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High school graduation marks a significant milestone in every student’s life, opening the door to a world of possibilities and decisions about the future. For many, the path forward involves pursuing higher education, but not all career paths require a traditional four-year degree. If you’re a recent high school graduate considering your options, a career in dental assisting could be an excellent choice.

At Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School in Vancouver, WA, we offer a 12-week hybrid online and in-person program designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in this rewarding field. Here’s why dental assisting might be the perfect career for you.

Job Stability

One of the foremost benefits of choosing a career in dental assisting is job stability. The healthcare sector, particularly dental care, continues to grow and evolve, with a consistent demand for skilled professionals. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 7% from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is driven by an increasing emphasis on preventive dental care and the expansion of dental practices.

By choosing to become a dental assistant, you’re entering a field with a strong demand for your skills. This demand translates to job security and numerous employment opportunities across various settings, including private dental offices, hospitals, public health clinics, and specialty practices.

Good Pay

Starting a career right after high school often comes with financial concerns, particularly if you’re looking to become financially independent. Dental assisting offers competitive pay that allows you to start earning a respectable income relatively quickly. The median annual wage for dental assistants was $46,540 in May 2023, with the potential to earn more based on experience, location, and additional certifications.

At Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School, our program is designed to fast-track your entry into the workforce. In just 12 weeks, you’ll be prepared to take on a full-time role, allowing you to begin earning sooner than many other educational paths. This quick transition from education to employment makes dental assisting a financially smart choice for recent graduates.

Opportunities for Growth

A career in dental assisting is not only stable and well-paying but also offers numerous opportunities for growth and advancement. As a dental assistant, you’ll gain valuable experience and develop a wide range of skills that can open doors to various career pathways within the dental field. Some potential growth opportunities include:

Specialized Dental Assisting

With additional training and certification, you can specialize in areas such as orthodontics, oral surgery, periodontics, or pediatric dentistry. Specializing allows you to take on more responsibilities, work closely with specialists, and often command higher wages.

Dental Office Management

For those with strong organizational and leadership skills, transitioning to a dental office manager or administrative role can be a rewarding career move. Office managers oversee the day-to-day operations of dental practices, handle patient relations, manage staff, and ensure the smooth functioning of the office.

Dental Hygienist

Becoming a dental hygienist is a natural progression for many dental assistants. Dental hygienists perform more advanced clinical tasks, including teeth cleaning, patient screening, and preventive care. This role typically requires additional education, but the investment can lead to significantly higher earnings and greater autonomy in patient care.

Further Education and Advanced Roles

If you’re passionate about dentistry and eager to advance your career, pursuing further education can lead to advanced roles such as a dental therapist, educator, or even a dentist. The foundational experience gained as a dental assistant is invaluable for these advanced career paths.

Hands-On Experience

One of the key advantages of our 12-week program at Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School is the combination of online learning with in-person training. This hybrid model ensures that you receive a comprehensive education while gaining the hands-on experience essential for success in the field. Practical training allows you to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world settings, building your confidence and competence.

During the program, you’ll learn a variety of clinical and administrative skills, including:

  • Patient Care: Assisting dentists during procedures, taking patient histories, and providing post-treatment care.
  • Dental Procedures: Preparing patients for treatments, sterilizing instruments, and assisting with dental procedures such as fillings, extractions, and impressions.
  • Radiography: Taking and developing dental X-rays, an essential skill in modern dental practices.
  • Administrative Tasks: Managing patient records, scheduling appointments, and handling billing and insurance claims.

This blend of classroom learning and practical experience ensures that you are well-prepared to meet the demands of a dental assisting role upon graduation.

Impact on Patient Lives

Choosing a career in dental assisting also means making a positive impact on patients’ lives. Dental assistants play a crucial role in ensuring that patients feel comfortable and receive high-quality care. Your work will directly contribute to improving patients’ oral health and overall well-being, which can be incredibly rewarding.

As a dental assistant, you’ll have the opportunity to build strong relationships with patients, support them through their treatments, and educate them on maintaining good oral hygiene. This patient-centered aspect of the job adds a fulfilling and meaningful dimension to your career.

Flexibility and Work-Life Balance

Another appealing aspect of a career in dental assisting is the flexibility it offers. Dental assistants often have the option to work part-time or full-time, and many dental practices offer flexible scheduling to accommodate personal and family needs. This flexibility can be particularly beneficial for those balancing work with other commitments or pursuing further education.

Additionally, the nature of dental practice hours typically means regular, predictable work schedules, allowing for a healthy work-life balance. Unlike some healthcare roles that require night shifts or on-call hours, dental assistants usually work during standard office hours.

Are You Ready to Start Earning Money Right Out of High School?

For recent high school graduates looking to jumpstart their careers, dental assisting offers a compelling combination of job stability, good pay, opportunities for growth, hands-on experience, and the chance to make a meaningful impact on patients’ lives. At Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School in Vancouver, WA, our 12-week hybrid program is designed to provide you with the skills, knowledge, and practical experience needed to excel in this rewarding field.

By choosing dental assisting, you’re not only investing in a stable and fulfilling career but also positioning yourself for long-term success and growth. Whether you choose to specialize, advance to management roles, or pursue further education, the possibilities are endless. Start your journey with us and take the first step towards a bright and promising future in dental assisting.