Dental Assisting Dead End Job

Is dental assisting a dead end job?

Oct. 17, 2013
Like any job, what you put into it is what you get out of it.

By Tija Hunter, CDA, EFDA

The U.S. department of labor says dental assisting is going to see a 31% boost in growth, which is higher than average. The Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) states, “Dental assistingis among the top 25 fastest-growing occupations in the United States.”

Dental assistants are the backbone of the office, yet the least respected, and in most cases their pay reflects that lack of respect. We are usually the first in the door and last to leave each workday. We clean instruments and toilets, make coffee, scrub floors, and assist! We are the go between from doctor to front desk to patient. From one end of this country to the other, dental assistants do it all! This doesn’t sound like a glamorous job to me, and people are actually signing up for this?

In this profession, just like life itself, you get out of it what you put in it. Give it 110% and you will soar. Put in a measly 60%, and that’s exactly what you’ll get out of it.

Create opportunities

If your job isn’t satisfying to you, then look no further than your mirror. Do you want more out of your job? Try giving more to your job. Do you want a raise? Work for it! Are these harsh words? You bet! But the truth of the matter is that nobody is going to give you anything. If you want it, you’re going to have to create it! Look out for yourself because nobody else will.

The answer to having a more satisfying career that you love is education. This changing world of dentistry is evolving so fast, and there are so many exciting opportunities for dental assistants. If you want to grow with the changes and new technology, you’ve got to continue to learn!

Did you know there are many websites that offer free CE? Even if you don’t need the credits that CE gives you, the information you’ll gain will help you in your career. Check with your local American Dental Assistants Association because they offer courses.

Speaking of not needing the CE, why don’t you need it? I will admit, having those three little letters (CDA for Certified Dental Assistant) behind my name is my accomplishment. It is something I’m very proud to say I have. It wasn’t easy; I worked hard and earned those credentials. I will continue the necessary CE in order to keep them. I admit I’m a CE junkie! I love to learn, and with that I’ve grown in my career. If your career isn’t fulfilling to you, dive in headfirst. Maybe all you need is a boost and to shake things up! Find what you love in your job, and be the best that you can be at it.

With fall here we’re getting closer to the end of the year. Now is the time to reflect on that year and think about our goals for the future. One of your goals can be to make time for yourself and a better career!

To answer my own question — Is dental assisting a dead end job? Only if you let it be.

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Here are some websites that offer free CE:;;;;

Tija Hunter is a 1981 Graduate of the Missouri College, and has more than 32 years of chairside experience. She is currently the office manager and chairside assistant to Dr. Eric Hurtte of O’Fallon, Mo. Tija is a member of the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) and the Association of Dental Implant Auxiliaries (ADIA). She also is an Illinois Dental Assistants Association Board member and sits on the new member enrollment council. Tija is an editorial board member for Dental Assisting Digest, contributor to Dental Assisting Digest and Dental Economics magazine, founder of the Dental Assistants Study Club of St. Louis, and the director of the Dental Careers Institute. Tija is the author of a CE study course that was released in 2013 on Handpiece Repair and Maintenance. She can be reached at [email protected] or find her on Facebook.