We’ll Talk About Needed Hard and Soft Skills and So Much More
Dental assistant jobs are on the rise, with a projected growth rate of 11% between 2020 and 2030 alone. These positions are filling across the nation right now as more people are getting back into the routine of regular cleanings, dental maintenance, orthodontic treatments, teeth whitening, and more.
Dental assistants are in particularly high demand because they contribute to so many tasks in a dental practice—from dental functions like filling cavities, taking X-rays, handing appropriate tools to other dental professionals during procedures, making molds of teeth, to name a few. Many also serve in some administrative capacity – creating schedules, keeping records, making appointments, and occasionally managing the front desk.
If you’re intrigued by this exciting career path where you’re sure to be in high demand, you’re not alone. But we want you to have all the information you need before you invest time or money in preparing yourself—what you can expect, and the hard/soft skills needed—for a rewarding career as a dental assistant.
Top Benefits of Dental Assistant Jobs
If you’re passionate about talking to people or working in the dentistry field, those are intrinsic benefits to working as a dental assistant. However, professionals are drawn to this work for plenty of other reasons, as well. Dental assistants praise the quick entry to the workforce after completing an externship (more on that later). Additionally, being in high demand provides plenty of job options and the freedom to choose the practice that’s a great fit.
Dental assistants also benefit from their number of options in dentistry subspecialities – from periodontics to endodontics to orthodontics. Assistant roles in pediatric dentistry is an especially popular field for emerging dental assistants who prefer or are especially adept at working with children.
Essential Technical Skills
States differ in certification and licensing requirements, but the DANB’s Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination is the most common. This exam consists of 320 questions about general chairside manner, radiation safety, and infection control. Students can also take the National Entry Level Dental Assistant Test, also by DANB.
Following a few years in dental assisting, professionals may choose to complete an advanced degree. Those who obtained an associate degree during their initial academic training can often transfer existing credits to a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene. This degree opens the door for increased career mobility and even greater earning potential.
Required Soft Skills
If you value service and enjoy talking to people, this career option will speak to you. First, dental assisting across all subspecialties requires keen interpersonal skills simply because you’ll be talking and caring for people all day. You will also likely be one of the first faces people see when they visit, so you’ll need to maintain a calm, welcoming, and even comforting presence.
Second, dependability is a top soft skill for dental assistants. Quality patient care demands that you show up on time, perform tasks with a high degree of accuracy and stay especially aware of your surroundings throughout your shift.
Third, you’ll need strong, organized communication skills to excel in these clinical roles. Because you’ll deal with a high volume of information, patients, and procedures, you’ll need to keep track of everything so you can communicate effectively.
A Day in the Life as a Dental Assistant
You’ll likely begin your day at your clinic checking in, attending orientation and/or meetings, and getting ready to see patients.
Once your shift is underway, you could be assisting with any number of procedures including routine cleanings, oral surgery, and placing or removing dental implants. You may accidentally run into challenging situations (like an uncomfortable patient), but these occurrences are rare and can be avoided by remaining calm and professional.
Once you finish your shift, you’ll clean up your workspace, check in with other staff members, and complete any additional work you were assigned during your shift.
Contact Peak Performers Today to Find Your Next Dental Assistant Job
Ready to take on your next dental assignment? If so, browse our jobs or join our talent pool by submitting your resume. We’re happy to consider you for one of our many open jobs or contracts.
Peak Performers is a top-rated agency hiring general dental, orthodontic, and other specialty dental professionals all around Michigan and beyond. We provide temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct-hire staffing solutions and services to both government clients and private practices. Contact Peak Performers today!