Dental assistants help dentists examine and treat patients. They perform a wide range of tasks, including preparing the patient for treatment, passing instruments during dental procedures, processing x-rays and polishing patients’ teeth. Dental assistants also assist with office duties by scheduling appointments, maintaining treatment records and ordering supplies.
Dental assistants work under the supervision of dentists, usually in private or group practices. They can also work at dental schools, hospitals, clinics or public health departments. Nearly half of all dental assistants work 35-40 hours a week.
Dental assistant training programs are available at most community colleges. They typically last about one year and award a diploma, but some schools offer a two-year associate's degree.
Licensure and Certification
Upon graduation, dental assistants must pass the national board exam to become certified and show proof of current CPR training to obtain a license to practice in the state of Iowa.
Career Outlook Map of Iowa
Dental assistants can look forward to an excellent job outlook in the next decade. Statewide, the expected growth rate is 31% and no region is less than 23%.