What can you do with a Dental Assisting Degree?

Best Jobs For Dental Assisting Major

The time after graduating from college can be a stressful time as you try to find your first job. As a way to help you out, we have found that there are actually a lot of job opportunities for graduates with a dental assisting degree. By scouring millions of job listings and scanning through 19,357 dental assisting major resumes we were able to find the most preferred jobs by dental assisting majors.

Find Dental Assisting Major Jobs

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Starting Salary
$53,000
Job openings
7,828
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Chicago, IL;  San Antonio, TX;  
Job Description:
Dental hygienists clean teeth, examine patients for signs of oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provide other preventive dental care. They also educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health.
Starting Salary
$28,000
Job openings
10,425
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Chicago, IL;  Houston, TX;  
Job Description:
Dental assistants perform many tasks, ranging from providing patient care and taking x rays to recordkeeping and scheduling appointments. Their duties vary by state and by the dentists’ offices where they work.
Starting Salary
$31,000
Job openings
8,776
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Chicago, IL;  Columbia, SC;  
Job Description:
Dental assistants perform many tasks, ranging from providing patient care and taking x rays to recordkeeping and scheduling appointments. Their duties vary by state and by the dentists’ offices where they work.
Starting Salary
$132,000
Job openings
40,056
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Jacksonville, FL;  
Job Description:
Dental assistants perform many tasks, ranging from providing patient care and taking x rays to recordkeeping and scheduling appointments. Their duties vary by state and by the dentists’ offices where they work.
Starting Salary
$95,000
Job openings
2,720
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Los Angeles, CA;  Boston, MA;  
Job Description:
Dentists diagnose and treat problems with patients’ teeth, gums, and related parts of the mouth. They provide advice and instruction on taking care of the teeth and gums and on diet choices that affect oral health.
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Starting Salary
$22,000
Job openings
21,957
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Chicago, IL;  Los Angeles, CA;  
Job Description:
A Brand Ambassador promotes a company’s image in a positive manner in front of customers. They represent the company, interacteracting with the general public at events, promoting the brand on TV or radio, and doing product demonstrations, among other duties.
Starting Salary
$29,000
Job openings
19,236
Top Locations:
Houston, TX;  Phoenix, AZ;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a wide variety of academic and career and technical subjects beyond the high school level. They also conduct research and publish scholarly papers and books.
Starting Salary
$25,000
Job openings
93,141
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  San Antonio, TX;  
Job Description:
Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. Their duties vary with the location, specialty, and size of the practice.
Starting Salary
$30,000
Job openings
23,968
Top Locations:
Houston, TX;  Phoenix, AZ;  Alpharetta, GA;  
Job Description:
Secretaries and administrative assistants perform clerical and administrative duties. They organize files, prepare documents, schedule appointments, and support other staff.
Starting Salary
$64,000
Job openings
2,315
Top Locations:
Youngstown, OH;  Boston, MA;  Denver, CO;  
Job Description:
Dental hygienists clean teeth, examine patients for signs of oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provide other preventive dental care. They also educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health.
Starting Salary
$29,000
Job openings
38,681
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Philadelphia, PA;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
Receptionists perform administrative tasks, such as answering phones, receiving visitors, and providing general information about their organization to the public and customers.
Starting Salary
$30,000
Job openings
7,131
Top Locations:
San Antonio, TX;  Houston, TX;  San Diego, CA;  
Job Description:
Dental assistants perform many tasks, ranging from providing patient care and taking x rays to recordkeeping and scheduling appointments. Their duties vary by state and by the dentists’ offices where they work.
Starting Salary
$29,000
Job openings
8,202
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Austin, TX;  Denver, CO;  
Job Description:
Dental assistants perform many tasks, ranging from providing patient care and taking x rays to recordkeeping and scheduling appointments. Their duties vary by state and by the dentists’ offices where they work.
Starting Salary
$29,000
Job openings
65,809
Top Locations:
Houston, TX;  New York, NY;  San Antonio, TX;  
Job Description:
Medical laboratory technologists (commonly known as medical laboratory scientists) and medical laboratory technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances.
Starting Salary
$22,000
Job openings
32,920
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Chicago, IL;  Houston, TX;  
Job Description:
Dental assistants perform many tasks, ranging from providing patient care and taking x rays to recordkeeping and scheduling appointments. Their duties vary by state and by the dentists’ offices where they work.
Starting Salary
$34,000
Job openings
34,275
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Huntsville, AL;  
Job Description:
Dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians construct, fit, or repair appliances and devices, including dentures, eyeglasses, and prosthetics.
Starting Salary
$30,000
Job openings
32,511
Top Locations:
Los Angeles, CA;  New York, NY;  Mesa, AZ;  
Job Description:
Dental assistants perform many tasks, ranging from providing patient care and taking x rays to recordkeeping and scheduling appointments. Their duties vary by state and by the dentists’ offices where they work.
Starting Salary
$34,000
Job openings
21,066
Top Locations:
Irvine, CA;  Huntsville, AL;  Newport Beach, CA;  
Job Description:
Dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians construct, fit, or repair appliances and devices, including dentures, eyeglasses, and prosthetics.
Starting Salary
$26,000
Job openings
15,416
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Washington, DC;  
Job Description:
Information clerks perform routine clerical duties such as maintaining records, collecting data, and providing information to customers.
Starting Salary
$40,000
Job openings
14,039
Top Locations:
Charlotte, NC;  Dallas, TX;  Jacksonville, FL;  
Job Description:
Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a wide variety of academic and career and technical subjects beyond the high school level. They also conduct research and publish scholarly papers and books.
Starting Salary
$40,000
Job openings
55,689
Top Locations:
Houston, TX;  Baltimore, MD;  San Antonio, TX;  
Job Description:
Medical laboratory technologists (commonly known as medical laboratory scientists) and medical laboratory technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances.
Starting Salary
$25,000
Job openings
52,168
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
General office clerks perform a variety of clerical tasks, including answering telephones, typing documents, and filing records.
Starting Salary
$41,000
Job openings
22,462
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Atlanta, GA;  
Job Description:
A Surgical Assistant provides assistance during an operation by performing a wide range of crucial tasks. They cover patients with surgical drapes to create and maintain a sterile operative field and adjust and maintain operating room parameters according to the surgeon's specifications.
Starting Salary
$16,000
Job openings
92,998
Top Locations:
Baltimore, MD;  Austin, TX;  Boston, MA;  
Job Description:
Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. Their duties vary with the location, specialty, and size of the practice.
Starting Salary
$64,000
Job openings
232,830
Top Locations:
Atlanta, GA;  San Antonio, TX;  Amherst, MA;  
Job Description:
Dentists diagnose and treat problems with patients’ teeth, gums, and related parts of the mouth. They provide advice and instruction on taking care of the teeth and gums and on diet choices that affect oral health.
Starting Salary
$23,000
Job openings
51,097
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
General office clerks perform a variety of clerical tasks, including answering telephones, typing documents, and filing records.
Starting Salary
$29,000
Job openings
13,797
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Chicago, IL;  Houston, TX;  
Job Description:
Human resources specialists recruit, screen, interview, and place workers. They often handle other human resources work, such as those related to employee relations, compensation and benefits, and training.
Starting Salary
$22,000
Job openings
97,324
Top Locations:
Chicago, IL;  New York, NY;  Saint Louis, MO;  
Job Description:
Nursing assistants, sometimes called nursing aides, help provide basic care for patients in hospitals and residents of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes. Orderlies transport patients and clean treatment areas.
Starting Salary
$23,000
Job openings
46,479
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Miami, FL;  
Job Description:
Receptionists perform administrative tasks, such as answering phones, receiving visitors, and providing general information about their organization to the public and customers.
Starting Salary
$48,000
Job openings
175,083
Top Locations:
Annapolis, MD;  Dallas, TX;  Louisville, KY;  
Job Description:
Physicians and surgeons diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses. Physicians examine patients; take medical histories; prescribe medications; and order, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests. They counsel patients on diet, hygiene, and preventive healthcare. Surgeons operate on patients to treat injuries, such as broken bones; diseases, such as cancerous tumors; and deformities, such as cleft palates.
Starting Salary
$19,000
Job openings
82,623
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Philadelphia, PA;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
Home health aides help people with disabilities, chronic illness, or cognitive impairment with activities of daily living. They often help older adults who need assistance. In some states, home health aides may be able to give a client medication or check the client’s vital signs under the direction of a nurse or other healthcare practitioner.
Starting Salary
$27,000
Job openings
22,141
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
Social and human service assistants provide client services, including support for families, in a wide variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, and social work. They assist other workers, such as social workers, and they help clients find benefits or community services.
Starting Salary
$42,000
Job openings
27,024
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Los Angeles, CA;  
Job Description:
Surgical technologists, also called operating room technicians, assist in surgical operations. They prepare operating rooms, arrange equipment, and help doctors during surgeries.
Starting Salary
$38,000
Job openings
18,487
Top Locations:
Phoenix, AZ;  New York, NY;  Las Vegas, NV;  
Job Description:
Dental assistants perform many tasks, ranging from providing patient care and taking x rays to recordkeeping and scheduling appointments. Their duties vary by state and by the dentists’ offices where they work.
Starting Salary
$23,000
Job openings
71,476
Top Locations:
Houston, TX;  Atlanta, GA;  Jacksonville, FL;  
Job Description:
Material recording clerks track product information in order to keep businesses and supply chains on schedule. They ensure proper scheduling, recordkeeping, and inventory control.
Starting Salary
$26,000
Job openings
47,381
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Baltimore, MD;  Houston, TX;  
Job Description:
Secretaries and administrative assistants perform clerical and administrative duties. They organize files, prepare documents, schedule appointments, and support other staff.
Starting Salary
$34,000
Job openings
12,944
Top Locations:
Huntsville, AL;  New York, NY;  Albany, NY;  
Job Description:
Dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians construct, fit, or repair appliances and devices, including dentures, eyeglasses, and prosthetics.
Starting Salary
$39,000
Job openings
14,705
Top Locations:
Phoenix, AZ;  Chicago, IL;  New York, NY;  
Job Description:
Career and technical education teachers instruct students in various technical and vocational subjects, such as auto repair, healthcare, and culinary arts. They teach academic and technical content to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to enter an occupation.

Dental Assisting Major Jobs

Average Salary For a Dental Assisting Major

As a dental assisting major, you might be surprised with how much your salary might vary depending on the industry you choose to work in. For example, if you were to work in the finance industry, you might only make $57,563 annually, but you could make $81,000 in the manufacturing industry. If salary is the most important thing to you, then you should choose the industry you want to work in carefully.

1. Manufacturing
$81,000
Avg. Salary
$50k
$104k
2. Government
$80,443
Avg. Salary
$50k
$104k
3. Non Profits
$71,724
Avg. Salary
$50k
$104k
4. Health Care
$71,640
Avg. Salary
$50k
$104k
5. Professional
$67,794
Avg. Salary
$50k
$104k

Entry Level Jobs For Dental Assisting Majors

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Dental Assisting Internships

How To Get A Job With A Dental Assisting Degree

Dentistry is a great field for those who want to make a lot of money while sticking their fingers in other people's' mouths, with the only barrier for entry being the amount of school it takes to get to the point that people trust you to do so. But unlike dentistry itself, Dental Assisting has a much lower level of education required, allowing for anyone with the know-how and inclination to start working in the dental field without having to give up as much time to their schooling.

The Dental Assisting Major is fairly straightforward, as majors go, as it tends to lead directly to a job as a dental assistant. However, the job market is rarely so black-and-white, and many who have completed the major remain unaware of the way that the soft skills they learned while completing their major might help them find a job where they least expected to.

Well, that's where we come in. We literally created a map, just for Dental Assisting Majors such as yourself, to navigate your way through the choppy waters of recent graduation.

Feel free to focus on the map alone -- it's pretty cool, if we do say so ourselves. But for those of you who prefer step by step navigation on your path, keep reading. We'll give you the rundown on:

  • What skills you'll need
  • How to begin
  • What jobs you can expect to find as a Dental Assisting Major
  • Some quick interview tips
  • Consider graduate school
  • External resources

First thing's first: what skills you'll need to get started.

1. Skills for Dental Assisting Majors

In order for dental assistants to carry out duties like ensuring patient comfort, preparing patients for treatment, and keeping dental instruments ready for use, a number of both hard and soft skills are required of them. They have to have excellent organizational skills and an attention to detail in order to keep delicate equipment in order, assist with paperwork, and assist with difficult procedures like X-raying patients.

They also need excellent bedside manner and interpersonal skills, as its likely that the assistants will end up having more interaction with patients than the dentists will themselves. Dental Assistants need to be able to put on a good face and, above all, ensure the comfort and safety of the patients that come through their doors.

Let's take a closer look at what some of these Dental Assisting skills look like:

Interpersonal skills

Dental assistants must work closely with dentists and patients. Sometimes, patients are in extreme pain and/or mental stress, so the assistant should be sensitive to their emotions.

Listening skills

Dental assistants should be able to listen to patients and other healthcare workers. They need to follow directions from a dentist or dental hygienist, so they can help treat patients and do tasks, such as taking an X-ray.

Detail oriented

Dental assistants must follow specific rules and protocols, such as infection control procedures, when helping dentists treat patients. Assistants also must be aware of what tasks they are allowed to complete in the state where they work.

2. Where to Begin Your Career After Getting a Dental Assisting Degree

Internships are an excellent way to start accumulating experience in any discipline, gaining valuable resume cache while also helping you start your network of industry contacts.

Invariably, dental assistant internships are found with dental offices themselves, as dental services are highly specialized and rarely offered outside of these.

Dental Assisting interns help working dentists by working the front desk, providing patient information to dentists, preparing and sterilizing dental instruments, ordering supplies, and other office management-related tasks.

Before you settle on an internship or placement, though, you'll want to make sure it's the right fit for you. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Where (in the state/the country/the world) do you want to work?
  • What size and type of organization do you want to work for?
  • Do you need compensation in an internship, or might you be able to consider alternative compensation (experience, work samples, references, networking, etc.)
  • Is relocation an option?

3. Available Jobs For Dental Assisting Majors

Most jobs for Dental Assisting Majors are related to dental or medical work in some capacity, often in support roles rather than as dentists themselves. In order to become a general dentist, however, you'll need to go to dental school and become licensed. Even for those without dental school aspirations, the options for dental support staff are wide and varied.

With our map, you can click the Job Titles and learn more specific information for each position (what their responsibilities are, how much they get paid, etc.) But here, we wanted to call out some of the most common jobs for recent Dental Assisting Major grads.

Here are a few of the most interesting jobs for recent grads such as yourself:

  • Dental Assistant.
  • Unsurprisingly one of the top jobs for Dental Assisting Majors, Dental Assistants work with licensed dentists by preparing dental equipment for use, preparing patients for procedures, and ensuring that patients are comfortable.

  • Dental Technician.
  • Dental Technicians partner with dentists to design and fabricate prosthetics and other dental equipment for medical procedures.

  • Dental Hygiene Professor.
  • Dental Hygiene Professors teach the practice of dental hygiene to students, typically educating students on a variety of related topics such as head and neck anatomy, nutrition, and medical ethics, among others.

    4. Some Quick Job Search Tips for Dental Assisting Majors

    Get Your Foot in the Door However You Can

    The job market is extremely tough out there, and if you live in a small town, it can be especially tough to find a dental practice willing to give you a shot when you're still fresh out of school. Some Dental Assistant Majors assume that their base salary will be somewhat high, but its not uncommon for dental offices to only have unpaid internships on offer -- if they're offering any positions at all.

    It's important in this case to consider your own situation. If you can find any way to afford taking either an unpaid or underpaid position at a dental office, it might be worth it to you in the long run. Getting your foot in the door is extremely important in an industry like this, where jobs are scarce and trained help is more plentiful than trained dentists.

    So get the job first and spend a few weeks proving you know what you're doing. Then, after a reasonable amount of time has passed, talk with your boss about improving your pay (or about paying you in the first place, as the case may be).

    Develop Communication Skills

    One of the biggest parts of your job as a Dental Assistant will be interacting with patients, so it's important that you're an excellent communicator.

    Many people who come through dental offices may be uncomfortable with the procedure; they might be children, or even just adults who are anxious about dental work being done to them. Part of your job is to put them at ease and make them feel comfortable.

    For this, you're going to have to learn a little bedside manner. Joke with the patients; carry around lollypops for kids (sugarfree, of course). And whatever you do, try your best to avoid being curt with patients or taking out any of your frustrations on them. They're already in a state of discomfort, and it's important to remember that at the end of the day you're doing them a world of good. So be kind, and be empathetic.

    5. Continuing Education and Certifications in Dental Assisting

    Pursuing an advanced degree

    Obtaining a graduate degree in your course of study can serve as an excellent way to separate you from the herd - but you must first decide whether it's worth your time.

    Typically, a Dental Assistant requires a much lower degree of education than a dentist. Dental Assistants need either a certificate, which takes a significantly smaller amount of time to get (often shorter than a year), or an Associate's degree, which are typically two-year programs. The requirements vary by state, but often a four-year college degree is not even a prerequisite to becoming a dental assistant.

    If you would like to become certified as a Dental Assistant, you can take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA), which is offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). The test has over three hundred questions covering a variety of subjects that a dental assistant would need to know, including radiation safety and controlling infections.

    6. External Resources

    If you're still not sure what to do with your degree here are some external sites, to help you with your decision:

    American Dental Association (ADA)

    The largest American dental association, the ADA offers education and training to its members as well as an official Seal of Acceptance that it hands out to oral health products that meet the right conditions.

    Academy of General Dentistry (AGD)

    The AGD is a professional organization that offers continuing education and caters its membership services to general dentists in particular.

    USAJobs

    Enter "Dental Assisting" into the search bar and you can get a sense of what kind of government jobs are available to Visual and Performing Arts Majors. Find a job title you like and come back here to learn more about it.

    Bureau Of Labor Statistics

    The BLS offers detailed data on pay, location, and availability of different kinds of jobs across the country.

    In fact, we draw a lot of our research on the best places for jobs from the information provided on the site.

    And if this all seems like a lot - don't worry - the hard part (getting your degree!) is already over.

    Updated July 15, 2020