Dental Clinic Manager: Education and Career Roadmap

Research the requirements to become a dental clinic manager. Learn about the job description and duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in dental clinic management. View article »

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Video Transcript

Should I Become a Dental Clinic Manager?

Dental clinic managers oversee and supervise all operations in a dental office or clinic. They handle patient scheduling, customer service concerns, profit and loss reporting, billing, insurance processing, and marketing. Additionally, dental clinic managers handle the hiring and training of employees, establish office guidelines and policies, and provide staff with daily direction. Managers are also typically responsible for maintaining appropriate clinical settings by complying with safety and health regulations. Some stress may be involved when dealing with difficult employees or demanding customers. reported a median annual salary of $46,429 for dental office managers in January 2016.

Career Requirements

Degree Level High school diploma or GED; some employers desire applicants with an associate or bachelor's degree
Degree Fields Business administration, health care administration, or related area
Certification Voluntary certification available
Experience 3-5 years in related setting; 1+ year management experience
Key Skills Customer service, communication, professionalism, relational skills; ability to handle stressful situations; familiarity with Microsoft Office Suite and dental office software

Sources: Employer job postings (December 2012), International Association of Administrative Professionals,

Find schools that offer these popular programs

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  • Endodontics
  • Oral Biology and Oral Pathology
  • Oral Surgery
  • Orthodontics
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Periodontics
  • Prosthodontics

Steps to Become a Dental Clinic Manager

Step 1: Earn a Postsecondary Degree

After earning a high school diploma or its equivalent, aspiring dental clinic managers can start their career training by earning an associate or bachelor's degree in an applicable field. This can be accomplished by completing a two or four-year program in areas like dental office management, health care administration, or business administration. If an individual has already earned a degree, community colleges also offer dental office management certificate programs that focus on core career training and can be completed in a shorter duration of time. The curricula for these types of programs typically include areas of study like marketing, computer fundamentals, office procedures, and medical terminology.

Develop excellent communication and relational abilities. When searching for a dental clinic manager, employers often list strong verbal and written abilities along with excellent people skills as mandatory requirements for the job. Aspiring clinic managers might consider taking elective courses in areas like human resources, communications, or public speaking to improve their skills while still enrolled in school.

Step 2: Gain Work Experience

Most dental clinic manager positions require a candidate to have around 3 years of experience working in a dental, medical or healthcare setting. Some positions also require a candidate to have worked for at least 1 year in a supervisory role in similar settings. Upon earning a college degree, aspiring managers can go on to apply for entry-level positions in dental clinics. Work experience is an important qualification employers look for when hiring dental clinic managers.

Step 3: Consider Voluntary Certification

After acquiring a sufficient number of years of work experience, an aspiring dental clinic manager can go on to become voluntarily certified through national organizations, such as the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). Certification can demonstrate career commitment and excellence to potential employers. The Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) designation is offered through the IAAP, and the certification process involves minimum education and/or work experience requirements and successfully passing an exam. Renewal occurs every five years after the completion of continuing education.

To become a dental clinic manager, you'll need a college degree and experience in a dental office.

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