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Dental Assisting Career

Dental assisting career video (2 min. excerpt) from ADA website

Description of Occupation - The duties of a dental assistant are among the most comprehensive and varied in the dental office. The dental assistant performs a wide range of tasks requiring both interpersonal and technical skills. The dental assistant is the dentist’s “right arm”, taking on significant responsibility as a member of the dental health care team. Dental assistants greatly increase the efficiency of the dentist in the delivery of oral health care and are valuable members of the dental care team.  A dental assistant performs radiographic techniques in all types of dental offices; assists a dental practitioner in all office procedures (taking an impression and making a model of the patient’s teeth for study casts); performs routine office management operations; and has excellent oral and written communication skills. Many procedures performed may expose dental assistants to bloodborne pathogens, potentially hazardous materials and ionizing radiation.

Places of Employment and Outlook
 Ongoing research linking oral health and general health will continue to increase the demand for preventive dental services. As dental practices grow, more dental assistants will be needed.

Salary Ranges for Geographical Area
$32,500 median salary in Pennsylvania 2012 (BLS)

Educational Advancement
Dental assistants may continue their education in the areas of expanded function dental assistant (EFDA), dental hygiene, dentist, dental specialist, or in education. Completion of this certificate program, national certification and employment in the dental assissting field may allow articulation of 30 credits towards an Associate Degree in Health Science at HACC.

Related Websites For Additional Information About The Career
Career Infonet with salary and job outlook statistics, career video and licensing requirements
American Dental Association
Occupational Outlook Handbook


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