Dental Assistant Job Description
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What does a dental assistant do? That depends on the day’s appointments, but on any given day you’ll likely be doing some combination of the following:
- Assisting during dental procedures
- Sterilizing instruments
- Taking dental impressions
- Managing office records
- Greeting and situating patients
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Instructing patients on proper oral care
Dentist offices are fast-paced and team-based. You’ll meet new people daily, and you’ll work closely with other staff to provide high-quality care and comfort to patients, whether they’re in for a routine cleaning or something a bit more stressful (no one likes root canals). Attention to detail and a desire to keep learning will serve you well in your new role: You’ll need to keep the workplace clean, follow standard procedures, and stay up to date on the latest tools and products. And with one of the best online dental assistant programs under your belt, you’ll be ready to excel in your new career and role.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average dental assistant earns $44,820 per year or $21.55 per hour.*
As long as we have teeth, we’ll need dental assistants—especially with the baby boomer population needing extra attention. According to the BLS, estimates show that industry employment will increase steadily, upwards of 7% in the next 10 years.*
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* Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. “Dental Assistants.” Occupational Outlook Handbook. Accessed September 20, 2023.
Statements found in the United States Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook are not a guarantee of any post-graduation salary, in part because the data used to create the Occupational Outlook Handbook includes workers from differing educational backgrounds, levels of experience, and geographic areas of the country.