Dental care is a team effort – we all work together to provide oral care and dental health maintenance. While becoming a dentist is the most obvious career choice, there are many types of job opportunities within the dental field, requiring different levels of education.
Everyone in the dental office shares in the many rewards, such as job security, good compensation, great working conditions, flexible hours (typically 4 days/week), and the ability to advance in your field. Not to mention helping people preserve their oral health and enhance their smiles and quality of life. If you’re interested in a career in dentistry, check out the descriptions below!
Becoming a dentist requires the longest (and costliest) investment, starting with a four-year bachelor degree followed by another four-year degree in dentistry. Now, you’re ready to start your career in diagnosing and treating oral diseases! Most new dentists choose to start working with an experienced professional. In time, some take on more responsibility and purchase or start their own practices. Others may decide to go back to school to pursue a specialty career, such as oral surgery.
I highly recommend looking into a career as a certified dental assistant (CDA). They are in very high demand throughout BC and quickly becoming more so. Starting with a high school diploma, there are several training programs in BC and Alberta that require only a few months to complete. Not only do CDAs assist the dentist during procedures, they also work independently doing lab work, office duties, and more. There is a huge potential to advance in this career, where many assistants evolve into office managers and treatment coordinators.
Hygienists are highly trained specialists who perform cleanings and educate people on oral health. Candidates are required to take several first-year university courses to qualify for admission to an accredited school but can be ready to start their new career in only 18 months. When it comes to dental maintenance, hygienists really shine. While the dentist is often trying to fix a problem, it’s your hygienist that helps you prevent problems in the first place.
If you’re working at the front desk, you’ve chosen a career as director of first impressions. By welcoming patients to the office, organizing the schedule, and maintaining patient records, the receptionists and office coordinators are invaluable to the team. A high school diploma and computer skills are crucial, otherwise no formal training is required (although there are college programs available). Those people with career experience in customer service excel in this field, and once trained often end up running the entire office!
So, with graduation fast approaching, now’s a great time to consider a career in dentistry! If you would like a chance to see what goes on behind the scenes, contact us at Horizon Dental! We are happy to have students shadow our team members.
And if you’re looking for a dentist in Kamloops, we are happily accepting new patients! You can contact us by clicking here!