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Photo by {artist}/{collectionName} / Getty Images

Being a dental assistant and helping patients maintain good oral health is rewarding. But how do you keep your career fresh and continue to advance in it?

Education and Training

Dental technology and techniques are continuously improving. Dentists have to stay current with the advances, and so do their assistants. Opportunities are increasing as many states are adapting their dental practice acts so dentists can delegate some of their tasks. Education and training are keys to advancing your career and there are several paths to take.

Dental Assistant Certification

Earning your certification through the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) will increase your employment opportunities and earning potential. You can gain the advantage by enrolling in an accredited program recognized by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). You can gain one or more certifications, including:

  • National Entry-Level Dental Assistant
  • Certified Dental Assistant
  • Certified Orthodontic Assistant
  • Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant
  • Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant


You can advance your career as a dental assistant by becoming a dental hygienist. Many hygienists find satisfaction in advising patients and helping them maintain good oral hygiene. Hygienists also enjoy a more flexible work schedule and higher pay. What’s involved?

  • Associate degree in dental hygiene
  • License examination
  • Option to enroll in an accreditation program

Lab Technician

As a dental lab tech, you’ll be responsible for helping a dentist create dental prosthetics, such as bridges, crowns, dentures and other oral appliances. If you have a creative eye or artistic talent, you’ll likely excel at recreating smiles. What does this career path involve?

  • On-the-job training
  • Enrolling in an accredited dental technology program
  • Obtaining certification through the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology

Office Manager

Some dental assistants are interested in transitioning from clinical practice to the office. The role of dental office manager includes handling accounting, human resources and keeping the office running smoothly. Depending on the dental practice, qualifying for this role might include the following:

·         Extensive on-the-job training

·         Continuing education

·         Business degree


Do you enjoy teaching? Teaching dental assisting to help others can be exciting. The requirements for dental assisting educators vary, but can include:

·         Dental-assisting work experience

·         DANB certification for teaching programs accredited by CODA

·         Bachelor’s degree as a professional dental assisting educator

Consultant or Speaker

These roles require extensive industry experience and active involvement in the dental community. They are preceded by a need for information or a perspective that isn’t readily available. Depending on your location and community needs, you might find opportunities as a consultant or speaker.

Explore Your Options

If you’re looking for dental assistant opportunities, or other jobs in the field of dentistry, WSi Healthcare Personnel can help. We offer outstanding placement services, excellent pay rates and rewarding opportunities. Search for opportunities with us today.