There are many reasons why Dental Assistants are smiling in 2012 – including job growth in this expanding allied health field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for Dental Assistants from 2010-2020 is projected to increase 31% –faster than average for the majority of occupations in the United States. As there has been research linking oral health to general health, the need and attention to high-quality dental care likely will increase.
Most Dental Assistants work in dental offices, community health centers, or hospitals that provide dental services. This profession includes a range of responsibilities from hands-on patient care to sterilizing instruments, from preparing the patient and examination room to record keeping and administrative tasks. Some Dental Assistants choose to continue their education and go on to become Dental Hygienists, performing other specialized duties and fulfilling additional responsibilities.
The requirements to become a Dental Assistant vary state by state. In Arizona, in order to expose patients to X-rays, Dental Assistants must become certified which requires successful completion of the Radiation Health and Safety exam.