Taking Your Dental Assisting Career to the Next Level

You play a vital role in the dental industry as a dental assistant. You are responsible for providing various services, such as assisting the dentist during procedures, taking X-rays, and performing administrative tasks. While the job may seem straightforward, there are many opportunities for growth and advancement.

Here are five ways you can advance your dental assisting career.

1. Further Education and Certification

Pursuing further education and certification is one of the most effective ways to advance your dental assisting career. Dental assisting programs are available at community colleges, vocational schools, and universities.

Earning certification can also help you advance your career. The Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) offers several certifications, including the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification.

In addition to the CDA certification, the DANB also offers certifications, such as the Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA) certification and the Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA) certification.

2. Specialize in a Specific Area

Another way to advance your dental assisting career is by specializing in a specific area. For example, you may focus on orthodontics, periodontics, or pediatric dentistry. Specializing in a specific area can provide you with more knowledge and experience, making you a more valuable asset to a dental office.

You may need to complete additional education and training to specialize in a specific area. For example, if you want to specialize in orthodontics, you may need to attend an orthodontic assisting program.

3. Networking and Professional Development

Networking and professional development are also essential for advancing your dental assisting career. Joining professional organizations, such as the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA), can provide you with access to valuable resources, such as continuing education courses, job boards, and industry news and trends.

Professional development can also include volunteering and community involvement. For example, you may volunteer at a free dental clinic or participate in a dental mission trip.

4. Develop Your Soft Skills

In addition to technical skills, developing your soft skills can help you advance your dental assisting career. Soft skills are personal attributes that enable you to interact effectively with others, such as communication, teamwork, and leadership. As a dental assistant, you work closely with patients, dentists, and other dental professionals, so having strong, soft skills can be a significant advantage.

You may need to attend workshops or training sessions to develop your soft skills. You can also practice your soft skills on the job by communicating clearly with patients and colleagues, collaborating effectively with other team members, and taking the initiative to solve problems.

5. Take on Additional Responsibilities

Finally, additional responsibilities can also help you advance your dental assisting career. As you gain experience and skills, you can take on more tasks, such as training new dental assistants, managing inventory, or assisting with marketing and social media. 

You may need to communicate with your supervisor or dentist to take on additional responsibilities. Express your interest in more tasks and ask for opportunities to learn and grow in your role.


By focusing on these areas, you can increase your knowledge, skills, and value as a dental assistant, leading to more job opportunities, higher salaries, and career advancement. Whether you pursue further education, specialize in a specific area, or develop your soft skills, there are many opportunities for growth and advancement in dental assisting.

Ready to take your dental assistant training to the next level? Northwest Suburban College offers comprehensive healthcare career training, including a dental assisting program that prepares you for dental assistant certification. With our hands-on training and experienced faculty, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in your career. Contact us today!

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