Dental Office Administration Careers: Salary, Job Description & Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed for dental office administration positions. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and skills required to find out if this is the career for you

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A career in dental office administration can mean working as a dental office receptionist or a dental office manager. A high school diploma or GED may be sufficient to begin a career in an entry level position. Knowledge of computer systems is an asset, and those who complete a certificate or diploma in dental office administration may have more job prospects and opportunities for advancement.

Essential Information

Dental office administrators generally perform clerical duties, such as handling phone calls and scheduling appointments, as well as dealing with accounts payable and receivable and insurance claims. They work in dental offices but are not involved in treating patients. A high school diploma is typically required for entry-level positions.

Required Education High school diploma or GED for entry-level positions
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 10% for other management positions
Median Hourly Wage (2016)** $14.00 per hour for dental office receptionists; $20.00 per hour for dental office managers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

Salary Information for Dental Office Administrators

Dental office administrators can be salaried, but most are hourly employees, and earnings can vary greatly by position. For example, the majority of dental office receptionists earned between $20.07 and $20.13 an hour in January, 2016, according to, while most dental office managers earned between $15.46 and $27.65 an hour.

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Dental Office Administrator Job Descriptions

Careers in dental office administration might involve marketing, budgeting, personnel management, and, most commonly, general office duties. Many dental office administrators answer phone calls, keep payroll records, schedule appointments, and deal with customer complaints. Their jobs also tend to require typical office tasks like filing, faxing, mailing, and word processing. At the entry-level, employees might to focus on a specific area, such as data entry, but most positions will combine duties from several areas.

Discretion is an important part of many dental office administration jobs since workers generally have access to sensitive patient information, such as financial and insurance records. The highest career option for those working in dental office administration typically is dental office manager. At this level, arranging staff meetings and coordinating office budgets might be among one's responsibilities.

Education Requirements for a Dental Office Administration Career

A high school education is the starting point for consideration for many dental office administration positions. Basic data entry and computer software knowledge can be helpful as well. Additionally, numerous schools offer diploma or certificate programs in dental office administration. The majority of these programs feature courses detailing dental office procedures, terminology, accounting, and office basics, as well as communication and customer service skills. These programs offer a streamlined education that, in some cases, prepares graduates to take voluntary certification tests, such as the Certified Dental Receptionist exam.

Aspiring dental office administrators also might choose to pursue an associate's degree in a business-, dental technology- or healthcare-related field. Often, the more education one has, the better his or her chances for career advancement, such as becoming a dental office manager.

Dental office administrators handle phone calls, schedule and cancel appointments, work on insurance claims and complete necessary paperwork in a dentist's office. They may also be involved in marketing and budgeting, and senior administrators may be responsible for supervising other administrative staff.

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