Career Definition for a Periodontist Assistant
Periodontology is a type of dental care that focuses on the soft tissues of the mouth. Periodontist assistants help periodontists with daily clerical, procedural and laboratory tasks. Duties may include cleaning and sterilizing equipment, preparing instruments, taking and developing x-rays, maintaining patient records, assisting with examinations and procedures, preparing casts and making temporary fittings. Clerical duties generally include answering phones, scheduling appointments and surgeries, greeting patients and calling in prescriptions. In some states, assistants may be required to administer local anesthesia.
|Education||Certification from a dental assisting program|
|Job Skills||Good reading, listening, and speaking skills, social awareness, time management, and good customer service|
|Median Salary (2015)||$35,980 (for dental assistants)|
|Job Growth (2014-2024)||18% (for dental assistants)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Certification from a dental assisting program at a trade school, technical school or community college is required for a career as a periodontist assistant. Most programs take a year or even less to complete. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a dental assisting program generally provides a combination of classroom, laboratory and preclinical instruction, as well as practical experience in dental schools, offices and clinics.
O*Net Online lists the required skills for a periodontist assistant, which include equipment maintenance and selection, active learning, active listening, reading comprehension, speaking, coordination, social awareness, time management and instructing. Customer service skills and proficiency in using computers are also important.
Career and Economic Outlook
The BLS states that the demand for dental assistants will likely increase 18% between 2014 and 2024. The BLS lists the 2015 median annual salary for a dental assistant as $35,980.
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Alternative Career Options
Similar careers to a periodontist assistant include:
A medical assistant handles support tasks in a doctor's office or sometimes a hospital. Medical assistants book appointments, record patients' health histories and vital signs, and administer immunizations. Some may specialize in administrative tasks, like coding, while others may specialize in clinical tasks, like phlebotomy. Medical assistants may also specialize in ophthalmology, optometry, or podiatry.
A medical assistant may have a high school diploma or post-secondary certificate or diploma. On-the-job training is common, and medical assistants can pursue professional certification to improve employment prospects. The BLS reports that medical assistants are expected to have positive job growth at a rate of 23% from 2014-2024; this occupation paid a median salary of $30,590 in 2015, per the BLS.
A surgical technologist uses knowledge and skills gained through an accredited certificate or associate's degree program to assist in the preparation and carrying out of surgical procedures. Surgical technologists sterilize instruments, prep operating rooms and patients for procedures, and hand surgeons instruments or other items as needed during surgeries. Professional certification is available. Jobs for surgical technologists are expected to grow at a rate roughly equal to the overall average for all occupations, according to the BLS; employment growth of 15% is anticipated from 2014-2024. Surgical technologists earned median pay of $44,330 in 2015, per the BLS.