Dental Assistants
SOC: 31-9091.00

Description:

Assist dentist, set up equipment, prepare patient for treatment, and keep records.


National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.


Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
318,800 employed

Projected (2024):
377,400 employed

Projected growth (2014-2024)


Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.


Alternate Titles:

  • Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)
  • Certified Registered Dental Assistant
  • Dental Aide
  • Dental Assistant (DA)
  • Dental Nurse
  • Dental Office Manager
  • Dentist Attendant
  • Expanded Duty Dental Assistant (EDDA)
  • Expanded Function Dental Assistant
  • Oral Surgery Assistant
  • Orthodontic Assistant (Ortho Assistant)
  • Orthodontic Technician
  • Orthodontist Assistant
  • Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)
  • Surgical Dental Assistant


  • Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed

    Experience:

    Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.

    Education:

    Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

    Job Training:

    Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.


    Required Skills:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Monitoring
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Operations Analysis
  • Technology Design
  • Equipment Selection
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Troubleshooting
  • Repairing
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Management of Financial Resources
  • Management of Material Resources
  • Management of Personnel Resources

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Economics and Accounting
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Production and Processing
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Design
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology and Anthropology
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Therapy and Counseling
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • Foreign Language
  • Philosophy and Theology
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Communications and Media


  • Tasks:

  • Prepare patient, sterilize or disinfect instruments, set up instrument trays, prepare materials, or assist dentist during dental procedures.
  • Expose dental diagnostic x-rays.
  • Record treatment information in patient records.
  • Take and record medical and dental histories and vital signs of patients.
  • Provide postoperative instructions prescribed by dentist.
  • Assist dentist in management of medical or dental emergencies.
  • Pour, trim, and polish study casts.
  • Instruct patients in oral hygiene and plaque control programs.
  • Make preliminary impressions for study casts and occlusal registrations for mounting study casts.
  • Clean and polish removable appliances.
  • Clean teeth, using dental instruments.
  • Apply protective coating of fluoride to teeth.
  • Fabricate temporary restorations or custom impressions from preliminary impressions.
  • Schedule appointments, prepare bills and receive payment for dental services, complete insurance forms, and maintain records, manually or using computer.
  • Order and monitor dental supplies and equipment inventory.
  • Fabricate and fit orthodontic appliances and materials for patients, such as retainers, wires, or bands.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • Air abrasion units
  • Air compressors
  • Air/water syringes
  • Amalgam carriers
  • Amalgamators
  • Apex locators
  • Articulators
  • Aspirating syringes
  • Autoclaves
  • Band seating pliers
  • Bench lathes
  • Bite blocks
  • Bitewing film holders
  • Burs
  • Caries detection aids
  • Cartridge syringes
  • Chemiclaves
  • Collar scissors
  • Computerized pressure/vacuum casting systems
  • Contouring orthodontic pliers
  • Cotton forceps
  • Crown scissors
  • Dental chairs
  • Dental crimping pliers
  • Dental cutting instruments
  • Dental explorers
  • Dental furniture units
  • Dental handpieces
  • Dental laser systems
  • Dental pliers
  • Dental retainers
  • Dental scalers
  • Dental spatulas
  • Dental tweezers
  • Dental wedges
  • Dental x ray film processors
  • Dental x ray machines
  • Denture model presses
  • Denture, acrylic and porcelain polishing kits
  • Double-ended probes
  • Electric endodontic handpieces
  • Electric general dentistry handpieces
  • Electric surgical handpieces
  • Electronic blood pressure devices
  • Electronic calculus detectors
  • Electrosurgery units
  • Evacuator systems
  • Extracting forceps
  • Filling instruments
  • Gingival retraction cords
  • Gracey curettes
  • Headgear
  • Hemostatic forceps
  • High-intensity lights
  • High-speed handpieces
  • High-velocity evacuators
  • Impression trays
  • Instrument sharpening devices
  • Intraoral detailing pliers
  • Intraoral x ray equipment
  • Lead aprons
  • Light curing units
  • Manual blood pressure cuffs
  • Matrix bands
  • Model trimmers
  • Molar clamps
  • Needle holders
  • Needles
  • Offset utility pliers
  • Orthodontic band pushers
  • Orthodontic band slitters
  • Orthodontic brackets
  • Orthodontic pliers
  • Orthodontic separators
  • Oxygen tanks
  • Panoramic x ray equipment
  • Personal computers
  • Posterior matrices
  • Power vacuum mixers
  • Prophylaxis angles
  • Protective shielding equipment
  • Pulp testers
  • Radiation dosimeters
  • Root elevators
  • Rotary handpieces
  • Rubber dam clamp forceps
  • Rubber dam punches
  • Rubber dams
  • Saliva ejectors
  • Single-ended periodontal probes
  • Slow-speed dental handpieces
  • Splinter forceps
  • Steam cleaning equipment
  • Steam sterilizers
  • Sterilizers
  • Straight utility pliers
  • Thermal disinfectors
  • Thyroid collars
  • Tongue forceps
  • Torqueing pliers
  • Ultrasonic sterilization units
  • Universal curettes
  • Vacuum formers
  • X ray machine cones
  • Email software
  • Henry Schein Dentrix software
  • Intuit Quicken software
  • Kodak Dental Systems Kodak SOFTDENT Practice management software PMS
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Patterson Dental Supply Patterson EagleSoft
  • The Systems Workplace TDOCS
  • Web browser software
  • Word processing software


  • healthcare support


    industry stats

    SOC: 31-0000

    Total Employed: 3,989,910

    Average Annual Salary: $29,520