Dental Assistants

Maintaining good oral health is a priority focus in our community, and dental assistants play a critical role in this effort.

Dental assistants help prepare patients and equipment. They also work alongside a dentist and/or dental hygienist as he or she examines and treats patients. 

Dental assistants:

  • Care for patients directly by greeting them, making them comfortable, and preparing them for a dental exam or treatment
  • Help to educate patients on the importance of good oral care, and how to take care of their teeth and gums
  • Update patient records, performing administrative tasks such as updating treatment information, requesting dental records, and billing

 Education and training requirements

A high school diploma or GED and a certificate training program or on-the-job training are required to become a dental assistant. Some employers prefer to hire dental assistants who have passed a certification exam. Please note when you are selecting a dental assistant training program that not all programs provide college credit, which is important if you are planning on advancing your career.

Dental assistants are also expected to have:

  • A comfort level with technology
  • Understanding of basic chemistry and microbiology
  • Strong communication and teamwork skills



Western MA Fast Facts

  • Workers in Pioneer Valley: 720
  • Education Requirements: Certificate
  • Entry Level Wage: $17/hour
  • Experienced Wage: $22/hour
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