**This article was last updated in June 2020**
The dental field in Australia is currently growing, with more career opportunities than ever before. It’s therefore a great time to start a career as a Dental Assistant, and it can be an extremely interesting and rewarding career path for the right person.
To find out more, take a look at this article where we share some of the things you need to know about being a Dental Assistant, including the personality traits required, the qualifications that can help you to find a job in the dental field and much more.
What is a Dental Assistant?
The role of a Dental Assistant is to prepare the treatment room ready for patients, as well as preparing patients for their dental examinations. Dental Assistants also help Dentists, Dental Practitioners, Hygienists and Therapists to provide both oral care and treatment.
What are the job prospects for a Dental Assistant in Australia?
According to Job Outlook, the number of people working as Dental Assistants is expected to grow strongly, with 28,400 people employed in this field by 2023.¹
Full-time workers on an adult wage earn around $1,116 per week. However, you can expect this to increase in line with your experience. Dental Assistants are not limited by geography and can work in many regions across Australia.
Find out more about Dental Assistant career job outlook, salaries, work hours, age profiles, education levels, industry trends and more here.
What are the responsibilities of a Dental Assistant?
As a Dental Assistant, there’s a wide range of duties you will need to perform, including:
- Preparing the treatment room by following prescribed procedures and protocols
- Welcoming and seating patients to prepare them for dental treatment
- Providing information for or answering questions from patients and staff
- Sterilising and delivering instruments to the treatment area and positioning instruments for dentist’s access
- Passing instruments and materials
- Helping manage dental and medical emergencies
- Educating patients on oral hygiene
- Maintaining dental supplies inventory
What key personality traits are needed?
There are several personal traits you’ll need to thrive in this role. Having a calm and soothing demeanour is important as the dental clinic can often be a source of anxiety for some people, and certain procedures can be unpleasant for the patient. Having a calm presence can help put a patient at ease and make the Dentist’s work much easier.
You also need to possess the ability to observe and anticipate the needs of your patient as well as the Dentist you are supporting.
How do I become qualified?
If you want to work as a Dental Assistant, having the right qualification is highly regarded. Open College’s HLT35015 Certificate III in Dental Assisting is a nationally recognised qualification that can open doors to careers in dental assistance, dental laboratory work and dental therapy. It can also be a great stepping-stone to further study.
This Dental Assistant course will teach you all the practical skills you’ll need to know including how to maintain and store instruments, equipment materials and medications, as well as how to communicate with dental professionals and patients. You will also learn administrative duties such as maintaining client records and organising appointments.
The HLT35015 Certificate III in Dental Assisting also offers a practical 300-hour work placement in a dental surgery of your choosing, so you can practice everything you’ve learned and confidently enter the workforce after your studies.
If you’re interested in working as a dental assistant you can learn more by visiting our HLT35015 Certificate III in Dental Assisting course page.
*1. Source: ‘Job Outlook Overview, Dental Assistants’. https://joboutlook.gov.au/Occupation?search=Career&code=4232