Skip to main content
Healthcare Dental Assistant
Salary Range Jobs Available
$32,300 - $56,800 48,000+

What Does a Dental Assistant Do?

Dental assistants make dental offices run more efficiently. They help patients feel comfortable and help hygienists and dentists do their jobs. 

State regulations vary on what a dental assistant can do, and tasks may vary by clinic. But for a hard-working, curious assistant, there is plenty of opportunity.

This job involves both clinical and administrative tasks. Dental assistants schedule appointments, maintain dental records, help patients get settled in the chair and clean dental tools. They work under the supervision of a dentist and alongside hygienists. They also assist with administrative tasks and office management.

Most importantly, an assistant is one of the first dental professionals a patient will meet, so it’s helpful to have a compassionate outlook. 

If you’re someone who enjoys being involved in different areas of an operation, this is a job to consider. It’s also a job that offers room to grow, as we’ll explain in more detail below. 

A dental assistant prepares dental equipment for a procedure
Dental assistants perform a variety of tasks, from helping out in the exam room to working in office management. (Credit: Arlou_Andrei/Shutterstock)


  • Prepare patients and the work area for examinations
  • Update patient's medical history 
  • Hand the dentist tools and use suction tubes during procedures
  • Provide chair-side support to patients
  • Sterilize dental instruments and equipment
  • Be knowledgeable about dental procedures, tools and equipment
  • Instruct patients in proper oral hygiene
  • Keep records
  • Schedule appointments
  • Work with patients on billing issues

How To Become a Dental Assistant: FAQs

The bottom line:

If you’re looking for a fast-paced workplace with room to grow, this is a career to consider. It’s well-suited to someone who likes variety and is eager to learn new tasks. If that sounds like you, check out SkillPointe’s selection of training programs and get started on your next chapter. 

Josefina Barco, dental assistant ambassador

What is it like to be a dental assistant?

"I like everything about my job," says Josefina Barco, who has been a dental assistant since 2010. 

She learned her trade by training with “a very strict and perfectionist dentist.” That eye for detail comes into play every work day. Find out why Josefina can’t see herself doing anything else.

Local Certifications and Requirements

You may need a state license or certificate before you can work in a specific career in your state. Different states may also have different education and experience requirements, fees and application forms. The good news - we make it super easy to find what you need to begin your new career. Just enter your zip code to get started.

Find Dental Assistant Training In Your Area

Salt Lake City

Cinical Dental Assistant (Online) Certificate of Completion

This online dental assisting course is the most comprehensive you'll find. You'll learn about every aspect of professional dental assisting, including...

Dental Assisting Professional Certificate

Dental assistants greatly increase the efficiency of the dentist in the delivery of quality oral health care and are valuable members of the dental...

Dental Hygeine Associate in Science

The dental hygienist is a key member of the professional dental team, providing educational and clinical services to community groups and individuals...
Daytona Beach

Dental Assisting (Limited Access Program) Vocational Certificate

This program teaches students to pass and receive dental instruments; obtain and analyze dental radiographic images; provide oral health care...

Dental Assisting Career Certificate

The Dental Assisting Career Certificate (C.C.) program provides students with dental assisting classes that cover the theoretical, practical and...

Dental Assisting Post Secondary Adult Vocational Certificate

The dental assisting PSAV prepares you for a rewarding career that requires both interpersonal and technical skills. The duties of a dental assistant...
Fort Pierce

Dental Assisting Technology and Management, A.S.

Dental assistants seek employment in a private dental office, dental school, hospital, clinic or public health setting where they set up equipment...
Fort Pierce

Dental Assisting Technology Management Applied Technology Diploma

Earn a valuable Applied Technology Diploma at the same time you’re completing an A.S. Degree—get double the value and additional credentials by...
Lake Worth

Dental Assisting Certificate

Located on Palm Beach State's Lake Worth campus, this 11-month certificate program provides high-quality training in Dental Assisting at an affordable...
New Port Richey

Dental Assisting Technical Credit Certificate

The purpose of this program is to prepare students for employment as dental assistants and dental auxiliaries. The program meets all competencies...

Dental Assisting Certificate

An educationally qualified dental assistant is responsible for working directly with a dentist during the provision of treatment to the patient. Tasks...

Dental Assisting Technology and Management Applied Technology Diploma

This Dental Assisting Technology and Management Applied Technology Diploma prepares students for the Dental Assisting National Board Exam and...

Dental Assisting Certificate

The Dental Assisting accredited program prepares students for employment in a variety of positions in today’s dental offices. The Dental Assisting...

Dental Hygiene, A.A.S.

The program emphasizes professional and ethical interactions with patients and other health professionals. Effective communication skills are gained...

Dental Assistant Certificate

The goal of the program is to prepare competent entry-level dental assistants’ in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective...
Not sure about this job?
Find your match with our career quiz.

Need help reaching your goals?

Explore our Financial Resources page for scholarships, FAQ answers and student support services.

Explore More