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New York Health Careers

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/ooh/healthcare/dental-assistants.htm

Where Do Dental Assistants Work?

The majority of dental assistants work in dental offices and clinics, while some work in hospital and doctors’ offices. Most dental assistants work full time.

What Do Dental Assistants Earn?

In 2022, the average annual income reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for dental assistants in the United States was $44,710. The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) reports that, in 2023, dental assistants in New York earned a median annual salary of $48,372 (dental assistants in the 25th percentile made approximately $37,914 while those in the 75th percentile made approximately $56,116).

Supply and Demand

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of jobs for dental assistants in the U.S. will increase by 8% between 2021 and 2031. The New York State Department of Labor projects that the number of jobs for dental assistants in the state will increase by 19% between 2020 and 2030. For more information on projections of dental assistants by New York State labor regions, 2018-2028, 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 one year in length and are available at community colleges and local Boards of Cooperative Education (BOCES).

New York Licensure Requirements

Any use of the title “Registered Dental Assistant” within New York State requires licensure.

To be licensed as a registered dental assistant in New York State you must:

  • be at least 17 years of age;
  • meet education requirements; and
  • meet examination requirements.

You must file an application for licensure and the other forms indicated, along with the appropriate fee, to the Office of the Professions at the address specified on each form.  For more information: http://www.op.nysed.gov/professions/registered-dental-assistants/license-requirements

Financial Support

The American Student Dental Association (ASDA) has a list of scholarships available for students. See their website: http://www.asdanet.org/index/dental-student-resources/scholarships-and-repayment-plans/scholarships.

The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) also has scholarship, awards, and fellowship information: See this page on their website.

The American Dental Assisting Association (ADAA) also has a foundation that offers awards. http://www.dentalassistant.org/?page=ADAAFoundation

Education Programs in New York (subject to change)

Educational Opportunity Center University at Buffalo

555 Ellicott St.
Buffalo, NY 14203
(716) 645-9555

Access Careers
474 Fulton Ave
Hempstead, NY 11550
(516) 433-0034
1930 Veterans Hwy
Islandia, NY 11749
(631) 630-9410
Hudson Valley Community College
80 Vanderburgh Avenue
Troy, NY 12180
(518) 629-4822
Mandl School
The College of Allied Health
254 W 54th Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 247-3434
Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES
Rochester Technology Path
160 Wallace Way
Rochester, NY 14624
(585) 349-9100
Monroe Community College
1000 East Henrietta Road
Rochester, NY 14623
(585) 292-2000
Nassau BOCES
Barry Career & Technical Educ Center
1196 Prospect Avenue
Westbury, NY 11590
(516) 622-6800
New York School for Medical & Dental Assistants
33-10 Queens Boulevard
Long Island City, NY 11101
(718) 793-2330
Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES
4500 Crown Road
Liverpool, NY 13090
(315) 453-4455
Center for Instruction Tech
& Innovation (Citi)
Oswego County BOCES
179 County Route 64
Mexico, NY 13114
(315) 963-4251
Greater Southern Tier BOCES
Schuyler-Steuben-Chemung-Tioga-Allegany Counties
459 Philo Road
Elmira, NY 14903
(607) 739-3581
Stony Brook University
School of Dental Medicine
South Drive
Stony Brook, NY 11794
(631) 632-8989
St. Paul’s School of Nursing
Corporate Commons Two
2 Teleport Drive
Staten Island, NY 10311
(718) 818-6470
Westchester School for Dental Assistants
242 Central Avenue
White Plains, NY 10606
(914) 682-9001
Cattaraugus-Allegany-Erie-Wyoming BOCES
1825 Windfall Rd
Olean, NY 14760
(716) 376-8200
SUNY Erie Community College
6205 Main Street
Williamsville, NY 14221
(716) 851-1322
Plaza College
118-33 Queens Blvd
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 779-1430

Additional Web Links:

The American Dental Assistants Association

The New York State Dental Association

New York State Dental Foundation

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