Bright Future for Dental Assistants: Career Projections
For those searching for a new career track, a career as a dental assistant may be the perfect answer for you. If you’ve been toying with the idea for a while, now is the time. With employment projections looking to increase 36% by 2018, this puts dental assisting well above the national average of 10% growth. This field is one of the fastest growing projections among all job fields and the pay is excellent as well.
If you’re already a dental assistant, you may consider changing where you work, becoming certified, or continuing education to boost your credentials so you can get a higher paying job in the field. With the surge in growth, it will certainly become competitive.
Where the Growth Comes From
There are several reasons why the field is growing quickly, including: older dentists who did not need to hire assistants are retiring, dental advances are enabling people to keep their natural teeth longer in their lives, dentists are becoming increasingly busier, requiring help for the less complex procedures so they can focus on the major ones, and as people retire or leave the field for other reasons, their vacancies require replacement.
Where You May Work
The vast majority of dental assistants work in dental offices all over the country. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS statistics show as much as 93% of dental assistants work in a dentist’s office, with the other 7% holding federal, state, or local positions, or jobs in a traditional physician’s office. Nearly one-third of dental assistants work part time. Though hours typically match that of a traditional doctor’s office, some employees may need to work nights, and on Saturdays.
Licensed or Certified Dental Assistants
While there will be positions available for entry level dental assistants, many positions will be looking for people with more experience in the field. Those who have completed a dental assisting program through an accredited institution and those who have become certified and licensed by the state are going to be more marketable to employers. There is a board licensing exam from the Dental Assisting National Board, along with state specific requirements, to assist dental students in preparing for certification and licensing.
Continuing Your Education
With the fast pace of today’s medical research, there are many advances in a short period of time. The same is true in dentistry. This means in order to stay on top of your career and have an edge on all the competition, you must consider continuing education on a regular basis. There are many different ways to do this including: enrolling in a new degree program, taking classes on the weekends or at night, or attending various seminars and symposiums.
Preparing yourself for a dental assistant job now, will give you the best possible edge during the surge of growth of the next few years. The more you do beforehand, the better off you are in the long run. If you want a rewarding and challenging career, then a job as a dental assistant is right for you.