Visiting the dentist is an important part of life. You may hate getting poked or prodded during a visit at the dentist’s office, but it’s important because you don’t want to develop any oral complications.
Behind all the cleanings and dental work are folks who are providing you with the best care possible, dentists and dental assistants.
It’s no secret that becoming a dentist requires a lot of schooling and a lot of hard work. For those seeking employment at a dental practice, starting out as a dental assistant has many benefits including:
- Good pay: The overall employment rate in the dental industry is projected to grow 19% between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than the growth rate of some other occupations. For those seeking employment at a dental practice, that means dental assistant jobs and dentists jobs are in demand.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the median annual salary for dentists in 2017 was more than $158,000. For dental hygienists, it was more than $74,000. For dental assistants, it ranges anywhere from $24,000 to $50,000 and there’s 401 (k), paid holidays and paid sick leave among other benefits. So the field is a very lucrative one plus folks are more than likely to enjoy employment at a dental practice. Folks in the dental industry have been found to be more happy in their personal and professional lives.
- Something different: Working a desk job isn’t for everyone. For people looking for something different and far from repetitive, employment at a dental practice can offer plenty of variety. Dentists and dental assistants perform a variety of tasks everyday, ensuring that no two days are exactly alike. If you want a job with excitement and variety, becoming a dental assistant could be right up your alley.
- Filling a need: Since the job outlook in the dental industry is good, that’s a good sign for people who want to become dental assistants. As if that wasn’t enough, people trust dentists. Dentistry is considered one of the 10 most trusted and ethical professions in the United States, so even if people don’t like going to the dentist, they’re going to trust dentists and dental assistants to do a good job.
Whether you’re fresh out of dental school or considering a career change, your prospects at landing a job are going to be good, you’ll have a good paying job, you’ll be helping people in need and they will trust you.
- Work/Life balance: Some industries have jobs with grueling hours and outrageous expectations. But dental practices are the opposite. They’re usually closed on holidays and weekends and most of them operate on an 8-to-5 or 9-to-5 schedule. Having that kind of work schedule can help you maintain balance between your home and work life and you won’t grow discontented with your job by being overworked.
You might be wondering, what can I do to become a dental assistant? There are several steps you can take to make it happen:
- Complete a dental assistant program. This degree typically takes two years and provides training for things like oral anatomy, dental radiography, dental materials and CPR and first aid.
- Use dental placement services to try and find an externship. This will give you the hands-on experience you’re looking for and allow you to gain experience learning the finer points of dentistry in a real-world setting away from the classroom.
- Pick an area of dentistry to focus on. There are a lot of things you can specialize in within the dental field including endodontics and pediatric dentistry. This will help down the road when a dental placement service might be trying to place you somewhere for a job out of dental college.
- Complete any and all necessary licensing and certification requirements. Get other forms of certification and licensing if you need them, especially for specialty areas of dentistry.
- Go out and find a job. Dental placement services can be of great use if you’re looking to get started in dentistry.
Working as a dental assistant has plenty of benefits, including good pay and being able to help people in need. To get started on a career as a dental assistant, complete the necessary schooling and get real-world experience.