Orthodontist Assistant Job Description and Duties
An orthodontist assistant may be responsible for taking X-rays and impressions so that the orthodontist can focus on patient care. As an assistant, you also handle minor tasks, such as tightening braces and sterilizing equipment. In some cases, you may conduct preliminary exams and inform the orthodontist of issues that need immediate attention. You may spend a considerable amount of time in the laboratory creating molds of patients’ teeth or creating mouth guards and retainers. You may also work directly with patients by preparing their teeth before they get braces or explaining how to care for orthodontic devices.
Orthodontist Assistant Job Growth and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected 31% job growth from 2010-2020 for all dental assistants, which is much faster than average. PayScale.com reported in May 2012 that most orthodontic assistants earned between $22,000 and $44,000 per year. According to the BLS, dental assistants earned an average salary of about $35,000 as of May 2011.
Orthodontist Assistant: Career Skills and Requirements
Some employers don’t expect orthodontic assistants to have any postsecondary education. Others, however, prefer job applicants who have completed a dental assisting program. In either case, on-the-job training is usually provided.
You may be required to be licensed, registered or certified as a dental or orthodontic assistant in your state. Certification through the Dental Assisting National Board’s (DANB) 2-part test for orthodontic assistants is required in some states. You may have to meet further state requirements if you use X-ray equipment or if your state has stiffer regulations for dental assisting careers.
Assistants should have excellent manual dexterity and good communication skills. The ability to follow instructions is essential as well.
What Employers Are Looking For
Being a team player is important to employers, as seen in March 2012 job ads. Employers were also looking for experienced candidates, especially for full-time positions.
An orthodontist in New York was looking for an orthodontist assistant with experience in electronic charting, Invisalign and providing patient care. Candidates were also asked to have 2-5 years of experience working in a high-end office.
An orthodontic practice in Georgia wanted to hire someone with a positive attitude and a drive to help people live healthy lifestyles. Experience was required.
An orthodontist in Texas wanted an energetic orthodontist assistant with computer experience. Familiarity with dental office functions was required.
In Pennsylvania, an orthodontist was seeking an assistant with a friendly attitude and strong communication skills. Preference was given to applicants with X-ray certification and computer skills.
Free Certified Orthodontic Assistant practice test
Along with useful information about the Orthodontist Assistant Job Description & Salary Info above, in this article we also introduce to you the following practice test – to help you prepare for your actual exam: