If you have visited a dentist clinic lately, you must have observed a clinical staff member who must have helped you with appointment scheduling, x-rays, explained the entire procedure. Not just that he or she also sterilized instruments, they are also engaged in ordering supplies, preparing instrument trays, and maintaining your treatment records. This staff member is none other than a dental assistant.
An orthodontic assistant has more responsibilities. They need to have excellent communication skills as they will have to deal with people from all walks of life; they have to check with the patients as well. They must have excellent interpersonal skills as well. Along with that, they need to be proficient writers, be flexible with accommodating a lot of tasks. They should be good at clerical work and exceptionally good at organizing and managing. Some dental assistants also take up cleaning duties. A DA is doing everything to support, help, and assist the orthodontist.
As of May 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of orthodontist assistants was $35,390. While with those in the 90th percentile made $49,540. Although wages depend and vary on experience and location, becoming an orthodontist assistant is financially and professionally rewarding. Potential DAs should also be aware that the states with higher salaries require a higher level of training.
A growth of 25 per cent between 2012 and 2022 is expected in the field of dental assisting. Knowledgeable and compassionate professionals are required to fill these roles. There are many reasons behind this growth; Health insurance policies coverage has expanded in recent years. This leads to an influx of patients that visit dental clinics. The growing awareness of the public for dental care and good oral hygiene has also influenced the growth.
According to Labor statistics, this year would witness a job increase of 31 per cent for dental assistants. This is much higher than the estimate (14%) for the occupations in other industries. 34 % is predicted for all health care support organizations. Surge and emphasis laid on visiting dentists for the preventative dental procedure have also led to the increase. In 2011 DAs earned an average of $34,740 per year, almost $17 per hour. In 2018 it increased to more than $39,770 per year.
Being an orthodontist dentist has a lot of benefits, and with benefits come responsibilities. If you believe you have the traits and skills of becoming a great dental assistant, you must waste no time and go through the following steps which would help you in becoming an excellent orthodontist assistant in no time-
- This step will help you if you are a high school student or a fresher who still have time and plans to change their coursework. Make sure your basics such as – science and business management classes, writing, communication, and soft skills courses are covered. All these courses will help you prepare.
- Next step is to get enrolled in certificate programs; one must get trained in dental assisting. You can either get registered for a Dental Assistant Certificate Program which lasts from 3 months to a year and then Dental Assistant Associate Degree programs which go on for two years. At Global Orthodontic Alliance, I run such courses for the beginners.
- Externships are a great way to begin your career and to analyze the work environment, responsibilities and duties you would be having someday in the long run as a professional in your field. Developing a specialty in dentistry, like prosthodontics, orthodontics, and pediatrics is critical at this point. Externship is just the right opportunity.
- It would be best if you got licensed to practice. You should be authorized on completion of your accredited postsecondary educational program. You should also apply for a license after completing a practical or written exam. However, the requirements for a license vary from state to state. The two licenses are the most common.
- You have a variety of options to choose from when it comes to getting certified. In this case, as well, the requirements vary from state to state. All the certifications require different time and money investments; one should carefully explore all the options and choose the one that suits you.
- Certified Dental Assistant™ (CDA®)
- Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant (CRFDA®)
- National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA™)
- Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA®)
- Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA®)
Advancing your career is never a bad idea. You could either join an association or opt for additional certifications. This will only boost your profile as a dental assistant. You can always upgrade your existing credentials by dedicating some time and energy by enrolling yourself in a dental hygienist degree.