One of the most popular jobs for people who are looking to become a dentist or dental hygenist is a dental assistant. However, there are more options for working with teeth. Orthodontists are responsible for putting braces on teeth and fixing problems like overbites. These doctors need assistants, just like their dentist counterparts. If you are looking to become an orthodontist or just for a rewarding job, you should consider becoming an orthodontic assistant.
A lot of job responsibilities are going to depend on the orthodontist. The main responsibility of an assistant is to make the orthodontist's life easier. The best way to do this is to have everything ready for them so they can see as many patients as possible. This usually includes, but is not limited to, the following tasks:
- Greeting patients as they enter the office
- Getting the patient situated in the chair
- Make sure all paperwork is complete and updated
- Pull out charts for the doctor to review
- Prepare instruments (pulling them out, sanitizing them, etc)
- Hand the doctor tools during procedures
- Make notations on work done and any other notes the doctor instructs be made
- Take X-rays and administer some types of anesthetic (depending on the level of education and training)
In some states, becoming an orthodontic assistant only requires becoming a regular dental assistant. Other states require that you gain an extra certification while working under an orthodontist. Many courses are offered online and through community colleges with 52 hours of classroom instruction. On top of these hours, an additional 500 hours working in an orthodontic practice may be required. It typically takes one to two years to complete.
This job, lumped together with dental assisting, is one that always seems to be in demand. The United States Department of Labor estimates that the amount of jobs in this area will continue to increase by 25% by the year 2022. Orthodontists are expected to also see high growth with 2.11% by the year 2020 and dentists seeing a growth of 16% by the year 2022. This means that you will always be in demand. Most people use this career as a stepping stone too, which leaves more vacancies for others as well.
If you are looking for a rewarding job working in healthcare, you should consider becoming an orthodontic assistant. It doesn't take too long to complete the necessary qualifications, and then you can enjoy a great job with great benefits for years to come.