Pony Express News

Career Profile; So, you want to be a dental assistant

Dental assistant helping the dentist

Dental assistant helping the dentist

Genesis Torres, Dental assistant

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Dentists need support from the dental assistants as they treat patients. Dental assistants sterilize dental tools before each patient comes in. They also prepare trays of instruments for procedures. As dental assistant’s direct patients to sit in the chair they start getting nervous and their jobs is to help them relax. They stand nearby and hand dentists tools as their needed. These dental assistants are to be found at any dentist such as Silva Dental Center on Cermak.

WHO can do this? You have to be organized, good with people, detail oriented, work well with your hands and have interest in health issues and oral hygiene.
WHAT does it take? You can get a certificate after one year or an associate’s degree after two years.
WHERE can you get it? Two year community college.
WHEN can you do it? It takes from 1 year to 2 years.
WHY should you do it? You will get pay during your vacation, you also get dental care and health insurance.
HOW much will you make? Entry salary will start at $14.59 and median salary will be $17.61

There are 11 schools in the area that offer a one to two years program to complete whether a student is pursuing a certificate, diploma or associate’s degree for dental assisting. The least expensive tuition (not including fees) seems to be at Wilbur Wright College for $2,429 for the year. In-district students must live within the city of Chicago for at least 30 days before classes begin for the term. Students who work more than 35 hours per week in the city of Chicago can qualify for in-district tuition for those who live out of district. In the other hand, Kaskaskia College offers an Associate’s degree. Tuition at Kaskaskia would be about $7,424 (including fees). If students are present to the college, out of district students may qualify for tuition on the same basis as in-district students.

My name is Anna Flores, and I am a dental assistant at Children’s Dentistry. I received my associates degree in nursing from Morton College in 2017. I’ve worked for three different dentists offices since 2008 till present.

Q: Tell me about your job, is there anything different you do from others in your same occupation?

A: I help the dentist clean the dental treatment rooms, setting up the rooms, I order supplies and prepare for different dental procedures. I also help during procedures, write up patient notes, bill patients and call to check up on them.

Q: Can you tell me about your background and how you got into this field?

A: I started working as a dental assistant without experience and I learned so much with the people I got trained by. I then started realizing this is what I wanted to study and I have the skills besides that the money is good. I like working with patients and I’m very comfortable where I am.

Q: What personal characteristics are required for someone to be successful in your job?

A: You work with patients all day and mostly dislike being there, so you have to make them feel as comfortable and as welcome as possible. The day and procedures follow a certain routine which you need to help the dentists stay on schedule. It’s important to be organized.

Q: How much job security is there for people in your field?

A: Job security is likely to be the least stable in the first few years on the job. There’s people that change dental offices several times, other people don’t like it and get out of the profession. If you get along with the dentist you could stay with him or her for life.

Q: What other jobs could you do with the skills you have gained in this field?

A: With extra training, dental assistants could become dental hygienists, dental lab techs or if they go to school then also dentists.

Q: What do you think the future holds for people in your occupation?

A: As long as there dentists, there will always be a need for good, knowledgeable and dependable dental school, dentists. The job itself changes with technology. There is always something new to adapt to. Hopefully our salaries increase too.

Q: What are the biggest challenges in your job?

A: Having to deal with patients is the most challenging part of my job. Some are more difficult than others, most of the time because they’re afraid of dental treatments.

Q: Are there many opportunities in your field? What should people do to get started?

A: There’s dentists that will train you on the job which you really don’t need experience or formal training. You can just get out there with your resume and meet dentists. Show them you are available and willing to learn. An advantage of going to school is that they will help place you with an employer when you graduate.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
1 Comment

One Response to “Career Profile; So, you want to be a dental assistant”

  1. Fernanda Rosel on May 7th, 2018 9:47 am

    I find this occupation to be very good because the career is overall very cheap 2,500 a year. It could be a great option for many people and like the person being interviewed said you can level up and have a higher position from being a dental assistant. This job requires to be very hygenic and to be pacient since most people are very nevous to go to the dentist.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

Navigate Left
Navigate Right

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

The student news site of Morton East High School
Career Profile; So, you want to be a dental assistant