Students in a dental assisting certificate program learn about effective customer service, scheduling and bookkeeping, telephone etiquette and insurance protocol. They also learn patient care techniques and gain a fundamental understanding of dental procedures. After graduating, students must pass a national dental assisting examination in order to practice. Applicants for these programs need to already have a high school diploma or GED and submit immunization records.
Dental Office Manager Certificate Program
This program prepares individuals to manage different areas of a dental practice. Some areas students will be able to improve upon include accounting principles, computer applications and telephone etiquette.
Depending on the particular college's emphasis, some dental assisting programs may focus more on patient care than others. Whether the focus is on clinical care of dental patients or administrative skills, most programs will generally cover course topics like:
- Reimbursement for dental services
- Dental insurance and procedures
- Customer service
- Dental office management
- Oral structure and development
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that general and operations managers earn a median income of $97,730 per year as of May 2015. The BLS also states that the job outlook for administrative service managers from 2014 to 2024 is expected to grow 8%, which is as fast as the average for all occupations.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of certificate programs in dental assisting and dental office management frequently go on to occupy entry-level positions in the front offices of dental practices. However, many colleges offer associate degree programs in dental assisting and accept certificate coursework towards the greater degree program requirements.
The field's only national professional credential, the Dental Practice Management Administrator certification, was discontinued in 2008 in order to update the credential's requirements. If employers prefer that job candidates receive certification in dental assisting, certificates are available through the Dental Assisting National Board. Dental office managers who would like to pursue this type of certification may find study and exam information at www.danb.org.
Individuals interested in the day-to-day operations of a dental office may get the training needed to be a dental office managers by earning a dental office manager certificate.