Dentist Office Manager: Educational Overview and Career Summary

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a dentist office manager. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and salary expectations to find out if this is the career for you.

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While a high school diploma or GED is typically required to become a dental office manager, an associate's degree or certificate program may help those interested in gaining employment. Additionally, it is beneficial to have some clerical or administrative experience if you are interested in a career in this field.

Essential Information

Dentist office managers can enter the profession as dental assistants or from another background. Some candidates begin clerical work after finishing high school, learning the required skills on the job and eventually becoming dentist office managers; however, candidates who have completed some post-secondary studies in dental office management might begin with higher salaries and advance more quickly. These programs offer classes in dental terminology and office procedures. Many programs allow students to gain experience through externships in dental offices.

Required Education High school diploma or GED; a formal dental office management program is recommended
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 7% for administrative services managers*
Median Annual Salary $49,141 (2019)** for dental office managers

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale.com.

Educational Overview

Dentist office managers typically need at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. High school students looking to become dentist office managers might consider working part-time in a dental office to gain clerical and administrative experience. Students might look to courses like business administration, computer technology and biology to prepare for their careers.

Postsecondary Education

High school graduates might enroll in a postsecondary certificate or associate's degree program in dental office management to acquire specialized knowledge to enter the field. Junior colleges and technical schools offer these programs that help students become familiarized with dental terminology and office management procedures. Classes generally introduce students to duties from medical legal procedures to payroll processes. Additionally, students might gain insight into speaking with patients and insurance companies.

Some programs provide training in marketing and accounting. Students also might take courses in dental assisting. Additionally, programs might offer clinical externships so that students can gain experience working within a dental office.

Career Summary

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't collect specific information for dentist office managers, it does note that positions for administrative services managers in general are expected to increase by 7% between 2018 and 2028 (www.bls.gov). The bureau notes that office managers who can handle a variety of responsibilities will have the best prospects. As such, office professionals who have post-secondary education and want to become dentist office managers might consider taking additional courses in computer technology or dental office management to enhance their chances of finding a job.

Salary

According to the BLS, the median annual salary for first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers was $55,810 in May 2018. Payscale.com reported that in 2019, the majority of dentist office managers earned between $35,000 and $68,000.

A high school diploma or GED and some clerical and administrative experience are required to become a dental office manager. However, a post-secondary program at a technical or junior college can improve chances of being hired. Programs cover topics such as office, medical, legal and payroll procedures, and usually provide externship experience as well. Demand for administrative services managers, including those managing dental offices, is expected to be average, with an 7% increase in job opportunities through the year 2028.

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