Dental careers are often desired because of their patient interaction, well-paid salary and work-life balance. There is substantially high demand for dental professionals that don’t involve the extensive education of becoming a dentist or related doctor. Positions, such as dental hygienists, dental assistants, dental lab technicians, and administrative assistants are also great ways to make a living in the dental field. With flexible hours and lower educational costs than dentists, the accredited training programs for such positions might be worth your time.
Dental assistants are considered one of the 25 fastest-growing occupations in the United States, providing a variety of tasks that help support the dental team on a daily basis. The responsibilities of a dental assistant often range from taking patient x-rays and sterilizing equipment, to recordkeeping and scheduling appointments. In some cases, dental assistants are also trained to take impressions of patients’ teeth for braces and retainers. Although the tasks of a dental assistant range from office to office, they often have many different opportunities for gainful employment and career advancement. Becoming a dental assistant is a great way to get into the dental care field without the expense of obtaining a degree. However, most states require the completion of an accredited program of one to two years in order to receive the proper credentials. Dental assistants, on average, tend to make about $37,000 a year as a mid-level career.
Dental Lab Technician
Becoming a dental laboratory technician is another great way to work with a dental team without a degree. Dental lab technicians help produce dental and orthodontic products, such as bridges, retainers, braces, crowns, dentures and more. While there are many courses that can help prepare you for the responsibilities that come with being a lab technician, most of the training can be done on the job. Although the salary depends on the practice, the average dental lab technician makes about $35,000-$37,000 a year.
A Dental Hygienist spends the majority of their day working directly with the patients under the supervision of a dentist. Averaging a salary of $74,000, Dental Hygienist are professionals with experience in cleaning tooth deposits, removing tough stains, and examining patients for signs of disease. Dental Hygienists are also trained in administering local anesthetics and providing preventative education for long term dental care. Dental Hygienists must acquire an Associate’s Degree to be considered for the role in a dental practice.
Every healthcare office requires administrative support in order to operate smoothly. Someone with a friendly face to greet patients, answer phones, and schedule appointments is the ideal candidate to create a welcoming atmosphere and outstanding patient care. The demand for Administrative Assistants, Front Desk Coordinators, and Office Managers is extremely high with no education needed to pursue. The average income for an administrative role on the dental care team typically ranges from $30,000-$40,000 a year.
On a doctorate level, becoming a general dentist isn’t the only line of professional that is available. Orthodontists, Periodontists, and Oral Surgeons name a few who specialize in dental health and help improve the quality of life for thousands of patients.
Orthodontists are specialists who help with the alignment and positioning of the teeth. After a long journey of education and schooling, Orthodontists are constantly staying up-to-date with the most advanced straightening techniques and appliances. If becoming an Orthodontist is a career that interests you, it requires up to 12 years of schooling and advanced specialty education. Although the road to becoming an Orthodontist is a long one, this dental career is projected to grow faster than moth careers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, the employment of Orthodontists is predicted to see a growth of 21% by 2020.
Oral surgeons, also known as Maxillofacial Surgeons, specialize in reconstructing the teeth, jaw, and facial bones, that can’t otherwise be treated through orthodontics. They often perform surgery and other procedures on the oral regions to treat diseases, injuries, and defects. The steps to become an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon include a four-year education, four years of dental school, and the completion of a hospital-based residency program.
A Periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the care of inflammation and disease of gums, the alveolar bone, and the periodontal ligament. To become a periodontist, one has to complete dental school and obtain a postdoctoral certificate, which often takes more than three years to receive.
The dental field has many different careers that are available. Depending on the degree of education in which you prefer, every dental position has the advantage of helping patients achieve healthier smiles.