April 13, 2021
Given the change of course that has happened in the world, we wanted to provide expert opinions on what aspiring graduates can do to start off their careers in an uncertain economic climate. We wanted to know what skills will be more important, where the economy is doing relatively well, and if there will be any lasting effects on the job market.
Companies are looking for candidates that can handle the new responsibilities of the job market. Recent graduates actually have an advantage because they are comfortable using newer technologies and have been communicating virtually their whole lives. They can take what they've learned and apply it immediately.
We spoke to professors and experts from several universities and companies to get their opinions on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared. Here are their thoughts.
Carol Donohue: Before the pandemic, the Bureau of Labor Statistics rated dental assisting as one of the fastest growing careers, and it has continued to increase as many dental assistants have left to stay home with young children or elderly parents/relatives. Most dental offices report that they are extremely busy and trying to catch up from the work that was put on hold due to the pandemic. At one point dental offices were only seeing emergencies only. As the medical field continues to expand, opportunities for stable employment in this rewarding industry are within reach
Carol Donohue: There are additional precautionary measures that are taken due to COVID-19 that has changed what the typical day for a dental assistant looks like. A typical workday now starts with temperature checks as part of the Covid-19 screenings for all patients and staff. Pre-screening of patients by phone and also screening patients upon their arrival to the dental office. Upon arrival patients call from their cars and must wear a face mask and come alone if possible, fill out a Covid screening form and have temperature taken prior to being seated. Additional responsibilities include disinfecting and cleaning the office more than ever. Being super diligent about infection control protocols that have been added as a result of the pandemic. Add to this the additional personal protective equipment (PPE) that is recommended from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that is required under the Covid-19 protocols. These include head covering, a face shield, masks and disposable lab jackets. Despite the changes that dental assistants have been navigating through, one thing remains the same, they continue to embrace their underlying purpose, which is providing care for patients in need.
During a procedure, the dental assistant helps the dentist by handing them instruments and holding suction hoses to keep the patient's mouth clean and dry. Under a dentist's guidance, they may also take x-rays and perform lab tests. After a procedure, the dental assistant will review care instructions with the patient. They will then restock the examining room with supplies for the next patient.
After a procedure, a dental assistant will review care instructions with the patient. They will then restock the examining room with supplies for the next patient.
Carol Donohue: Increasing earning potential can come from various avenues which range from being prepared from the interview, staying current with continuing education as dentistry is always evolving in areas such as infection control, dental materials and more. The more knowledge, training, and education dental assistants have, the more they can contribute to the practice as well, making dental assistants an integral part of any successful dental practice.