Considering a Job in the Dental Field
When considering potential career stability and success, jobs in the dental field are among the strongest options available. From certificates, to associate degrees, to higher degrees, there are multiple options for individuals looking to enter the dental field and make a profitable leaving. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the careers of dental assistants, dental hygienists, and dentists, are all projected to grow much faster than the average between the years 2012-2022. That means, no matter what level of education you are interested in achieving, you are looking at a job market that is waiting for you with open arms.
Based on statistics provided by the BLS, the following is some specific information and numbers regarding the aforementioned positions.
Often helping with a number of items like patient x-rays, records, and other tasks, Dental Assistant training can vary by state, but most positions will require a certification program and a possible exam. This particular job is projected to grow 25% (much faster according to the BLS) between 2012-2022. With minimal education required, individuals are nonetheless offered a solid career path with a median pay of $34,500 (based on 2012 statistics). Starting as a Dental Assistant can also be a great way to gain experience, gage your passion for the field and build upon that experience.
Considered by many as a great hybrid of flexibility, pay and job satisfaction, Dental Hygienists are considered to be a dentist’s second in command. Responsible for a large part of interacting and caring for patients, Dental Hygienists are a critical part of the dental practice environment. In terms of education, hygienists are typically required to have a Associate’s degree specific to the field. This job is set to grow 33% over the next several years – much faster than most occupations – and the median pay for this position is $70,000 (based on 2012 statistics).
Requiring both the greatest amount of education, responsibility and risk are those who achieve the career of being a dentist. Like doctors, dentists require educational training past a typical four year degree, and based on a desired specialty, there are be additional training beyond dental school, along with passing dental exams to be licensed. Dentists are projected to grow 16% over the next seven years; while not as high as the other dental careers, this growth is still considered faster than average. Also, a dentist’s pay will hopefully offset the loans that will undoubtedly come with pursuing this career – in 2012, the median pay for dentists was nearly $150,000.
Is a dental career right for you? We asked Edmond Oklahoma dentist, Dr. Michael Chandler what made him decide to take the leap.
“As a young adult, I spent one summer building barstools at a factory in Guthrie, OK. I needed a lot of dental work and had very little money at the time. So each Tuesday, I would take my paycheck to the local dentist for dental work. That was the starting point. I saw he was getting to work with his hands and the impact he was making in people’s lives. The following semester I went back to school and changed my major. The rest is history. I now spend my time as a practicing dentist in Edmond, OK. The path wasn’t easy. And there were certainly times when I wondered if I made the right decision. But I have no regrets. When you see the profound impact you’re making in people’s lives, you quickly realize that dentistry is well worth the effort.”
No matter your desired level of education, there are solid careers waiting for individuals interested in dentistry – all offering quality pay, work-life balance, and the ability to interact and make a difference in the lives of their patients.