Dental Assistant Career Outlook
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Dental Assistant Career Outlook

Jun 07, 2010

Dental assistants are part of many health care careers, which are in increasingly high demand. A career as a dental assistant will let you work with people while you help dentists and dental hygienists lighten their workload, and also help keep the dental office running smoothly. Since this career only requires minimal training, those who are interested in becoming dental assistants can be ready for the job in just a few months.

Job opportunities

Many dental practices are in great need of dental assistants and are willing to offer on the job training. However, it should be noted that dental assistants who choose to enter the field this way will not earn as much as a trained dental assistant, until such time as they are considered fully capable of handling their responsibilities.In 2008, there were an estimated 295,300 positions for dental assistants in the U.S., and about 93% of dental assistant jobs were through dentists’ offices.

Looking into the future...

From 2008 through 2018, it is predicted that there will be significant growth in jobs for dental assistants. In this time period, job openings for dental assistants will grow by 36% resulting in 105,600 new jobs. Demand for dental assistants is a result of an increase in the need for dental services. Part of this need is due to the fact that more elderly people are retaining their original teeth and thus require regular dental visits for longer than before.

New perspectives

Additionally, many health initiatives have been launched in the United States to promote dental health as a method of preventing heart disease and other major health issues. Many people who formerly did not seek the services of a dentist are now looking for regular cleanings and checkups to keep them healthy.

When the need for dentists increases, so does the need for qualified dental assistants to ensure that these dentists have the tools available to get their job done. By hiring one or more dental assistants, a dentist can offer a higher level of service and take on additional patients.

Who should consider becoming a dental assitant?

Those who are looking for a job that offers good security and a reasonable entry-level salary should certainly consider becoming a dental assistant. Anyone who is considering a career in the dental field may choose to start as a dental assistant and finance their education to further their career. Many people who started out as dental assistants have gone on to become dental hygienists or even dentists.

A dental assistant career can also lead to other jobs, such as:

  • Dental office manager
  • Instructor for new dental assistants
  • Dental insurance claims processor
  • Dental product sales representative

It only takes about one year to train to be qualified as a dental assistant. This is a perfect job to start learning about the dental industry, and it lets you help people every day.

Expected salary

Dental assistant careers offer an average annual salary of $32,380 (as of 2008). This amount is quite a bit higher than the average minimum wage, and it usually includes benefits of some sort. The Dental Assisting National Board reports that approximately 86% of dental assistants are receiving vacation pay, and around 50% are receiving some sort of health benefit.

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