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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.
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.
According to the BLS, employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 11 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.
About 44,000 openings for dental assistants are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
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.
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.
American Dental Assistants Association
180 Admiral Cochrane Drive, Suite 370
Annapolis, MD 21401
National Association of Dental Assistants
PO Box 1236
Stafford, VA 22555