Related job titles are: Dental Assistant, Registered Dental Assistant (RDA), Certified Dental Assistant (CDA), Expanded Duties Dental Assistant (EDDA), Orthodontic Assistant, Certified Registered Dental Assistant, Oral Surgery Assistant, Surgical Dental Assistant, Expanded Dental Assistant, or Expanded Duty Dental Assistant.
How Much Does a Dental Assistant Make? | Dental Assistant Salary
The median yearly salary for dental assistants was $33,470 in May 2010 (the most recent data available). This median salary is simply the salary where half the employees earned more and half earned a lesser amount. Employees in the lower 10 percent had an annual salary less than $22,680, and those employees in the top 10 percent earned greater then $47,090.
What Does a Dental Assistant Do? | Job Description
Dental Assistant is one of U.S. News and World Report "100 Best Jobs of 2013." Dental assistants have many tasks, ranging from patient care to record keeping, in a dental office. Their duties vary by state and by the dentistsí offices where they work. Assistants who do lab tasks, such as making casts of a patientís teeth, work under the direction of a dentist. They might prepare materials for a cast of teeth or create temporary crowns.
All dental assistants do tasks such as helping dentists with procedures and keeping patient records, but there are four regulated tasks that assistants may also be able to do, depending on the state where they work.
How to Become a Dental Assistant?
There are several possible paths to becoming a dental assistant. Some states require assistants to graduate from an accredited program and possibly pass a state exam. In other states, there are no formal educational requirements. Dental assistants who do not have formal education in dental assisting may learn their duties through on-the-job training.
Some states require dental assistants to be certified; requirements vary by state. To get certification, dental assistants must pass the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam
Dental Assistant Classes and Courses | Degree Programs
High school students interested in a career as a dental assistant should take courses in biology, chemistry, and anatomy. Some states require assistants to graduate from an accredited program and pass a state exam. Most programs take about 1 year to complete and lead to a certificate or diploma and are offered by community colleges. Two-year programs, also offered in community colleges, are less common and lead to an associate's degree.
Dental Assistant Jobs | Who is Hiring?
Employment of dental assistants is expected to grow by 31 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. Ongoing research linking oral health and general health will likely continue to increase the demand for preventive dental services. Dentists will continue to hire more dental assistants to complete routine tasks, allowing the dentist to see more patients in their practice and spend their time on more complex procedures. As dental practices grow, more dental assistants will be needed.
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