Proper oral hygiene has been proven to positively affect the whole body. Part of maintaining teeth means frequent visits to the dentist, where dental assistants play a key role in this area of health care.
Dental assistants work closely with dentists, orthodontists, and dental surgeons. Their duties range from patient care, performing lab work such as taking x-rays, and preparing instruments for the dental provider. They also work closely with patients, setting appointments and providing instructions regarding proper dental care.
To become a qualified dental assistant and increase earning potential, complete a dental assisting program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).
In addition to completing a CODA-approved program, you must have a CPR certificate and pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination.
Graduates of a dental assistant program learn how to control infection, radiography, and preventive dental health. Common coursework includes:
Programs typically include hands-on clinical work in a real-world dental practice. This experience allows students the opportunity to select a specialty, such as orthodontics or pediatrics, if they choose to do so.
While there is no requirement to have an education or training requirements to be a basic dental assistant under the supervision of a licensed dentist, there are some licensing requirements to perform the full scope of tasks that fall under the role of dental assistant. To perform the expanded role of a dental assistant without supervision you must:
DANB CDA certification offers dental assistants improved chances in obtaining employment, as well as increasing their earning power.
Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
The map below shows job statistics for the career type by metro area, for Illinois. A table below the map shows job popularity and salaries across the state.
Listed below are metro areas ranked by the popularity of jobs for Dental Assistants relative to the population of the city. Salary data was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; O*NET® 23.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org
Annual Median Salary