I am currently studying at CFCC to get into the Dental Assisting program. Upon graduating, I would like to acquire a job at an orthodontists office. The employment for this occupation is actually expected to grow much faster than average; between 2008 and 2018, employment is expected to grow 36 percent. The job demand in the Cape Fear area seems to be fairly higher than other areas in North Carolina, and higher than some other states as well.
The average starting salary for dental assistants in 2008 was about $32,774. The lowest 10 percent of workers in 2008 earned about $22,270 and the highest 10 percent earned over $46,150. These numbers have increased since 2008, but annual salaries still vary greatly depending on what type of office you work in. If you work in the office of a physician you are likely to only earn, on average, $31,240; if you work in a federal branch you can earn upwards of $39,201 on average. Some employers will give their workers dental benefits which can increase the value of the job.
In most states, a high school diploma is the only educational requirement for dental assistants because the employer will give the worker on-the-job training. On-the-job training is sometimes required for employees who have already graduated from an accredited college and earned a degree in dental assisting. Some states require that you become licensed or registered, that you complete an accredited program at a college and that you take and pass an examination. Several states even require that you continue your education to maintain your licensure.
There are a few things that are very important for a dental assistant to know: dental terminology, instrument names, how to perform daily tasks, how to have positive interactions with patients, and other miscellaneous tasks that help keep things running smoothly at the office where you are working. A dental assistant must be able to work well with others because they are the second pair of hands for the dentist. A dental assistant must be able to understand the dentist and communicate with the dentist to provide proper tools and assistance. Assistants must be very reliable and have excellent manual dexterity so that they can provide the best service to the dentist and to the patient that they are working with. Dental assistants will also have to be knowledgeable on how to properly sterilize and disinfect equipment and instruments and how to set up and lay out instruments and materials for each patient. They must obtain and update patients records as needed and ensure that their patients are comfortable at all times.
The typical working areas for dental assistants are very clean, organized, and well lit. They must wear gloves, masks, eyewear, and protective clothing so that they are not exposed to any kind of infectious diseases. Assistants must also follow safety guidelines while operating x-ray machines and equipment. Dental assistants are very important to the dental team because...