Dental Assistants

What Do Dental Assistants Do?

Dental assistants perform a wide array of clinical and administrative duties under the supervision of a dentist. They assist the dentist during dental examinations and treatments, such as preparing the patient, taking x-rays, sterilizing instruments, assisting with instruments and materials, and instructing patients about general and post-operative oral health care. Dental assistants may also have administrative duties, including scheduling appointments, maintaining patient files, and billing for services.

In general, dental assistants’ duties vary by state and by the dentists’ offices where they work. In some states, dental assistants may do additional training and be registered, certified, or called “extended function” dental assistants. The scope of practice for these dental assistants, defined by the state in which they practice, tends to be broader and more complex. In New York, dental assistants have the option to be certified and if so, they have a broader scope of practice than those dental assistants who are not certified. Certified dental assistants in New York are allowed to take preliminary medical histories and vital signs that must be reviewed by the supervising dentist, select and pre-fit provisional crowns and orthodontic bands, take impressions for study casts or diagnostic casts, and remove periodontal dressings.

For more information, visit: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos163.htm

Where Do Dental Assistants Work?

Most dental assistants work in dental offices and clinics, while some work in hospital and doctors’ offices. More than half of dental assistants work full time.

What Do Dental Assistants Earn?

In May 2011, the median annual income for dental assistants in New York was $34,700, nearly the same as the national median annual income for dental assistants ($34,200).

Supply and Demand

Between 2010 and 2020, the BLS projects the number of dental assistant jobs will increase by 31% nationwide and by 24% in New York during the same time period. For more information on projections of dental assistants by New York State labor regions, click here.

New York Education Requirements

In New York, dental assistants who are not certified may be hired into an entry level dental assistant position and receive on-the-job training.

To be a certified dental assistant in New York, an individual must complete a dental assistant education program approved by the New York State Education Department or an alternate course of study that is considered equivalent to an approved program. These programs are typically a year in length and are available at community colleges and local Boards of Cooperative Education (BOCES).

New York Licensure Requirements

In order to be certified as a dental assistant in New York, an individual must be 17 years of age, complete an educational program as described above, and pass a national dental assistant examination administered by the Dental Assisting National Board. For more information: http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/dent/dentcdalic.htm

Financial Support

The American Dental Association offers scholarships to students. For more information: http://www.ada.org/2904.aspx

The American Dental Assistants Association also offers awards. For more information: http://www.dentalassistant.org/Content/Details/StudentAwardScholarship

Education Programs in New York (subject to change)

Cattaraugus-Allegany-Erie-Wyoming BOCES
1825 Windfall Road
Olean, NY 14760
(716) 376-8268
Columbia University
Medical Center

630 West 168th Street
PH-132, Box 62
New York, NY 10032
(212) 305-8060 or (212) 305-3573
Dutchess Community College
53 Pendell Road
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601-1595
(845) 431-8000
Educational Opportunity Center, University at Buffalo, State University of New York
465 Washington Street
Buffalo, NY 14203-1707
(716) 849-6727, ext. 500
Hudson Valley Community College
Fitzgibbons Hall, Room 157
80 Vanderburgh Avenue
Troy, NY 12180
(518) 629-7442 or (518) 629-HVCC (4822)
Mandl School
The College of Allied Health
254 W 54th Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 247-3434
Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES
Center for Workforce Development
3589 Big Ridge Road
Spencerport, NY 14559
(585) 349-9100 
Monroe Community College
Brighton Campus
1000 East Henrietta Road
Rochester, NY 14623
(585) 292-2000
Nassau BOCES
Barry Career and Technical Education Center
1196 Prospect Avenue
Westbury, NY 11590
(516) 622-6950
New York School for Medical and Dental Assistants
33-10 Queens Boulevard
Long Island City, NY 11101-2327
(718) 793-2330
Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES
Career Training Center
4500 Crown Road
Liverpool, NY 13090
(315) 453.4455 or (315) 453-1349
Oswego County BOCES
179 County Route 64
Mexico, NY 13114
(315) 963-4256 or (315) 963-4251
Greater Southern Tier – GST BOCES
Schuyler-Chemung-Tioga Counties
Bush Campus, Bldg. 12
459 Philo Road
Elmira, NY 14903
(607) 739-3581 ext. 1618
Stony Brook University Medical Center
State University of New York

School of Dental Medicine
164B Rockland Hall
Stony Brook, NY 11794-8700
(631) 632-6296
Ulster County BOCES
175 Route 32 North
New Paltz, NY 12561
(845) 331-5050
Eastern Suffolk Boces
Brookhaven Technical Center
350 Martha Avenue
Bellport, New York 11713
(631) 286-6585
Erie Community College
State University of New York
North Campus
6205 Main Street
Williamsville, New York 14221
(716) 851.1ECC (851-1322)
(716) 851.1002
St. Paul’s School of Nursing
Corporate Commons Two 
2 Teleport Drive
Suite 203
Staten Island, NY 10311
(718) 818-6470

Additional Web Links:

The American Dental Assistants Association: http://www.dentalassistant.org/home