5 Things to Know Before Becoming a Dental Assistant
Jun. 12, 2018
If you love to help others be the best version of themselves, have a knack for science and enjoy working with your hands, becoming a Dental Assistant (DA) might be the right fit for you. The health care field is going fast, and dental assistants are projected to see a 19% growth rate through 2026.
Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assisting is a fast-paced career that allows professionals to work with all demographics - from children to adults to elderly patients. The career requires a patient, friendly demeanor - a true professional who has a natural desire to serve others in a practical way.
Dental assistants perform many tasks, ranging from patient care and taking x rays to record keeping and scheduling appointments. Duties vary by state and by the offices, but typically include:
- Preparing patients and the work area for treatments and procedures
- Sterilizing dental instruments
- Handling instruments to dentists during procedures
- Instructing patients in proper oral hygiene
- Processing x rays and complete lab tasks, under the direction of a dentist
- Keeping records of dental treatments
- Scheduling patient appointments
- Working with patients on billing and payment
Where you might work
Many individuals find satisfaction in completing dental assistant programs with a likelihood of being employed after graduation. The career itself allows for part-time work, and dental assistants can even be employed at different practices.
There were about 332,000 dental assistants in 2016 with 91% working in dentists offices, 2% working in government and 2% working in physicians offices. DAs work under the supervision of a dentist and work closely with dental hygienists.
How do you become a DA
You can take several different paths to becoming a dental assistant. Some states require assistants to graduate from an accredited program, such as Concorde's, and pass an exam. Other states, there is no formal education requirements and a dental assistant learns how to do the job with on-the-job training.
The right fit for You
Dental assisting is a perfect fit for an individual who is naturally patient, friendly and who has a genuine spirit of service. Some preferred qualities are detail oriented, dexterity, interpersonal skills, good listener, and well organized.
Dental assisting programs are a good fit for individuals who want to work in health care, but the many years in school required to be a physician, dentist or oral surgeon do not fit their timetable or larger life goals. Dental assisting programs can be completed in less than a year, making you marketable and ready for the workforce in little time.
What are you waiting for
If becoming a dental assistant seems like a good fit for you, call today to see how Concorde's dental assistant program can get you there.