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Fast Facts

Dental Assistant Careers Future

The projection for dental assistants careers in the future is expect to go up very quickly and continue to rise. The field has even been labeled by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics as the third fastest growing occupation in the US.

Typical Salary for a Dental Assistant according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Quick Facts: Dental Assistants:

  • 2017 Median Pay: $37,630 per year, $18.09 per hour
  • Typical Entry-Level Education: Postsecondary non-degree award
  • Work Experience in a Related Occupation: None
  • On-the-job Training: None
  • Number of Jobs, 2016: 332,000
  • Job Outlook, 2016-2026: 19% (Much faster than average)
  • Employment Change, 2016-2026: 64,600

What Dental Assistants Do

Dental assistants perform many tasks, ranging from providing patient care and taking x rays to recordkeeping and scheduling appointments. Their duties vary by state and by the dentists’ offices where they work. Dental assistants typically do the following:

  • Ensure that patients are comfortable in the dental chair
  • Prepare patients and the work area for treatments and procedures
  • Sterilize dental instruments
  • Hand instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Dry patients’ mouths using suction hoses and other equipment
  • Instruct patients in proper oral hygiene
  • Process x rays and complete lab tasks, under the direction of a dentist
  • Keep records of dental treatments
  • Schedule patient appointments
  • Work with patients on billing and payment

Work Environment

Almost all dental assistants work in dentists’ offices. Most work full time. However, you can also work in dental supplies sales or for insurance companies relating to dental claims.



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