Dental assisting careers offer a lot of job opportunities for those interested in dentistry. Many assistants learn important skills while on the job. In addition, there are education programs available that can often be completed in under a year. Here is important information for those considering a career as a dental assistant.

Dentist assistants perform duties in office and patient care. They also may assist in laboratory work. You might be needed to keep track of instruments for the dentist. This includes cleaning, disinfecting, and laying out materials that the dentist will need for patient care. You may be the first one to see the patient, and show him or her to the chair.

Dental assistants are there to help the dentist with all kinds of procedures. You could be called upon to hand the dentist instruments and to operate equipment like suction devices. You also may give post operative and general information to patients. There are many other duties that you may perform under the supervision of a dentist.

The work environment for this occupation is clean and comfortable. You will be required to wear protective clothing such as gloves and masks. It is also important to know and understand all the diagnostic procedures. Many of these positions are full-time and 40 hours per week. You might need to travel some, if the practice you work for has more than one office.

Training for dental assisting careers can be a certificate or associate degree program, and the associate degree is a two year program. You also may find training in community colleges or vocational schools. Programs that are approved by the CODA or Commission on Dental Accreditation will give you the best chances of employment. You may learn in the classroom and work with different kinds of dental equipment. You also will need training in billing and terminology.

Depending on where you live, you may receive a license or certification as a dentist assistant. This will allow you to perform a wide variety of duties, including x-rays. It is important to contact your state board on dentistry for any requirements.

Average wages for dentist assistants varies a great deal according to location. The median annual wage is a little over $32,000. However, it can be as high as $46,000 a year and as low as $22,000 annually. Many jobs also come with benefits such as paid vacations.

The outlook for dental assisting careers is very good for the future. You can expect a better than average job growth of about thirty six percent, in the coming decade. This profession should enjoy some of the greatest job growth among professions.

The demand for dentistry is expected to increase in the future. This will be brought on by increased population. There is expected to be a lot of emphasis on preventative care, which will increase the demand for dentists and assistants. As a large percentage of the population nears the age of retiring, there will be many job openings from retirement. All of these things should make dental assisting careers an excellent employment opportunity for years to come. Figures are from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008.

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