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Dental Assistant

Dental Assistant

Work with people in a caring, clean and professional environment.

What's it like to be a Dental Assistant?

A Dental Assistant (sometimes referred to as Dental Nurse) prepares patients for dental examinations and assists Dental Practitioners with instruments, treatments and X-rays.

Tasks and duties

  • Preparing treatment rooms and patients for dental procedures.
  • Preparing instruments for the Dentist to use by ensuring they are sterilised, in the treatment area, and positioned so the Dentist has easy access to them.
  • Performing suctioning and passing instruments as they’re required during procedures.
  • Maintaining a dental supplies inventory by checking inventory levels and anticipating shortages.
Dental Assistants most commonly work in private practices, but they are also employed at dental clinics in hospitals and community-based clinics.

What can I earn as a Dental Assistant?

The most common salary  for a Dental Assistant is between $45k and $55k
Source: SEEK job ads and SEEK Profile data

How to become a Dental Assistant

SEEK Learning
There is no formal training required to commence entry-level work as a Dental Assistant. However, vocational training is recommended to increase job prospects. You can complete either a Certificate III in Dental Assisting HLT35015 or Certificate IV in Dental Assisting HLT45015 at an accredited TAFE institution.
  1. Complete either a Certificate III in Dental Assisting HLT35015 or Certificate IV in Dental Assisting HLT45015. You’ll learn how to work alongside Dentists, Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists.
  2. Check if there are any vaccination requirements. While these are not mandated it is strongly encouraged to have current vaccination for Hepatitis B, and Tetanus along with the normal childhood vaccination recommendations (measles, mumps, varicella and polio).
  3. Many Dental Assistants with several years’ experience continue to further their education with additional formal training in order to progress their careers, such as specialising in dental hygiene or dental therapy.

Explore dental assistant qualifications

Compare qualifications in dental assisting, with opens for full time, part time and online study.

Duration 0.5 yr - 1 yr
10 institutions offering this qualification
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Duration 36 wks - 1 yr
6 institutions offering this qualification
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Source: SEEK job ads and SEEK Profile data

What skills are employers looking for?

Employers want:

  • Task management
  • Self motivation
  • Resilience
  • Willingness to learn
  • Integrity

Shortlisted applicants:

  • Team work
  • Customer centricity
  • Time management
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Learning aptitude
Source: SEEK job ads and SEEK Profile data

How do Dental Assistants rate their role?

Latest reviews from 55 Dental Assistants surveyed on SEEK

Latest reviews

5 out of 5Jun 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Certificate 3 in Dental Assisting
Experience
10+ years
Organisation size
Medium (20-199 employees)
The good things
Having the opportunity to help people to a healthier mouth and body is rewarding in more ways than one. Being able to educate clients whilst repairing teeth in general, gives you a great deal of satis...
The challenges
Every patient is different and usually presents with many challenges which range from firstly the fear of being treated, then through to being able to afford the treatment. Finding as many options as ...
5 out of 5Jun 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Cert 3
Experience
10+ years
Organisation size
Small (1-19 employees)
The good things
Go to tafe do the course it really helps you dont need it for some jobs but it gives you a better understanding and alot more employers ask for it
The challenges
It can be a very busy and try not to get involved in politics
5 out of 5Jun 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Certificate 4 dental radiography
Experience
10+ years
Organisation size
Large (200+ employees)
Specialisation
Dental
The good things
Good thing about my role is I am helping people of varying cultural backgrounds by booking an appointment to help with their dental pain and general care. I also refer them to other services in my org...
The challenges
Challenges are trying to fit people in to see a dentist to help them with their oral health
5 out of 5Jun 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Diploma of Financial Planning
Experience
10+ years
Organisation size
Small (1-19 employees)
Specialisation
Dental Assistant/Receptionist
The good things
Dental Assistant/Nurse/Receptionist/Sterilization.....Wow what a great variety of a role I hold as a "Dental Assistant". The best thing about my job is the customers, literally making them enjoying th...
The challenges
Biggest challenge is trying to help a customer knowing it can be quite a large financial amount being put on the line for your overall oral health.
5 out of 5Jun 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Dental assistant /sterilisation Services
Experience
10+ years
Organisation size
Medium (20-199 employees)
The good things
Fast paced, challenging, diversity, problem solving
The challenges
Time management, Prioritising, accuracy
3 out of 5Jun 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Diploma practice management
Experience
1 - 4 years
Organisation size
Small (1-19 employees)
The good things
Rewarding seeing peoples smiles improve and being more confident with themselves
The challenges
Long hours and late finishes
5 out of 5Jun 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Bachelor or Oral health
Experience
1 - 4 years
Organisation size
Small (1-19 employees)
The good things
Your doing different procedures through out your day and you build a good relationship with each patient you see. Also this role definitely does help build confidence within yourself.
The challenges
Challenges you may are possibly difficult patients but you do eventually learn how to quickly problem solve the situation
4 out of 5Jun 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Certificate III in dental assisting
Experience
5 - 9 years
Organisation size
Small (1-19 employees)
Specialisation
Dental assistant
The good things
I enjoy the variety in dental assisting. Every day is different. There are also specialised areas so lots of job prospects and opportunities.
The challenges
Depending on where you work the working day can be busy. Breaks are sometimes short as emergencies arise.
4 out of 5Jun 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Certificate 3 in dental assisting
Experience
10+ years
Organisation size
Small (1-19 employees)
The good things
Different situations each day, meeting new and fun customers all the time. Helping our clients feel comfortable and achieving their dental goals. It's a job that is always needed, your never out of w...
The challenges
Really isint to many challenges.
4 out of 5Jun 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Cert 3 dental assisting
Experience
1 - 4 years
Organisation size
Small (1-19 employees)
Specialisation
General
The good things
Great people to work with. Learning new things almost everyday. Hours are great.
The challenges
There are always challenges within a job and I don’t thing dental assisting is hard however dental assisting will help you build confidence
Source: SEEK Role Reviews

What are the job opportunities for Dental Assistants?

Find out how the job market is trending

Job opportunities

Dental Assistant jobs on SEEK
Source: SEEK

Projected job growth

National increase over next 5 years
6.6%
2018
2023
Source: LMIP. Dental Assistants
Latest Dental Assistant jobs on SEEK
Private Advertiser
Rockhampton & Capricorn Coast
Experience required and applicant must hold or be studying towards a Certificate III in dental assisting.
Private Advertiser
Gosford & Central Coast
CASUAL POSITION - WED and THURS (Gosford, Central Coast NSW)
Private Advertiser
Sunshine Coast
- Dental assistant, Caloundra - approx 50 hours per fortnight, casual
Private Advertiser
Sunshine Coast
Love people, constant improvement and the beach? We’re looking for an experienced Dental Assistant to join us on the Sunshine Coast. Apply Now!
Source: SEEK job ads and SEEK Profile data

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