Inside Dental Assistant Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"How Different Is College Life From Professional Field...
I was surprised to find that practically working with the patients as profession requires a lot of patience. but still it was not as hard as it I thought while I was in college." (Dental Assistant; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in New York, male
School: Studied Dental Assistant at Monroe Community College in New York; completed Associate degree in 2012

"Some Skills Are Only Learned With Hands On Experience...
I was surprised how much an assistant actually helps with the care of patients. "Assisting" not only means setting up tools and trays, but actually helping the dentist to perform better. I was also surprised how much entailed a lot of useful feedback that can only be learned outside of schooling." (Dental Hygienist; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, male
School: Studied Dental Hygiene at UNCC (University Of North Carolina At Charlotte) in North Carolina; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

"I Was Surprised That People Skills Were Used More Than Math Skills...
I was surprised at how much hands on experience the Dentist allowed me to do." (Dental Assistant; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Kentucky, female
School: Studied Dental Assistant at Scioto County Joint Vocational School; completed Certificate degree in 2000

"Wide Demand For Dental Assistants In Florida...
1. I didn't know this job would not be in high demand in the state of Florida. 2. I am very surprised to see the demand for dental assistants are high in Florida but schooling for Dental Assisting are low in Florida compared to Georgia." (Dental Assistant; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Florida, female
School: Studied Dental Assisting at Albany Technical College in Georgia; completed Associate degree in 1994

I was surprised how little respect dental assistants receive. I was surprised how menial and grueling the work was." (Dental Assistant; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Physiology at University Of Arizona in Arizona; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

"Something that surprised me about my profession was having to deal with different kinds of people every day. It's not always easy to get people in the chair, especially very young people. I've learned a lot of new ways to interact with people, particularly children, in which I never would have expected before." (Dental Assistant; 2012)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, female
School: Studied Dentistry at Dental Assistant Training School in Virginia; completed Certificate degree in 2010

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Certified Dental Assistant: "The best part of my job is working with such great dentists and co-workers. We are like one big family. Everyone pitches in and helps one another. I also love the patients. Some kids enjoy going to the dentist and some do not. The ones who like to go can be very entertaining and fun to engage with. I try to reassure the ones who don't like to go and show them everything we use, and answer any questions that they have. It's very rewarding to see their confidence in us slowly build as they keep coming back." (2010)

Career Background

Dental Assistant

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"I Was Surprised At How Many Children I Was Able To Help...
The most rewarding part is being able to work with children. Being able to help them overcome their fears is very rewarding." (Dental Assistant; 2013)

"Avoid Professional Jealousy And Be Friendly With Our Colleagues...
when you get into professional field just be confident about yourself and try to avoid professional jealousy. believe in yourself no mater how much difficult is the situation." (Dental Assistant; 2013)

"Best Pay In...
1. Seek to work in a state with high demand, there you will find better and sufficient pay." (Dental Assistant; 2013)

"Pay Attention And Learn Everything You Can...
Listen, learn, and take in as much as you can when starting out in your field. It can really help out in the long run." (Dental Hygienist; 2013)

"Be Practical With Your Education...
Don't simply study "what you love" to study, study "what you love" to do every day, 9 to 5, for the rest of your life. Have a career in mind when you seek an education." (Dental Assistant; 2013)

"Starting With A Temp Agency To Explore Specialties...
If you are going to go to school for dental assisting make sure you go to an accredited one. If you would like to go on and become a dental hygienist there are waiting lists for some of these schools but, in the mean time, you could take some pre-requisite courses. You must have an associate's degree in science so courses geared toward this field will get you ahead. When you start your career in the dental field you could sign up with a temp agency. That way you can experience the many different specialties in dentistry to find out the area that fits you best." (Certified Dental Assistant; 2010)