Home > Blog > Is dental assisting the right career for me?
by Raja Tahir on January 2, 2018 · 9:00 am
Are you interested in becoming a dental assistant? This post examines some of the duties and responsibilities you may encounter if you become a dental assistant.
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According to U.S News & World Report, dental assisting is ranked within the top 25 best health care support jobs in the United States, based on factors such as median salary, future job prospects, and more.
Dental assisting is a career that’s in high demand and is expected to grow over the next decade. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 19 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Ongoing research linking oral health and general health will continue to increase the demand for preventive dental services. As dental practices grow, more dental assistants will be needed.”
The BLS also reports that the median annual salary for dental assistants in the U.S. was $36,940 in May 2016. The BLS report for dental assistants in the state of California is even more promising. California has the highest employment level for dental assistants in the entire U.S., and the annual mean wage was $39,150 for California dental assistants.
According to the American Dental Association, a career in dental assisting offers a number of career advantages, including:
Dental assistants perform many tasks, which can range from taking X-rays, recordkeeping, patient care and scheduling patient appointments.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental assistants’ responsibilities typically include:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016, 91 percent of dental assistants were employed by the offices of dentists, 2 percent were employed by the government, and 2 percent were employed by the offices of physicians.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are several important qualities that dental assistants must possess. These include:
Dental Assistants greatly increase a dentist’s efficiency in the delivery of quality oral healthcare and are valuable members of the dental care team. If you have strong communication skills, enjoy working with your hands and want a career with responsibility, dental assisting could be right for you.
Even though there are no formal educational requirements in California to become a dental assistant, it is recommended that you be certified as this can open up more opportunities. Plus, some employers may require it.
According to the Dental Board of California, dental assistants who choose to become certified must take the Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) practical examination and a written examination. You must also take the Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) Law & Ethics examination.
If a career as a dental assistant interests you, here are the steps you can take to become one:
First, enroll in an accredited dental assistant program. According to the American Dental Association, dental assistants can receive their formal education through academic programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes, universities or dental schools. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) accredited nearly 300 dental assisting programs in 2017. Graduates of these programs usually receive certificates.
Once dental assistant students have completed their accredited dental assisting program, they become eligible to take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam. For people who have been trained on the job or graduated from non-accredited programs, they’re eligible to take the national certification examination after they complete two years of full-time work experience as dental assistants.
According to the Dental Board of California, you must pass the Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) written and practical exam as well as the state written exam in law and ethics and then apply for licensure as an RDA to the Dental Board of California. This must all be done after you graduate from a California Board-approved RDA educational program or after you complete 15 months of work experience as a dental assistant.
SJVC’s Dental Assistant program is approved by the Department of Consumer Affairs – Dental Board of California. Our program trains students in all aspects of working with a dentist, including patient care, and office and laboratory duties. SJVC’s Dental Assistant students can earn a certificate of completion in approximately 10 months. The program is offered at five different SJVC campuses throughout California. Our graduates earn certifications in CPR, Infection Control, HIPAA, Dental Radiation Safety, Coronal Polish and Pit & Fissure Sealant. Once completed, graduates are immediately eligible to take the Dental Board of California Examination for State Licensure as a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA).
Request more information or call 866-544-7898 to learn more about SJVC’s Dental Assisting program.
Posted in Dental Assisting