Are you contemplating a career choice, or even a career move as a seasoned professional? Working as a dental assistant is a wonderful way to enter the noble healthcare profession, and it offers you a wealth of opportunity as you travel your career path to success and fulfillment. Job prospects and pay are excellent throughout the United States and abroad, and certification is a quick and efficient process.
Rewards of Working as A Dental Assistant
Being able to develop quality relationships with coworkers and clients in a professional setting is one primary benefit of your work as a dental assistant. In addition, providing patients with care and educating them on the basics of good dental hygiene and overall health will give you a sense of satisfaction that you are doing important work.
While dental assistants are highly respected members of the healthcare community, there are those who wish to go beyond patient care and specialize in other areas of dentistry. Becoming a certified assistant can be a gateway to other specialized areas of dental care, all of which are fulfilling ways to mark your career path. How far do you want to go?
Speaking of Rewards
According to PayScale Inc., the nation’s most respected aggregator of information and statistics for careers and compensation, the average annual pay of a certified dental assistant in the U.S. with hourly pay, commissions, bonuses and profit sharing combined is between $25,449 – $47,856 while most Registered Expanded Function Dental Assistants in the United States enjoy a compensation package of $30,739 – $64,224.
And if that’s not enough incentive, consider that in the article called, “The American Way of Dentistry — How Dentists Think,” explains why almost all dental offices are closed on Fridays. For the dental assistant this means that not only could you be a white collar professional that earns a much higher than average income, have excellent opportunities to advance, but you will probably be working 4 days a week with a 3-day weekend. Add in that most dental practices close down the week between Christmas and New Years and you now have the job that most of your friends would love to have! (SOURCE: SLATE Online)
A Gateway to Specialization
If you desire more as a dental assistant, you must decide between expanding your knowledge of your position at the chair, or if you want to shift your focus to other areas of dental care. Here are some exciting options to consider when adding some professional development to your resume:
- Expanded Function Dental Assistant
An expanded function dental assistant certification includes more responsibilities than applying preventative hygiene procedures. Learning to perform additional functions such as coronal polish, application of sealants, topical fluoride and anesthetic will not only allow you to provide better patient care, it will land you a higher salary and ranking in your dental office.
- Dental Hygienist
A dental hygienist performs many of the same functions as a dentist, with the exception of some of the more complicated surgical and extraction procedures only performed by dentists. Dental hygienists are called upon to be a primary face for patients while receiving dental care, and as such command more authority in advising and treating them. A dental hygienist is a right hand to any dentist during more detailed procedures, and they are compensated well for doing so.
As a dentist, you have the most advanced role within a dental practice. A much more detailed educational path is ahead of you, but at the end of your journey, you have the knowledge and skills to successfully practice. Dentists are required to obtain a college degree, attend 4 years of dental school, and pass a series of state requirements examinations to receive their D.D.S. Dentists are responsible for all aspects of patient care and treatment, and they are highly respected members of the medical community.
If your professional goals are taking you beyond the chair, some of these specializations might be for you:
- Dental Laboratory Technician
A technician is another respected member of any dental office. Typically, a technician’s responsibilities include filling prescriptions for bridges, crowns, prosthetics, and other more detailed procedures. Technicians can become certified, or they may receive on the job training in a dental work environment.
- Dental Office Manager
An office manager has additional duties such as scheduling, accounting and HR responsibilities, and keeping the overall office flowing smoothly. While the office manager is a little more removed from patient care, it is still an essential role for any well run office environment. Most office managers receive extensive on the job training, although continuing education opportunities exist for those wishing to settle into this role.
Getting back into the classroom–as head of it this time—-is an enriching way to share your knowledge and expertise with others, and to make a lasting difference in the lives of the students you teach. While on the job training does count towards some teaching certifications, other states might require you to obtain additional licenses in education and training in order to be a certified dental assistant educator. Check with your state licensing organization to make sure you know what will be required of you when choosing this path.
No matter where your career may take you, immersing yourself in the field of dentistry by first becoming a certified dental assistant will open the door to countless other professional opportunities. At the Academy for Dental Assistants, we offer several certification courses for various positions in the field of dental care. Our training and professional development opportunities will assist you in finding work that enriches you, fulfill your career aspirations, and allow you to make a positive difference in the lives of all that you work with. For more information, please visit. www.acadmy4da.com.
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