Are considering a career change? It’s never too late to change careers.
If you’re thinking of dentistry, you can get your foot in the door as a dental assistant. It’s a challenging career, but it offers good pay.
It’s also a rewarding experience that can benefit people’s lives. Dental assistant training isn’t extensive, and you can receive direct training.
This article will highlight the pros and cons of dental assistance. Let’s explore.
For one, a dental assistant will conduct many tasks throughout the day. If you’re looking for variety, a dental assistant position will never bore you. In addition to helping dentists handle patients, you’ll do the following:
Overall, dental assistants remain on their feet throughout the workday. People who mostly work in the office or at home are more likely to suffer from health issues.
A sedentary lifestyle can lead to back and hip issues. Inactivity can also cause serious ailments in the form of diabetes or heart disease. A dental assistant will provide two main types of physical activity: walking and standing.
Moreover, a dental assistant is a rewarding experience because you’re helping people improve their oral health. Dentistry is more than blessing people a pearly smile. Good oral health helps patients remain healthy overall.
You’ll also help them prevent serious oral complications in the future.
- Example:Many people suffer from gingivitis and don’t know it. It’s a gum infection that can cause tooth loss if left untreated. Treating gingivitis early can also prevent periodontitis, a serious gum disease that can infect the bones connected to teeth.
You’ll also play a role in improving mental health. For example, many people are self-conscious if they have dental issues. Better oral health can boost their self-esteem.
Dental positions also offer flexibility. Many assistants work full-time, but you can also work part-time. A part-time schedule is a great option if you have other obligations.
This position may not be for you if you’re not a multi-tasker. The job can be stressful, especially if you must juggle a variety of tasks at once.
The environment is also fast-paced. You must keep up with the dentist’s schedule and the patient’s schedule. Often, you’ll find that many patients are in a hurry, especially if they squeezed in a last-minute appointment.
A tough shift can cause tiredness at the end of the day. As a result, you may not have the energy for other jobs or hobbies. With that, the position is no more stressful than other jobs.
The job can also be hard when it comes to desk duty. Desk duties include filling out extensive paperwork. You must also have impeccable organizational skills. For example, your employer may expect you to organize records.
Additionally, you shouldn’t become a dental assistant if you don’t like working with people. You may deal with patients who aren’t in the best mood. This is especially true if they have a cavity or gum infection.
You may also need to keep patients calm, which isn’t always an easy feat. Additionally, you may contend with uncooperative children who don’t like dentist appointments. Unruly children can make the job more stressful.
Further, you’ll work in close proximity to a person’s mouth. If you’re averse to bacteria and infections, you may want to stay away from this position.
You’ll work with people who have serious oral infections. You may also have to witness dentists extracting teeth or conducting dental surgery. In essence, the position isn’t for the faint of heart.
Dental Assistant Salary
The average dental assistant salary in the United States is around $38,000 a year. Overall, the salary ranges between $34,000 and $40,000 a year. Your salary depends on a number of factors, such as:
- Additional skills
Dental assistant pay also depends on where you live. If you live in a major city, for example, your salary may be higher than the national average. In terms of the hourly rate, the average pay is $17.83 an hour.
If you have less than a year of experience, however, your pay could be $15 an hour. An experience of one or two years will command an average of $17 an hour.
If you have three to five years of experience, you may receive $19 an hour. If you have experienced between six to nine years, you can command $20 an hour. For those with ten years of experience or more, you can get receive $22 an hour or more.
Additional certification may also increase your hourly pay. If you gain additional certification, your position could command a rate of over 7% more than the average salary.
How to Become a Dental Assistant
To become a dental assistant, you must take the following steps:
- Participate in a dental assistant program recognized by the Commission on Dental Accreditation
- Take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam. The CDA must derive from the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
If you received on-the-job training, you must finish two years of full-time work as a dental assistant before taking the CDA exam. The same rule applies if you graduated from a non-accredited program. Also, state regulations vary when it comes to dental assistant certification.
Is a Dental Assistant Position Right for Me?
Becoming a dental assistant is the right fit if you’re good with people. The job also requires multi-tasking. It can also be physically demanding, as you’ll be on your feet for most of the day.
To become a dental assistant, you must either take coursework or have direct experience. Then, you can take the dental assistant exam.
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