Danb Rgb No Tagline

3 reasons dental assistants love their career, even when it’s challenging

Sept. 22, 2020
Earning and maintaining certification through the Dental Assisting National Board leads to increased job satisfaction and pride, plus a higher salary.

Anyone who loves their career, regardless of their chosen profession, can probably agree there will sometimes be bumps big and small along the career path. One example, on a large scale, is the COVID-19 pandemic.

During approximately the past six months, the pandemic has greatly impacted how everyone works, including dental assistants. In fact, COVID-19 prompted most dental offices to temporarily close in mid-March to prevent exposure, with dental teams returning to work this summer.

Heading into the fall, challenges remain for dental teams. But even in the face of the changes related to COVID-19, dental assistants consistently demonstrate their resilience, flexibility, and passion for the profession. This is because of the following reasons and more.

Dental assistants are proud of their profession

Overwhelmingly, dental assistants say they are proud of their careers, a feeling that is especially true among those who hold certification through the Dental Assisting National Board. In fact, DANB’s 2018-2019 dental sssistants salary and satisfaction survey shows that holding DANB certification benefits dental assistants’ careers in many ways, including leading to increased knowledge, professional pride and job satisfaction, as well as higher pay, greater employer loyalty, and more. Download the full report.

“When patients know that you are nationally certified in your profession, they hold you at a higher level of respect and trust, and employers view DANB certificants as especially valuable,” Marlyce G., CDA, has experienced. “It’s important to me to hold on to DANB certification, and to always achieve and perform at the highest level in my career.”

Many dental assistants also say they can’t imagine working in any other profession, even in times of high stress. “Dental assisting is my life, my passion,” says Denise R., CDA, COA. “It really is just an amazing career.”

Dental assistants' practices and patients are like family

Another reason many dental assistants love their career is because it has led them to meet some of their favorite people. Whether it be peers in dental assisting school, dental team colleagues, or even patients, some of their best connections have been cultivated in the dental office. That’s because no one understands the ins and outs of a dental assistant’s day quite like someone with similar experiences.

“I’ve been a dental assistant for more than 30 years,” says Rosa S. “In the dental practice that employs me, I’ve seen babies born and then grow up to have their own babies. I’ve had the opportunity to work for a great dentist my entire career. The practice is my extended family.”

“Overall, I’m very comfortable in my office environment,” agrees Laura R., CDA, CPFDA, CRFDA. “What has always made my job is the people.”

Another benefit of earning and maintaining DANB certification is joining a group of more than 37,000—and growing—DANB certificants nationwide. “I recommend being active in your profession; you can gain mentors and people whom you can talk with about the profession,” says Cathy R., CDA-Emeritus, COA-Emeritus, CDPMA-Emeritus, CPDFA-Emeritus.

Dental assisting is a source of identity and comfort

Another key reason that dental assistants tout their profession is because for most, it’s a part of who they are. For so many assistants who are back to work following COVID-19 closures, returning to the dental office is akin to coming home.

“Being a dental assistant is all I have ever known,” agrees Jodie S., CDA. “I have been passionately dedicated to this field for more than 20 years. Dental assisting is who I am. This is what I have been called to do.”

Cathy R. echoes this, adding that by holding DANB certification, one can build on their dental assistant foundation. “It is very important to continue professional development,” she acknowledges. “It gives you a greater sense of identity.”

Marlyce G. feels the same way about working in the dental field and holding DANB certification. In fact, she believes her background as a dental assistant, coupled with her commitment to maintaining DANB certification, helped to bring her back to the practice sooner than her peers to work with emergency patients during the pandemic.

One thing is for sure: many of those dental assistants who have returned to their dental offices agree it feels good to be regaining some semblance of normalcy. “Dental assisting is a part of me that had been missing when I was at home,” elaborates one dental assistant, after an extended period spent away from the office. “The closest feeling to my ‘first day back at work’ is that ‘first day of school’ feeling in the fall. Working in the dental office may be a bit different now, but it’s also comfortably familiar.”

Explore DANB certification

DANB certification benefits dental assistants’ careers in many ways. To learn more, visit danb.org.