Dental Office Manager: Job Duties & Career Information

Mar 22, 2019

Learn about the type of work a dental office manager performs. Explore education options, necessary skills, employment outlook and salary to determine if this is the right career for you.

Career Definition for a Dental Office Manager

A dental office manager is responsible for all of the administrative duties in a dental office. These managers must coordinate marketing, budget office expenses, arrange staff meetings and handle payroll. They may also schedule patient appointments, staff schedules and perform billing and bookkeeping duties. A dental office manager must work closely with the staff dentist and other employees to help everyone perform their duties effectively.

Education Certificate or associate degree programs available
Job Skills Knowledge of Dentrix, multitasking, customer service, scheduling appointments
Median Salary (2017) $55,060 for supervisors of office and administrative support workers
Job Growth (2016-2026) 3% for supervisors of office and administrative support workers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Required

For a career in dental office management, you can complete a certificate or associate degree program. A certificate is a short program that will provide you with training and classes like dental health safety, medical terminology, bookkeeping, medical and dental billing codes and office technology. An associate's degree in office administration or a related field can help to increase career opportunities.

Skills Required

According to the American Association of Dental Office Managers (AADOM), dental office managers will need to learn the computer software program Dentrix. Dentrix keeps track of billing and patient information. It is important that any prospective managers know how to put together schedules and understand dental office policies. The ability to multi-task and work well with others is essential. Many job postings stated that 2-3 years of experience were also required, as well as proven customer service skills.

Career and Economic Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers, including dental office managers, had a job growth projection of 3% from 2016-2026, which is slower than average. The median wage of supervisors of office and administrative workers was $55,060 in May 2017.

Alternative Careers

Here are some other career choices in dental administration:

Dental Secretary

For those who want to perform administrative work in a dental office but are not interested in a management position, becoming a dental secretary is a possible career option. Medical secretaries, including those who work in dental practices, schedule patient appointments, prepare insurance claims, manage patient records and transcribe medical dictation from the doctor. Most secretaries may only need a high school diploma to find a position, but some employers may also require courses in medical terminology and billing practices. Based on data from the BLS, over 129,000 new positions will open up for medical secretaries during the 2016-2026 decade, with a growth of 22%. Medical secretaries earned a median yearly salary of $34,610, according to a 2017 BLS report.

Dental Assistant

Those desiring more patient care duties in addition to administrative tasks may want to consider a career as a dental assistant. These assistants schedule appointments and record patient information, but they also organize and clean equipment, take x-rays, provide support during procedures and educate patients about dental hygiene. Depending on the state, education requirements range from a high school diploma to certificate and associate degrees in dental assisting. An exam may also be required in some states. The BLS predicts much faster than average employment growth of 19% from 2016-2026. In May 2017, the BLS also determined that dental assistants earned $37,630 in median wages.

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