One of the more common “quick” to get into careers is dental assisting. For the sake of this discussion, it’s important that we should mention dental assistants can be both “certified” and on the job trained (yes, on the job trained people near your mouth does sound scary). With this in mind, it’s a popular career choice because it’s fairly quick to get working and have paychecks rollin’ in.
What does a dental assistant do? Every dental office operates a little bit differently and for this reason, the job responsibilities of a dental assistant will vary. If the dental assistant is a RDA (means they are certified via state exams) they will have more functions to do things such as xrays, take impressions, and make temporary crowns. If they are on the job trained, they will usually do more prep work such as the setup and break down of the room for the dentist. They will also do a lot of the sterilization of the instruments.
Keep in mind though, both the registered dental assistants and on the job trained ones will do whatever the dentist needs of them. This can range from front office work, to chair side assisting. Is it hard work? Yeah, well it can be depending on the office you work for. I have seen great offices where things run smoothly and I have also seen nightmare offices.
What does a dental assistant make? Dental assistants make anywhere from minimum wage (on the job trained) to over 20 dollars per hour. They can work in more than one dental office, and do temp work that allows them great work flexibility.
Where do dental assistants work? Dental assistants work in private practice dental offices for both general dentists and specialized doctors. In addition they are also found in hospitals and some clinics.
How does one become a dental assistant? Well if you want to be certified, it’s going to take a minimum of 1 -2 years. This will option will give you the best starting salary for sure. Otherwise, you can simply apply for the positions that are willing to train on the job. Keep in mind though, your salary will be significantly less. Although it’s a great idea to begin working as soon as possible, since then it will allow you to decide if it’s truly a good career for you.
Continue on through the medical careers list if dental assisting doesn’t sound like a fit for you. There’s plenty of more options to choose from.