The Knowledge Nook

What Are The Pros and Cons of Working as a Dental Assistant?

Posted by Tami Russell on Sep 20, 2017 3:23:22 PM


Have you ever made a list of pros and cons as you ponder big life decisions? Many individuals believe that jotting down the perks and negatives help them analyze the overwhelming influx of information that comes with any big decision.

Choosing a career that is a good fit for you is no exception. The Knowledge Nook has done some of the work for you regarding the popular career of Dental Assisting!  You’re welcome!  Take a look at our list, and then continue on with your own list of things that matter to YOU as you plan your future.

The Bad News – Cons

Let’s start with the downside of Dental Assisting.  And, make no mistake, ANY career will dole out ups and downs.  Your job, as you assess your list, is to decide what is best for you.

Career Trend, a job-tip site filled with career content, features a great blog that gives three definite cons to consider.  They are


Not every dental office is ergonomically designed.  Prior to accepting a job, it’s worth a question to a potential employer about working conditions.  Poor conditions can cause headaches, wrist and hand problems, shoulder pain, etc.  There are ways to avoid these stressors. Make sure your potential employer puts employee safety first.


It’s true that a Dental Assistant spends every working day in an office filled with an ever rotating roster of people.  Dental Assistants are often working in a patient’s mouth.  A smart office encourages personnel to take the proper precautions, including masks, gloves, protective eye wear and sterile operating procedures. 


According to an article from, there is “no such thing as a completely safe exposure” to radiation in any form.  However, trained medical and dental professionals are very aware of any risks, the benefits, and the necessary procedural safeguards that are important.

Numerous studies show that the risk from overexposure to radiation from dental X-rays is very low.  The American Dental Association agrees that dental X-rays pose much less of a risk of radiation overexposure than other medical procedures performed in medical offices or hospitals, or even natural exposures found in the environment.

To make sure professionals and patients are safe, the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements notes that close attention should be paid to facility design, diagnostic equipment performance, or operating procedures. Make sure your potential employers is up-to-date on radiation safeguards.

 The Good News – Pros

Now that we’ve looked at some of the potential negatives of the career, let’s turn to some potential benefits.

Interacting With People

Busy dental offices see dozens of patients a week, and there are usually a number of other staff members around to bond with.  If you enjoy working around other people throughout a common work day, Dental Assisting might be a great match.

Personal Satisfaction

The annual “Best Jobs” survey by U.S. News and World Report gives job-seekers a look into how careers rank nationally in job satisfaction, benefits, working hours, salary and training. Dental Assistants ranked number 17 in “Best Health Care Support Jobs.”  The profession ranked number 72 in a list of “The 100 Best Jobs.”

Advancement Opportunities, Stress Control, Flexibility

On the Job Satisfaction portion of the U.S. News and World Report survey, those who responded indicated that the chance of upward mobility as a Dental Assistant is “High.” Stress level came in as “Average,” with flexibility as “Above Average.”

Speaking of Flexibility…

Dental Assistants can often craft a schedule that works best for themselves and their families.  Ask a potential employer about full-time, part-time and temporary options.

A Decent Salary, and Job Security

Dental Assistants can expect a median salary of more than $35,000 (with a low of $24,580 and a high of $49,540), and a nation-wide unemployment rate of only 3.5 percent.  There are more  than 58,000 new openings projected through the year 2024.  According to U.S. News and World Report, “That amounts to 18 percent employment growth, which is much faster than the average for all professions.”

Want to Learn More?

Visit PDI’s website for more information about the field of Dental Assisting, and the value of obtaining a Certificate in Dental Assisting. 



Topics: dental assistant

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PDI - The Professional Development Institute of the University of North Texas - is dedicated to your desire to never stop learning!  "The Knowledge Nook," our blog designed to share best practices, trending topics and other tidbits of information, is a tool to help you as you plot your career path. If you have specific questions, blog topic ideas or comments on particular topics, please let us know! We look forward to learning together.

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