Dental Assisting: What’s Your Career Outlook?

193475106_38440c2df8_zBefore beginning training for a new career, it’s vital that you do some research to find out what the outlook is. You’ll want to know how easy (or difficult) it will likely be for you to succeed, how many people of your chosen career are in any given place, and how likely it is that you’ll be able to make a living. While the specifics vary widely from area to area, a good place to start your search is at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website.

Here is some information, in a nutshell, about the future of dental assisting. Keep in mind that some of the information will be different depending on where you live.

Where Will You Work?

The vast majority of dental assistants work in private dental offices. This can be the office of a family dentist or a specialist, such as an orthodontist, endodontist or periodontist. The offices might be run by one or more dentists, and may include dental clinics. Other potential places to work as a dental assistant include outpatient care centers, physicians’ offices, general hospitals and for insurance companies.

Dental Assistant in the Carolinas

The Sunrise School of Dental Assisting is located in North Carolina and South Carolina. This means that most of our students end up employed in one of these two states, though of course you can take your education with you anywhere. According to the BLS, there are more dental assistants in North Carolina than in South Carolina, overall. That being said, there are more assistants in busier metro areas than in smaller towns, but since most towns and cities do have dental offices, you could certainly get a job in your local area.

What About the Rest of the States?

The good news about learning a trade like dental assisting is that there is a need for it all over the country! In today’s mobile society, there’s a good chance that you may move to a different state. The states with the most dental assistants are California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois. The states with the fewest dental assistants are the Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming, Maine, West Virginia, Rhode Island and Alaska. Remember, though, that the bigger cities in these states still employ a good number of allied health professionals, including dental assistants.

With a solid number of dental assistants being needed in the Carolinas and all over the country, now is a great time to think about enrolling in classes at the Sunrise School of Dental Assisting. Please contact us to find out more about our courses and when the next one starts.


Top Tips for Your Dental Assistant Job Search

CC Image Kate Hiscock
CC Image Kate Hiscock

Once you are in the home stretch of finishing your dental assisting program, the time will come for you to begin looking for a dental assistant position. Many students are nervous at this point, but you can feel confident that you will be well-prepared for any dental assisting job that you are hired for. Here are some tips to help you with your search and your interviews.

Update Your Resume

Of course, you will want to be sure that your educational overview is updated; dentists will want to see that you have completed a dental assisting program, and the Sunrise School of Dental Assisting is a well-respected school here in the Carolinas. In addition, comb through your resume to be sure that your relevant skills are highlighted in your previous positions.

For example, if you previously worked in a restaurant, you might think that this is irrelevant to dental assisting, but working and succeeding in a fast-paced environment is often an advantage in a busy dental office. If you were a hairdresser, your gift of relating to people and making them feel comfortable is definitely relevant, so go ahead and focus on that.

While you’re updating your resume, be sure to update your profiles on business networking sites such as LinkedIn.

Network, Network, Network

When you are searching for a job, it’s helpful to talk to anyone and everyone. When you meet someone new, don’t feel shy about mentioning that you just graduated from the Sunrise School and that you are looking for a job as a dental assistant. Everyone goes to the dentist twice per year, so you just might run into someone who heard from his or her dentist last week that the office is looking for someone!

Use the Internet to your advantage, too. In addition to online job searches, you can let your acquaintances know that you’re on the hunt for a dental assisting position by posting on your Facebook or Twitter account. Put up a photo of your certificate on Instagram, or add a signature to the bottom of your emails that says you’re interested in hearing about any opportunities as a dental assistant.

Be Prepared at Your Interviews

Once you start getting some interviews, it’s important to be prepared. First, know ahead of time what type of services the dentist you are interviewing with provides. With the Internet at our fingertips, there’s no excuse for not knowing whether you’re interviewing with a general dentist, an endodontist or a children’s dentist. This will help you to answer questions as well as to ask questions that are relevant to the office.

Also, remember that as a dental assistant, your personality is a big part of your future success. Dental assistants need to be friendly and put people at ease, so it’s important to let that part of your personality shine through during your interview, even if you’re nervous. Being well-prepared can help alleviate some of your natural jitters.

At the Sunrise School of Dental Assisting, we give you the tools you need to succeed as a dental assistant. You can feel confident that you will be well-prepared for your new career and that you will be well-suited for your new position.

Hot Healthcare Jobs in the 21st Century

???????The healthcare industry is booming, and while technological careers can be outsourced or eliminated, people will always need healthcare providers. If you have been looking for a new career that offers security and the potential for growth, choosing one of the allied health fields might be just what you’re searching for. Take a look at this list of healthcare careers that are worth considering.

Medical Assistants
Do you enjoy helping people in a fast-paced atmosphere? Medical assistants help doctors by taking vital signs, going over a patient’s health history and take vital signs. They also assist with charting and various administrative tasks. You can get your certification through a medical assisting program; some doctors may prefer to train their own medical assistants.

Home Health Aides
Another job with good growth potential is that of a home health aide. Duties include taking vital signs, helping patients with tasks around the house, changing their sheets, assisting with grocery shopping or other errands and doing light housekeeping. Clients might range from postpartum mothers to the elderly or people who have had recent surgery. A nurses’ aide certification allows you to work as a home health aide in many areas.

Dental Hygienists
A dental hygienist cleans teeth and looks for evidence of gum disease. They work in dental offices, schools, health departments and other facilities. Dental hygiene is a fast-growing field. Candidates need to have an associate’s degree in dental hygiene. Some employers prefer a bachelor’s degree, but this is uncommon.

Dental Assistants
Dental assistants work with dentists in private offices, hospitals, schools and health departments. They work hand-in-hand with the dentist to perform various types of treatment. They also take dental x-rays, explain procedures to patients and, in some offices, perform administrative duties like making appointments or sending bills to insurance companies. In the last decade, dental assisting careers grew by 37%.

The Sunrise School of Dental Assisting offers a 13-week program that can get you started on your dental assisting career in a matter of months. Please call us to learn more about our program and to find out when the next session starts.

New Year’s Resolutions to Advance Your Career

fireworksIt’s that time of year again! During the second half of December, many people take a look at what they accomplished over the past year and make plans for the upcoming one. This year as you head into 2015, you might be ready to make some changes as far as your career goes. Maybe you’ve been stuck in a dead-end job, or perhaps you’re just ready for a change. It’s possible that you graduated from high school last spring, and you haven’t been sure about what your next step should be. Or maybe your last child went off to kindergarten or college and you’re ready for something new!

No matter why you’re making a career-based new year’s resolution, here are some reasons why a career beginning at the Sunrise School of Dental Assisting can go a long way toward making your dreams come true!

Resolutions to Increase Income
If you are currently unemployed, making minimum wage or in a job that does not have the potential for growth, enrolling in our program to learn how to become a dental assistant can allow you to increase your income in 2015. According to, the average salary for a dental assistant is almost $34,000 per year. This varies depending on whether you work for an individual dentist, a practice, a specialist, a health department, a dental school or a hospital. It also varies by location. If your new year’s resolution is to make more money, however, being trained as a dental assistant is a great first step!

Resolutions to Go Back to School
Many times, higher education gets put on the back burner as people get jobs, get married, have children and buy houses. Going back to complete a four-year degree can seem overwhelming, not only in terms of the time and effort involved, but also in terms of how much money it will cost. At the Sunrise School of Dental Assisting, our programs have you ready to enter the workforce in about three months. This means that you won’t be trying to juggle work, life and school for years at a time.

Resolutions to Make a Difference
Dental assistants have the power to make a difference in their communities. Whether you’re helping an area dentist examine the teeth of low-income children during Dental Health Month or you are holding a fearful patient’s hand during a procedure, your job in the health care field can help others. You will be in a position to help educate others about the importance of good dental health, and you’ll also be filling a need in your employer’s office. The Sunrise School of Dental Assisting can prepare you to have a challenging and helpful career that can allow you to positively impact others.

Characteristics of Dental Assistants: Is It for You?

Creative Commons image by Judy Baxter.
Creative Commons image by Judy Baxter.

Dental assisting is a growing and thriving career option in the healthcare field. More and more people are understanding the importance of good dental care, the baby boomers are aging and needing more dental work than before, and more adults and children may be obtaining dental insurance as a rider along with their mandated health insurance. In addition, there are many specialty dental offices serving patients with a variety of needs, and they all need dental assistants!

While dental assisting can be an excellent career choice for many, there are some people who might be exceptionally well-suited for this type of job. Look at this list of characteristics and see if you might make a great dental assistant!

Outgoing and friendly.
Are you naturally outgoing and do you find other people interesting? Working in this facet of healthcare means that you will need to be ready to make conversation with people who come into the office. Some topics will revolve around dental care and oral hygiene, but sometimes, you will simply need to make small talk. If you consider yourself friendly and easy to talk to, then this might be the career for you.

Reassuring and calm.
Some patients will be nervous and apprehensive, and it will be your job to help these patients relax. Also, sometimes patients will come in with a toothache, which can make even the nicest patient a bit short-tempered and upset. If you have a calming bedside demeanor, this can help your patients feel better. This, in turn, allows the dentist to work more efficiently and effectively.

Good with your hands.
You will need a good bit of manual dexterity in order to properly assist the dentist with complicated procedures. A lot of what you will be doing is providing the dentist with the instruments that he or she needs quickly and smoothly.

Precise and detail-oriented.
Part of your job will be to be sure that the dental instruments are properly bagged, sterilized and set up on dental trays. There is no room for error when it comes to sterilization techniques, so you will need to be able to focus on following protocols and procedures exactly.

Flexible and adaptable.
Sometimes things will not go as planned, and you will have to be able to work with flexibility. For example, if a patient calls who is in a lot of pain, he or she might be told to come to the office immediately. You might have to take your lunch later than expected or stay a bit late on short notice in this instance. Another consideration is that two or more dentists in the same office might prefer to have instruments handed to them in different ways, or for you to set up trays differently from one another. Being able to go with the flow and adapt to different styles is essential to being a valued dental assistant.

If these characteristics describe you and your working style, then you might really enjoy the challenging and rewarding career of dental assisting. At Sunrise School of Dental Assisting, we can answer your questions and get you set up on your path toward a career in this exciting field.