Career Spotlight

Dental Assistant

Do you want to work in the healthcare field, but don’t want to go to college very long? You can become a dental assistant, earn a livable wage, with minimal college education, or sometimes just on-the-job training.

Dental Assisting

Quick Facts

2017 Median Pay: $37,360/year; $18.09/hour

Typical Entry-Level Education: minimal college education or on-the-job training

Number of Jobs, 2016: 332,000

Job Outlook 2016-26: 19% (much faster than average)

Employment Change 2016-26: 64,600

What They Do

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.

Almost all dental assistants work in dentists’ offices. Most work full time.

How To Become One

There are several possible paths to becoming a dental assistant. Some states require assistants to graduate from an accredited program and pass an exam. In other states, there are no formal educational requirements and dental assistants learn how to perform their jobs through on-the-job training.

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Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook, US Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Students can email Mrs. Mendez at if they want information on a specific career. She may even use it in a future Spotlight!