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Overview of the Job Outlook and Salary of a Dental Assistant

Over the past few years making a career as a dental assistant has gained enormous popularity in the United States. In fact, it has emerged as one of the few professions in the health care industry that has pulled the interests of many people in last few years. The tasks of a dental assistant include patient care, as well as office and laboratory responsibilities. While the specific duties of a dental assistant differ depending on the work setting, training and experience level, all primarily work closely with dentists to make sure that each dental process gets completed effectively.

Job Description

The main responsibility of dental subordinate is to help dentist execute different dental procedures. In most of the cases, responsibilities generally revolve around managing tasks that require to be done proceeding to a dental procedure, such as a filling, crown, ties or tooth extraction. Adding to this, it is also the responsibility of assistant to clean the chair and equipment so that it is ready for the patient. The other responsibilities also include: sterilizing, washing instruments and apparatus and informing patients about postoperative and basic dental health.

Apart from all this, dental assistant who works in the office is equally responsible for scheduling and reminding patients of appointments, checking patients in, managing bills and payments, and ordering dental materials. It is important to understand that the profile of a dental assistant is not similar to a hygienist. It differs significantly from hygienists. In fact, hygienists are licensed professionals with clinical duties.

Job Prospect

The job outlook for dental assistant is excellent and in next few years the field is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2016. As per the recent observations, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that this profession will be the third fastest growing occupation. It is projected to be one of the fastest growing jobs over the next several years. Several job openings will arise due to the growth of employment and the need to replace transferring assistants, retiring assistants or others. Definitely, this is great news, especially for those who are just entering or looking forward making career in this field. While assistants can choose to complete dental subordinate training programs, this is one occupation for which on-the-job training is common.

Decent Salary

In terms of salary, this profession also offers a decent income. As a general benchmark, these are the most recent salary figures for dental assistants in the United States:

1. 50 percent of dental assistants earn between $29,785 and $36,564 per year
2. The top 10 percent of dental assistants earn over $39,400 per year
3. Dental assistant hourly rates generally start at $11.55 straight out of school and can exceed $20 with experience

Though, the pay for dental assistants varies based on experience and qualifications. The compensation levels for dental assistants also fluctuate from state to state. This is primarily due to the differences in cost of living and other local factors. Another factor that influences dental subordinate salaries is industries like Dental Laboratory, Orthodontics, Cosmetic and Dental Prosthetic Service. As per the current scenario, comparing Dental Assistant Salary by Industry shows that assistants who work in cosmetic dentistry tend to earn higher salaries.

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