Fields within the Medical Path (Part9)

Fields within the Medical Path (Part9)

Do you want aA medical field career, but aren’t sure what you want to do or where you will fit in? Thankfully, there are plenty of career options from which to choose, and not all of them require years of schooling and long residencies.

Perhaps you are interested in dealing directly with people and providing high quality customer service; if so, you might find working as a medical receptionist or hospital intake coordinator appealing. Medical assistants, nurse’s aides, and dental hygienists are just some of the careers that might appeal to those interested in medical field careers without investing years in school. If the idea of long-term training does not deter you, then any number of medical careers exists: physician, nurse, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, physical therapist. Many of these upper level vocations require a minimum of four years in college, with most requiring graduate level work with clinical practice. These careers are challenging in both classroom and real life, but those who have the determination and discipline necessary to succeed in these areas will discover a lifelong, rewarding medical career.

Dental Assistant

Do you realize dental assistants and dental hygienists are not one and the same? They’re not. Dental hygienists require more education and training and are responsible for cleaning patients’ teeth above and below the gum line. Hygienists play an important role in preventive dental care and hold at least an associate’s degree in science. Dental assistants, on the other hand, are not required to have any formal training or education. They often hold just a basic certificate stating they have the necessary skills to sit alongside a dentist while he or she performs dental procedures on patients.A Dental assistantsA hand the dentist needed instruments during dental procedures. The assistant prepares the room by setting up equipment tables, etc., and prepares the patient for the procedure. Assistants are able to make dental impressions and temporary restorations needed by a patient. They help the dentist by applying air, water, or suction to keep the field (mouth) clean and clear during a procedure. Basically, a dental assistant is a dentist’s second pair of hands. Being that they work closely with the dentist and assist him or her during procedures many patients consider anxiety-producing, assistants who are reassuring and customer service oriented should have no problem securing employment.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most people in this medical career obtain their training on the job, although more and more community colleges and trade schools are offering training programs twelve months in duration. If an assistant wishes to perform more technical functions or procedures like X-rays, he or she may have to obtain special licensing or certification. Requirements vary from state to state. Dental assistants occupied approximately 300,000 jobs in 2008, 93 percent of which were in dental offices (2010). The BLS predicts the job outlook for dental assistants in coming years to be “excellent.” This is due to a number of factors, some of which include losing older dentists to attrition who will be replaced by younger dentists who are more likely to employ dental assistants, the push toward preventive dental health, better retention of natural teeth in the aging population, and increased work load for dentists, who will place more responsibility on assistants to perform routine tasks, thus liberating the dentist to focus on the more complicated procedures. The average salary for a dental assistant in 2008 was $32,380 (BLS, 2010). The more training and/or certification an assistant has, the better compensation he or she can expect.

As always, you can count on EresumeX as your free job search portal.

~Dawn Krovicka