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Personal Budget Wikiproject My Job: Dental Assistant Nature of the Work: Dental Assistants work closely and under supervision of Dentists. They perform many different duties and for patient care, office, and in the laboratory. They prepare and lay out instruments required for different dental procedures, as well as sterilizing them and disinfecting them before use. Like stated above, dental assistants assist dentists during different procedures, such as handing them different instruments and they help keep the patients mouth dry and clear by using suction hoses. In addition, when they are not helping a dentist during the procedures, they also do a variety of things directed by dentists such as making impressions, restorations, and they also process dental x rays. Before certain procedures, they also apply topical anesthetics to gums/ cavities and remove excess cement used in filling process and place dental dams to isolate teeth for treatment and procedures and they also make temporary crowns. Dental assistants that work in the office schedule and confirm appointments, receive patients, send/receive bills, and order dental supplies and materials. Most work 30-40 hours a week. Training, other qualifications, and Advancement: Many dental assistants learn their skills on the job. However, there is an increasing number of training dentalassisting programs offered by community and junior colleges, trade schools, technical institutes, or the Armed Forces. Most programs take 1 year to complete. A license or certification is required for more advanced functions such as radiological procedures. Education and training. Most programs take close to 1 year to complete and lead to a certificate or diploma. Twoyear programs offered in community and junior colleges lead to an associate degree. All A high school diploma is required and some computer related courses are required for admission. A large number of dental assistants learn through on-the-job training. A dentist or other dental assistants assist and teach different dental terminology, instruments used, and daily duties. Also they observe and learn how to interact with patients and how to keep the office running smoothly. A period of on-the-job training is often required even for those who have completed a dental-assisting program or have some previous experience. Different dentists may have their own styles of doing things that need to be learned before an assistant can be comfortable working with them. Licensure and certification. Different States have different requirements to be a dental assistant. Some States require licensure or registration to perform radiological procedures within a dentist’s office. You can obtain a license by passing a written or practical exam. Many States also require continuing education to maintain licensure or registration. Since requirements vary widely by State, it is recommended to contact the appropriate State board directly for specific requirements.

The Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) credential, administered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), is recognized or required in more than 37 States to perform many duties. You can qualify to take the DANB certification examination by graduating from a CODA-accredited dental assisting education program or by having 2 years of full-time, or 4 years of part-time, experience as a dental assistant. Certain States also have different standards for dental assistants who perform certain advanced duties such as radiological procedures. Completion of the Radiation Health and Safety examination or the Certified Dental Assistant examination offered by Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) meets the standards in 30 States and the District of Columbia. Other qualifications. Dentists look for Dental Assistants that are reliable, work well with others and be able to use their hands easily. Certification and advancement. Advancement opportunities are limited without further education. Dental assistants can become office managers, instructors, sale representatives, or insurance claims processors for dental insurance companies. You can also go back to school to become dental hygienists. Employment: There were about 295,300 jobs as dental assistants in 2008. Job Outlook: Job prospects for dental assistants are expected to be excellent. It is expected to grow 36% from 2008 to 2018, which is considered generally faster than most occupations. It is considered one of the fastest growing occupations in the near future. There will be many opportunities for entry-level jobs, but some dentist may want more experienced assistants. Projections Data:

Projections data from the National Employment Matrix Occupational  Title

SOC Code

Dental assistants 31­9091

Projected Employment, 2008 Employment, 2018 295,300


Change, 2008­18 Number 105,600


Detailed Statistics

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   NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook  introductory chapter on Occupational Information Included in the Handbook.

Earnings: The median annual wage for a dental assistant was $32,380 in May 2008. Fifty percent earned between $26,980 and $38,980. Some jobs also have benefits. For example, 86% of Certified Dental Assistants received paid vacations, and half received health benefits.

Employment estimate and mean wage estimates for this occupation:

Employment (1)  294,030

Employmen Mean hourly Mean annual t Wage RSE (3)  wage wage (2)  RSE (3)  0.9 %



0.4 %

***Annual Gross Income: $34,140 Related Occupations: dental hygienists, medical assistants, occupational therapists assistants and aides, pharmacy technicians and aides, physical therapists assistants and aides, surgical technologists.

My Job- Dental Assistant  

Informations about being a dental assistant.