors. In 2010, there were 297,000 jobs in the field around the country. Over 90,000 new jobs are projected by 2020, according to a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
How to Become a Dental Assistant
Accredited Dental Assistant Programs are a mix of classroom training and lab-based learning. The anatomy of the mouth including teeth, gums and jaws are taught as well as the names and purposes of the dental equipment. Dental Assistant training takes approximately one year to complete. Graduates are given a certificate of completion once the academic requirements have been met.
The Role of Dental Assistants
The role of a dental assistant means they are often the first clinical contact inside of a dental office. They escort patients to the treatment area, make them comfortable, explain procedures and gather pertinent information for the dentist. In addition, they act as chair side assistants for both dentists and hygienists. In some states assistants may also provide coronal polishing, sealant application, fluoride application, and topical anesthetics application.
Dental Assistant Salaries Considerations
A newly trained dental assistant can expect a starting salary of somewhere between $23,000 and $30,000 per year. After several years of training, the average yearly salary increase to approximately $35,000. One of the primary factors affecting salary is the industry in which you choose to work. A dental assistant who chooses to work for an insurance carrier processing dental insurance claims tend to have the highest salaries. Nationally they earn on average $39,500/year. Highly skilled assistants can make up to $50,000/year.