So, you are considering a career in dental assisting in the great state of Pennsylvania, but you want to know what you are getting into? What is the dental assistant salary in Pennsylvania? Is Pennsylvania with its almost 12.75 million strong population an indication of a sound customer base and a source of job security? And if the dental assistant salary in Pennsylvania is appealing, is there any guarantee that you will land a job there? Come with me and we will take a closer look.
The Benefits Of Dental Assisting In Pennsylvania
First let me point out that Pennsylvania is a state with the sixth largest population among all US states bodes well for providing a good field of opportunities to launch a career in dentistry, after all, it offers about 12.75 million people with an estimated 400 million teeth, all in need of cleaning, extracting, capping, polishing, or replacing. This is a huge and promising wellspring for anyone interested in a career in dentistry. Couple this with the strict training standards established by law in Pennsylvania and you get a large pool of employment opportunities bolstered by salaries that reflect the presence of higher standards.
A Day In The Life Of A Dental Assistant
The typical day in the life of a dental assistant involves greeting and seating the patient and making them feel comfortable with the process, preparing the dental instruments for the procedure, taking dental impressions, processing x-rays, recordkeeping and assisting the dentist during the procedure by handling the instruments. Other duties might include ordering supplies, maintaining and cleaning around the office or filling in as receptionist.
Steps To Getting Your Dental Assistant Certification
If you think that you might be interested in training for a dental certification, there are three primary steps in the process:
• Graduate from an accredited dental assistant school.
• Maintain a current CPR certification.
• Pass a written examination administered by the Dental Assistants National Board.
A diploma, certificate or degree in dental assisting will provide you with all the knowledge and hands-on experience you will need for a fulfilling career as a dental assistant, but the higher you climb in terms of the levels of your education you will earn yourself a higher starting salary and gain even more options when searching for a job.
For example a diploma in dental assisting might garner you a salary of $25,000 to $29,000 whereas a two year degree could earn you anywhere from $30,000 to 35,000 with a certificate earning you a salary somewhere in between, depending on the program.
In addition, you might consider the benefits of graduating from a dental assisting program that is accredited by the American Dental Association. Doing so brings students automatic eligibility to take the exam to become a Certified Dental Assistant. Certification can definitely lead to much higher salaries.
What Is An EFDA And Why Should I Become One?
A certified dental assistant such as an Expanded Function Dental Assistant is generally better trained and prepared to tackle broader portions of the office workload, and for this reason, EFDA(s) usually make more than their lesser trained counterparts.
To be a fully certified Expanded Function Dental Assistant in Pennsylvania you must have:
A. Graduated from an EFDA program from a two year college which offers an associate’s degree.
B. Graduated from a CODA accredited dental hygeine school which requires at least 75 hours of clinical and academic instruction in restorative functions
C. Completed at least 200 hours of clinical and academic instruction from a Pennsylvania board approved dental assisting program;
D. Apply for state certification in expanded functions to the Pennsylvania state board of Dentistry;
E. Pass a Pennsylvania board-acceptable written exam.
How Much Does A PA Dental Assistant Make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average senior level dental assistant salary in Pennsylvania is about $38,000 annually. Entry level assistants may range from $21,000 to $32,000 annually. At the high end of the pay scale assistants are making around $45,000 annually. Clearly, the better trained you become and the wider range of your specialization they higher your potential income becomes.
Why Become A Dental Assistant In The State Of Pennsylvania?
Recent labor statistics show that the Pennsylvania job market is showing strong growth compared the the US economy in general, and this applies to the field of dentistry as well. There is a strong and growing demand for highly-trained dental professionals throughout the state of pennsylvania. The demand is also growing steadily nationwide; but if your goal is to make a good dental assistant salary in Pennsylvania, there is still a huge market for the skilled dental professional with its disproportionately large share of major cities, such as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and Harrisburg; which means there is no shortage of opportunities to break into a promising career in the dental health industry.