Marketing Your Skills
Professional Person who meets the standards of a profession.
As you complete your education, you will begin to identify and assess the type of employment you will be seeking. Your knowledge, skills, and attitude will enable you to select a career in which your needs and capabilities are met and a setting in which you will be recognized as a valuable employee.
Your Professional Career
You have many resources to offer to a potential employer. It is important to analyze your qualifications and career direction. By doing this, you can determine what type of employment you are looking for and what type of environment is compatible with your needs.
Goals and Philosophy
Ultimately, you are responsible for your personal and professional development. This means that you need to ask yourself what you want to accomplish in your work and personal life. You can establish concrete professional goals that focus on your talents and accomplishments. Your personal philosophy should reflect your commitments, values, and concerns as they relate to future employment.
Given your education and the many opportunities available within dental assisting, you have a wide range of employment options from which to choose. This range of choices will open doors to new and exciting career choices.
Traditionally, independent private practitioners have delivered dental care in the United States. These practitioners provide a wide range of professional services for their patients. A private practice can take the form of a solo practice or a nonsolo practice; a nonsolo practice can involve additional dentists as associates, a partnership, or a group practice. The American Dental Association definition states that a nonsolo dentist works “in a practice with at least one other dentist. Some of these dentists may be employed by the owner dentist in the practice.”
A nonsolo practice may be composed of almost any number and variety of general practitioners and specialists working in a shared facility. The benefits of being employed in a larger group setting include the following:
Dental insurance companies are continually looking for skilled dental assistants to contribute to their organizations. Depending on your expertise and interests, you could consider a challenging career in business and administrative procedures that incorporates your knowledge of dentistry, processing of claims, and customer service.
Many dental manufacturing companies seek out individuals with a background in dentistry. If you are outgoing, find it easy to approach new people, have experience in dental assisting, and like to travel, you may find sales to be a rewarding career.
Dental schools and hospitals with dental clinics hire dental assistants to work in their dental clinics or within research laboratories. These positions generally require you to be in charge of coordinating patients within a research study, report writing, and entering a wide range of data.
Experienced dental assistants with managerial and clinical backgrounds bring their expertise to dental practices through consulting firms. Many assistants join an existing consulting firm or obtain the resources and support to start their own. Their purpose is to develop customized practice management concepts for individual dental practices that are interested in enhancing employee satisfaction, achieving economic success, and improving communication and management skills.
Employment as an instructor in a dental-assisting program is a challenging and rewarding career option for the motivated dental assistant. Each school and state has requirements for teacher certification. These vary and may include prescribed college courses in educational methods, at least a bachelor’s degree, and certification or registration as a dental assistant.
An assistant who would enjoy teaching should consider taking college courses in related sciences and education on a part-time basis while simultaneously gaining valuable work experience in the dental office.
Educationally qualified and experienced dental assistants are employed by dental schools to work in clinical settings to provide dental students with experience in four-handed dentistry. Employment at a dental school provides the assistant with the stimulation of working in an educational setting with faculty, students, and patients.
A hospital setting that has a dental clinic will hire qualified assistants to work with special patients who may be in the hospital for another health-related illness or with patients who require a specialized setting to be treated, such as those with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or another type of immune disorder.
Public Health and Government Programs
Public health and other government-supported dental facilities function at the federal, state, and local levels. Dental public health programs promote dental health through organized community efforts. Dental assistants may be employed by programs in which dental services are provided at no cost or minimal cost to patients who are eligible to receive care. Public health practices almost always involve a team effort with other professionals such as physicians, nurses, social workers, and nutritionists.
Professionals in these settings generally also collect data and report statistics on specific public health issues and services such as fluoridation, incidence of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and care for older adults or specific population groups, which could include Native Americans and immigrants.
Locating Employment Opportunities
Once you have determined potential areas of employment, it is important to be knowledgeable about employment sources. This type of assistance will help you find the position and the employer that you seek.
Newspaper advertisements are an excellent employment source. Frequently, dentists place classified advertisements describing the available position and the requirements. The employer will include a telephone number if he or she wishes to speak to you directly or will ask that you send your letter of application and résumé to a box address or email address. This is known as a blind box advertisement; it gives the employer an opportunity to screen prospective employees before scheduling an interview.
If you are attending a dental-assisting program, the school commonly will offer a placement service or will provide a list of employment opportunities with practicing dentists in the area. Dentists frequently contact dental-assisting schools for new employees.
Employment agencies are located in all regions of the United States, and mo/>