A Day in the Life of a Dental Assistant

The Dental Assistant program at Pickens Technical College tries to prepare students for work in a dentist’s office, performing crucial tasks for patients and dentists so that everyone stays as happy as they could possibly be at the dentist’s office. One emphasis that PTC puts on its Dental Assistant program that separates it from other programs is attending to the needs of diverse populations. Communication, critical thinking, information and technology literacy, quantitative reasoning, and professionalism are all aspects of the Dental Assistant program at PTC. Because PTC exists in a diverse area, its teachers want to make sure all students are able to live and work in the surrounding communities.

Instructors Chuck Lee, Heidi Heath, and Cathy Mauricio are all dedicated to creating an environment where students can learn on the job, ask questions, and supplement their hands-on learning with classroom instruction. All students in this program will be evaluated on how they handle different patients and how they communicate with other dental professionals in a professional setting. In other words, if you want to be a Dental Assistant, PTC’s program will prepare you like no other.

After you’ve graduated with your Dental Assisting Certificate from the program, what can you expect?

What do Dental Assistants Do?

You know the basics: Dental Assistants assist dentists and other dental professionals. But on a day-to-day basis, they perform a wide range of tasks and procedures to help patients and dentists. These tasks include providing basic patient care (i.e. cleanings and routine checks), take X-rays, record results of tests, schedule appointments, keeping communication lines open with patients, and work directly with patients to help them decide on the best dental treatment options for them.

There is some variance in the actual duties Dental Assistants perform. Some states in the US have different regulations for the position, and much of what Dental Assistants do during their work hours depends on the dentist’s office at which they work. Different dentists will need different things from their assistants. In many cases, the Dental Assistant is the first or second person patients interact with during their dental appointments. They are often the face of the dentist’s office (aside from the receptionist), and often have a big influence on patient satisfaction.

Job Outlook

Time to get down to brass tax. Last year, the median pay nationwide for Dental Assistants was $37,630 a year, or about $18 an hour working full-time. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for Dental Assistants will only grow over the next decade, with an estimated job position growth rate of 19%, which is much faster than average job growth in all other sectors.

Students can get started on a career track at Pickens that can lead to bigger and better things. As Dental Assistants gain more experience while on the job, they can earn bigger salaries and help dental offices almost anywhere in the United States. All it takes to get started is enrolling in PTC’s Dental Assistant program.

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