Although it is not typically required by employers, a receptionist certificate can lead to better opportunities for dental receptionists. Dental receptionists should have strong communication and customer service. Most employers require dental receptionists to have knowledge of basic dental terminology and experience with scheduling or billing computer programs. They should be highly organized and able to multi-task in a professional environment. Employers prefer to hire dental receptionists with knowledge of health care systems and medical or dental insurance procedures.
Although some schools offer programs that combine medical and dental courses, most programs focus on training students to become medical receptionists. Because the two occupations are similar, dental receptionists can benefit from completing a a medical receptionist certification program. Students learn how to use various billing, scheduling, and spreadsheet computer programs. They learn how to communicate with patients and work successfully with other dental professionals. Most programs require one or two semesters of study and include courses on:
- Microcomputer use
- Billing and insurance
- Medical or dental terminology
- Medical office procedures
- Business and workplace communications
- Customer service
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the BLS, receptionists and information clerks make a mean annual wage of $28,430 as of May 2015. Employment for receptionists from 2014-2024 is expected to grow 10%, which is faster than average for all other occupations.
Licensure or certification is not required to become a dental receptionist. Instead, dental receptionists demonstrate proficiency through receptionist experience and a medical or dental receptionist certificate program.
Some vocational or technical schools that offer medical receptionist programs may offer workshops for dental receptionists. For the most part, workshops and seminars are designed for medical receptionists, though the concepts taught can be relevant and useful for dental receptionists. Employers that hire entry-level dental receptionists may offer short workshops for receptionists to become familiar with an employer's billing or scheduling computer system. Because dental offices use different programs and have varying policies and procedures, these workshops are typically part of an orientation program for newly hired dental receptionists.
Professional development resources for dental receptionists are minimal. To advance in the dental field, dental receptionists can pursue a career as a dental assistant. Dental assistants, working alongside dentists and hygienists, perform basic duties like sterilizing tools and preparing patients for dental procedures. Dental assistants have more responsibilities than dental receptionists and typically earner greater wages and salaries. Information for dental assistants is available from the American Dental Assistants Association (www.dentalassistant.org).
Dental receptionists are not required to have a formal education, but it certainly can help people find a job much easier if a formal receptionist certificate is earned. Some schools offer workshops for receptionists where they can learn valuable skills to help them do their job in more efficient ways.