Dental Office Administrative Assistant: Career Info & Requirements

Mar 22, 2019

Career Definition for a Dental Office Administrative Assistant

A dental office administrative assistant, or dental secretary, is responsible for checking in patients and making appointments in a dental office. Administrative assistants have to file patient records and keep track of the incoming and outgoing mail. They may be responsible for answering routine letters and correcting grammar and spelling in memos and outgoing letters. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), administrative assistants in a dental office may be responsible for conducting research and arranging meetings.

Education High school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job training
Job Skills Understanding of computers, interpersonal skills, familiarity with office software programs
Median Salary (2017)* $34,610 for all medical secretaries
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 22% for all medical secretaries

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Required

There are no educational requirements for becoming a dental office administrative assistant except for a high school diploma or its equivalency. Most dental offices want to see previous experience and will train and educate their employees on the job. Vocational and training schools can provide individuals with computer skills and knowledge of industry-specific practices and terminology.

Skills Required

Dental office administrative assistants must know how to use and operate computers and office productivity software programs. Because dental office administrative assistants are interacting with patients and staff all day, it is essential for them to have tremendous interpersonal skills.

Economic and Career Outlook

According to the BLS, medical secretaries, including dental office administrative assistants, earned a median annual wage of $34,610 in May 2017. Most careers in this field will also include health insurance, paid vacations, and sick leave. There is also a possibility of advancement, and assistants can move on to become the administrators in a dental office. According to the BLS, medical secretaries, including dental office administrative assistants, are projected to see employment growth of 22% from 2016-2026.

Alternate Career Options

Check out these other career options in medical administration:

Medical Records and Health Information Technician

These techs normally have postsecondary certificates or associate's degrees; some employers also look for applicants with professional certification. This job involves organizing and managing the health information data, including insurance submissions and patient histories, in doctors' offices and hospitals. From 2016-2026, the BLS forecast faster-than-average employment growth of 13% for these techs. In 2017, the BLS also reported median annual earnings of $39,180 for this occupation.

Medical Transcriptionist

By earning a 1-year certificate or a 2-year associate's degree, these individuals may secure employment listening to voice recordings of doctors and health care providers, then converting them into a written version. Medical transcriptionists earned a median annual salary of $35,250 in 2017, according to the BLS, and jobs were projected to decline by 3% from 2016-2026.

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