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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

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
11 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 have:

  • 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

3 out of 5Jun 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Certificate 3 dental assistant
Experience
1 - 4 years
Organisation size
Small (1-19 employees)
Specialisation
General dentistry
The good things
Patient diversity, seeing nervous patients succeeding in getting their dental treatment, cosmetic debtristy and having patients feeling confident with their smile and general dental health
The challenges
-rude dentists - busy day work - no communication between staff - long hours
4 out of 5Jun 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
CERT 3 DENTAL ASSISTING
Experience
10+ years
Organisation size
Medium (20-199 employees)
The good things
Part of a Team. The day of those you interact with in your day would not be the same if you were not there. Your presence makes a difference & influences the experience the patients have durinb their ...
The challenges
Personalities - you work in a close knit team & if you dont work well with those in your team that is a challenge as you work very closely with them all day. Some days can be emotional with phobic pat...
5 out of 5Jun 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Certificate 4 Dental Assistant
Experience
1 - 4 years
Organisation size
Small (1-19 employees)
The good things
The learning never stops as you need to update your knowledge as products and equipment upgrade. The satisfaction of helping and educating people is great. There is no day that is the same as another ...
The challenges
It can get a little frustrating when educating some people. It can take a few times for them to get it right. Seeing the level of decay within children is getting worse, and it’s also frustrating and ...
5 out of 5Jun 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Cert III
Experience
10+ years
Organisation size
Small (1-19 employees)
Specialisation
Preadiatric
The good things
If you like a challenge and fast pace Dental Assisting is good.
The challenges
An eye for detail and time management are very important.
5 out of 5Jun 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Diploma in Nursing
Experience
10+ years
Organisation size
Small (1-19 employees)
The good things
Interesting Restoration of teeth
The challenges
To make comfortable a patient who is intense
2 out of 5Jun 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Certificate 3 in dental assisting
Experience
5 - 9 years
Organisation size
Small (1-19 employees)
The good things
Helping people everyday overcome their dental fears and seeing the smile on their face when we fix their teeth
The challenges
It’s a very fast pace working environment with lots of responsibilities. There are a lot of things to remember. A lot of care needs to go into infection control so the instruments are cleaned to the ...
4 out of 5Jun 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Certificate 3
Experience
5 - 9 years
Organisation size
Small (1-19 employees)
Specialisation
Dental Assistant
The good things
The good things about my role is that I love to help people and assisting. The satisfaction that I feel is undescribable. To see that they are out of pain or even when the treatment is done to see a s...
The challenges
There are always challenges in dental assisting with patient treatments. I find these challenges challenging as it opens your way of working and thinking.
3 out of 5Jun 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Bachelor of Dental Surgery
Experience
1 - 4 years
Organisation size
Small (1-19 employees)
The good things
Quick and easy to learn and grasp the things around. Love to be around patients . Comforting them around the clinic is the best part.
The challenges
Assisting different dentists with different style of work.
4 out of 5Jun 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Doctor of dental medicine
Experience
1 - 4 years
Organisation size
Large (200+ employees)
Specialisation
Pediatric dentistry
The good things
Dealing with children is sometimes challenging but the happiness I get is fulfilling and satisfiying
The challenges
The responsibility as dental assistant 1 is a lot of hard work but giving your full attention to the job gives you the fulfillment and gives me happiness in doing so
5 out of 5Jun 2018
Reviewer's Qualification
Certificate 3 dental assisting
Experience
1 - 4 years
Organisation size
Small (1-19 employees)
The good things
Dental assisting is a great career no Day is the same and you are always learning something new everyday. It is such a good feeling making patients feel good about them selves and comforting those who...
The challenges
Dental assisting can be challenging at times , you have time frames you have to meet and make sure that things are running as smoothly as they possibly can. We are there to support the dentist and mak...
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
Melbourne Implant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Melbourne > Eastern Suburbs
Part-Time Oral Surgery Assistant/Dental Nurse for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon.
DR S BARFORD P/L
Sydney > North Shore & Northern Beaches
Experienced dental assistant. Must be team player for our modern, friendly, family dental surgery.
Smile Central
Brisbane > CBD & Inner Suburbs
We are looking for an experienced dental assistant to join our small dynamic team at Smile Central.
Company logo
Alexander & Associates
Adelaide
Dental Assistant / Receptionist required for part time 25 - 35hrs PW
Source: SEEK job ads and SEEK Profile data

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Source: SEEK job ads and SEEK Profile data