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Dental Administrator: Employment Info and Career Requirements

Read on to see what dental administrators do. Get the details about education and training requirements, career prospects, and earning potential to see if this job is right for you.

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Career Definition for a Dental Administrator

Dental administrators can have a wide spectrum of job duties. Some may be responsible for front desk administration, while others may run entire dental programs. Duties may include performing office duties, managing finances, making operations plans, setting employee goals, developing oral health education materials, and designing marketing schemes.

Dental Assistant Dental Administrator/Manager
Education Training programs available Bachelor's or master's required
Job Skills Dental knowledge, communication Leadership, knowledge of information systems
Median Salary (2015)* $35,980 $94,500 (all medical services managers)
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 18% 17% (all medical services managers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Required

To become a dental administrator who has primarily office management duties, you might need to complete a dental assistant training program, which usually lasts a year or two. You can expect to study office technology, insurance and billing, administrative procedures, keyboard skills, business skills, and professional ethics. Programs focused on administration can also include training in dental terminology, dental anatomy and physiology, and dental radiology, since office administrators will need to be knowledgeable of the dental profession. Some states don't require formal training to obtain a position in this field, but an administrator position will generally require at least a year of prior experience.

Some dental administrators may need a bachelor's or master's degree in business administration or healthcare administration, and other positions may require a dentistry degree if administrators are in charge of developing and managing dental programs on a large scale. Positions with high responsibility may require five or more years of relevant experience.

Skills Required

Dental administrators must have dental knowledge, communication abilities, and organizational skills. Leadership abilities are also crucial, and awareness of dental computer software programs and information systems can make administrative work run more smoothly.

Economic and Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for dental assistants in general, which may include some dental administrators, are expected to increase by 18% between 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than average growth, partly due to an increasing awareness of the importance of good oral health and the opening of new dental practices. The BLS published the median annual salary of this field as $35,980 in May 2015.

Other administrators may fall under the BLS's category for medical and health services managers, who earned a median annual wage of $94,500 in 2015. Much faster than average job growth of 17% was predicted in this field for the 2014-2024 decade, per the BLS.

Alternate Career Options

You might consider these other careers in medical and dental support:

Dental Assistant

Although you might complete a dental assisting program to become a dental administrator, you could also pursue this training to become an actual dental assistant. A dental assistant's duties can vary depending on state regulations; however, common responsibilities include preparing patients and examining rooms for dental procedures. Dental assistants may provide chairside assistance to working dentists, and they may teach patients about good dental health techniques. Required licensing, registration, and certification qualifications vary widely; some states don't require licensing, but others mandate that dental assistants complete a postsecondary training program that culminates with a diploma, certificate or associate's degree. First aid certifications, like CPR, might also be required.

Medical Assistant

Medical assistants' duties can vary, from administrative front desk tasks like booking appointments to patient care tasks like taking patient histories or administering immunizations on the direction of a physician. Medical assistants may hold a diploma, certificate or associate's degree; state requirements for employment can vary widely. Jobs for medical assistants are expected to grow 23% from 2014-2024, per the BLS, and workers in this field earned median pay of $30,590 in 2015.

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