Health Occupations
& Technology

Dental Assistant

To be a successful Dental Assistant you should…

  • be reliable
  • work well with others
  • have good manual dexterity
  • have good eye/hand coordination
  • have the ability to communicate clearly
  • have good listening skills
  • have the ability to calm nervous patients
  • have good health, personal neatness and cleanliness

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What will my job be like?

Dental assistants perform many tasks requiring both interpersonal and technical skills. In addition to assisting the dentist during a variety of procedures, dental assistants may take and develop dental radiographs (x-rays), sterilize instruments and equipment, and take impressions of patients’ teeth.

Where could I work?

Dental assistants may work in private dental offices, hospitals, or community health agencies. Most dental assistants have a 32- to 40-hour work week, which may include work on Saturdays or evenings.

Other workplace settings:
  • Clinics
  • Dental Product Sales Representatives
  • Dental and Dental Hygiene Schools
  • Military Hospitals
  • Public Schools
  • State and Local Public Health Departments

What is the average annual salary?


What is the future of this career?

Employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 19 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. The aging population and ongoing research linking oral health and general health will continue to increase the demand for preventive dental services.

What type of education and/or training do I need?

Training programs are offered by community colleges, vocational schools, or technical institutes.

One-year program enrollees receive a certificate or diploma upon completion, while those in 2-year programs receive an associate degree. Dental assistants may also acquire necessary skills through on-the-job training.

Where can I get the education and/or training?

  • American Institute, West Hartford
  • Manchester Community College, Manchester
  • Porter and Chester Institute, Stratford
  • Sunny Willow School of Dental Assisting, Bridgeport
  • Tunxis Community College, Farmington
  • Valley Medical Institute, Bridgeport

Do I need a license or certification for this career?

Licensure is required for dental assistants in the state of Connecticut only in regard to taking dental x-rays. Prerequisite: Dental assistants must successfully complete the radiology section of the Dental Assisting National Board examination in order to take dental x-rays in Connecticut; but other than that, neither certification nor licensure is required in Connecticut.

Where can I get more information?

American Dental Assistants Association
140 N Bloomingdale Road
Bloomingdale, IL   60108

National Association of Dental Assistants
900 South Washington Street, Suite G13
Falls Church, VA   22046