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Dental Practice Administrator: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a dental practice administrator. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and training to find out if this is the career for you.

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Although a bachelor's degree may be sufficient to begin a career as a dental practice administrator, it is common for these professionals to have a master's degree. Dental practice administrators handle insurance claims, manage patient records, schedule appointments and develop marketing plans.

Essential Information

Dental practice administrators are health services managers, so they must be aware of business strategies, financial planning, and marketing in the dental profession. A dental administrator's duties can include scheduling appointments, managing patients' records, handling insurance claims, and, possibly, developing a marketing plan for a dental office. Although a bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement to become a dental practice administrator, many health services managers do hold master's degrees.

Required Education Bachelor's degree at minimum; master's degrees are common
Skills Requirements Familiarity with medical billing practices; knowledge of electronic records systems; customer service skills; problem-solving skills
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 17% for medical and health services managers
Median Salary (2015)* $94,500 for medical and health services managers

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

Job Description

Since dental practice administrators are in charge of many of the daily operations of a dental office, those interested in pursuing a degree must be strong communicators and multitaskers. A dental practice administrator must be able to communicate with patients and dentists, manage an office, oversee personnel, and perhaps even take responsibility for minor patient care. In the office and over the phone, they deal directly with patients to ensure they have a pleasant and successful office visit. They must also retrieve patient records for the dentist and schedule appointments. Dental practice administrators handle the office's accounts and patient's insurance payments, and they are often responsible for office marketing and finding new clients.

Education Requirements

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the majority of people employed as health service managers, such as dental administrators, have a master's degree in the required field of study. To pursue a career as a dental practice administrator, students should obtain their bachelor's degree in a field such as health administration. The bachelor's degree alone is sufficient for some jobs, but many administrators choose to also complete a master's degree in health sciences, public administration, health services administration, or a related field.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to the BLS, the median salary earned by medical and health services managers was $94,500 in May, 2015; however, this statistic reflects salaries earned by all health services managers, and not just those who work at dental offices. The BLS projects that employment of health services managers in general will grow by 17% between 2014 and 2024.

Dental practice administrators need to understand the dental industry, know how to create an appropriate marketing strategy, and oversee the daily operations of a dental office. They schedule appointments, supervise staff, complete insurance paperwork and develop marketing plans. Jobs for all health care managers are expected to grow at a rate of 17% from 2014-2024.

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