The dental assistant field is constantly growing with many schools becoming DANB (Dental Assisting National Board) accredited for their dental assisting programs. As of 2011 there are over 34,000 DANB certified dental assistants in the United States and DANB certification is recognized or required in 38 states.
With the high demand in the dental assisting field and the low barriers to entry, dental assisting is becoming a very popular career choice. However, with the continuous growth in accredited programs and more focus on dental care as a profession, the educational requirements and standards for dental assisting will only continue to increase.
Competition for Dental Assistant Jobs
The main concern for those considering the dental assisting field is that there may be too much job competition. As an aspiring student, you obviously want to make sure that the career path you choose is one with a solid job market for many years to come.
To get a better idea on the availability and competitiveness of dental assistant jobs, take a look at the following facts from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Dental assistant employment is forecasted for a 31% growth from 2010 to 2020, which is above average in comparison to the expected growth of all other occupations.
- Dental assistant is a position which will always be required, as dentists will always need their assistance to keep their dental offices running efficiently.
- There are over 34,000 dental professionals with DANB certification
These three facts alone cannot definitively determine the job outlook or competitiveness of the field but there is room for interpretation.
First off, there is a great projected growth in employment availability for dental assistants over the next ten years. This is a major component of the ability to find a job as a dental assistant in today’s economy. While we are still working towards escaping the recession, there is definitely a positive outlook in terms of job availability for dental assistants in the near future.
The DANB certification numbers show that many dental assistants do not seek DANB certification, or certification for expanded duties. Becoming a certified dental assistant or getting certified for performing expanded duties can give you a much stronger chance at getting a job in the field, depending on your local state requirements, as not all states allow dental assistants to perform expanded functions.
If you are looking at the job availability at the entry level, then your outlook may not be ideal in the immediate future, but with strong employment growth expected in the next ten years you can still expect positions to open up. Ultimately, dental assistant jobs are not impossible to find in this economy but due to the low barrier to entry there may still be significant competition. However, over the next few years, many more dental assistant positions are expected to open up – perfect if you’re looking to start your dental assistant training in the near future.