How many do you know?
With the diversity in the field of dentistry, dental assistants are very much in demand. I’m sure you have met or even personally know quite a number of people who are or have been dental assistants. Maybe that is the reason why you chose this career. But just because they are in plenty doesn’t mean that the job is easy. So let us begin with finding out what exactly a dental assistant does.
You are not a Dental Hygienist
Let’s get that clear, shall we? Your training as a dental assistant does not equip you to clean teeth. You may be involved in some procedures but not too often. You are also not a receptionist. Your job does not involve the administrative work done by a receptionist or a secretary, okay?
Your job will mostly be focused on the patient. You will be taking their vitals before the procedures and reporting them to the hygienist or the dentist beforehand. When you are invited for procedures, you may do some supportive tasks like pulling the cheek back or giving the patient some water to swish in their mouths.
You will also be putting down critical patient data during a procedure that allows the dentists and dental hygienist to concentrate, as well as preparing any take-away packages for the patient to go home with after the procedure.
Maintenance of the equipment is also part of your job description. You must make sure that all the instruments are clean after a procedure and that they are all there and ready to go for another procedure. This is probably the most demanding part of the job, especially in a busy practice but you must make sure the equipment is sterile and safe for use.
So how do you get in?
You will need to get some education to prepare and certify you as a dental assistant. There are a number of community colleges or technical schools that offer a one year program. Just make sure it is accredited by the relevant authority or else no one will want to hire you.
Once you get your certification, it is time to put yourself out there. Sites like http://ddsconnections.com/are great places where you can meet potential employers, while also helping you check out the competition. You could also take advantage of your placement during training to build relationships and networks with potential employers.
What you need to do is get a professional resume that lists all your qualifications for this job through education and other skills and abilities. Since this is what potential employers will have as far as a first impression, make sure it is well written and laid out.
We all like to have some sense of job security and stability, so looking at the future prospects of a particular profession is important. Lucky for you, studies have shown that employment opportunities will go up by 30% in the next five years, so you should be able to find a job quickly once you are done with your training.
If you are passionate about oral health, then this is definitely a good choice for you. All the best!
Courtney Hoff is a human resource manager and a career counselor. She has worked with hundreds of individuals and written a few blogs on career development which you can find on http://ddsconnections.com/.