I had the privilege of serving as president of the ADAA this past year. Among other things, I traveled around the country to a variety of meetings and had the opportunity to meet and talk with dental assistants and dental assisting students. Unfortunately, one of the things I heard a lot was, “I’ve never heard about the ADAA before.” It seems the organization is a well-kept secret, but it shouldn’t be!
My membership in the ADAA has provided me with innumerable benefits that are not listed on a “list of member benefits,” and that are priceless to me. I’ve grown through challenges, enjoyed some great fun with great people, developed character and skills, and done things I didn’t think I could do.
So, why should you be a member of the ADAA? What makes membership in your professional organization worthwhile? Here are a few things to consider — and I encourage you to step into membership and discover some of these great benefits for yourself!
1. There’s power in numbers — I’m not sure if you’re aware of this or not, but dental assisting is a bit like David from the David and Goliath story. Even though there are more practicing dental assistants than any other member of the dental health team, our voice isn’t very big. As our membership grows, however, our voice gets bigger, and changes can be made that can have a positive impact on your daily work environment. But this can only happen if you join. More members mean a bigger voice — there’s power in numbers.
2. Networking and connections — One of the best things for me is to be able to pick up the phone or send an email to a colleague in another part of the country to get the help I need — because I now have friends and colleagues around the country due to my membership in the ADAA. If I need a job, I know where I can turn, and if they don’t know, they know someone who does.
3. Opportunities — Did you know you could travel to meetings? Or learn how to speak in public? Maybe you want to develop some leadership or organizational skills. Being a part of the organization provides you with the opportunities to do any of the above.
4. Tangible benefits — In addition to the intangible benefits such as networking, there are real, tangible benefits to membership. Things such as malpractice insurance, free continuing education, publications, and resources to help make your life as a dental assistant easier. Whether you are a CDA, front office or back, there is something for you.
5. Have a voice — Are you happy with the profession and where it’s going? There are lots of potential changes to the delivery of dentistry in the coming years. Would you like to be able to have a say in what that looks like? Members have the opportunity to have a voice in things that shape and change our profession, such as our scope of practice and education requirements. Do you have opinions about these things? Join us and let your voice be heard!
6. Be taken seriously — Sometimes we have to “put on our big girl panties” before those around us will pay attention to us. That can be especially true in the dental office, don’t you think? It’s like the adage, you get out of it what you put into it. Being a member of your professional organization sets you apart as someone who is serious about your job and career. As you learn and grow, you will gain the respect of those around you.
7. Find friends and colleagues with similar interests — Having friends and colleagues I can talk to about work and the newest material or technique is a good thing. No one knows or understands the struggles, frustrations, and joys of dental assisting like another dental assistant. Being a member gives you a group of assistants you can connect with, whether at an education meeting or over lunch.
8. Be the best you can be — By being involved in the ADAA, you will have access to the latest information and resources available to put you on the cutting edge. Did you know that research shows that those who are members of their professional organization stay in the field longer and make more money?
9. Opportunities to give back — Members of the professional organization have the opportunity to give back in a variety of ways, from volunteering in the organization, to participating in charitable events, to donating time, money, or skills. Serving is a wonderful reminder of the blessings we all enjoy.
10. Your story — I’ve shared my story with you, but what about you? For those of you who are members already, what is your reason for being a member of ADAA? What do you find to be the best reason to be a member? I’d love to hear what you have to say. Send me an email at [email protected].
For those of you who are not members but would like to join, here’s a link to the application.
If you decide not to join, I’d also love to hear what you have to say, so send me an email at [email protected].
Claudia Pohl, CDA, RDA, FADAA, BVEd
President, American Dental Assistants Association
The people who make dental assisting a profession