Dental Office Administration Careers: Salary, Job Description & Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed for dental office administration positions. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and skills required to find out if this is the career for you

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Essential Information

Dental office administrators generally perform clerical duties, such as handling phone calls and scheduling appointments, as well as dealing with accounts payable and receivable and insurance claims. They work in dental offices but are not involved in treating patients. A high school diploma is typically required for entry-level positions.

Required Education High school diploma for entry-level positions
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 10% for management positions within a dental office
Median Annual Salary (2014)** $30,400 for dental office receptionists, $45,764 for dental office managers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com.

Salary Information for Dental Office Administrators

Dental office administrators can be salaried, but most are hourly employees, and earnings can vary greatly by position. For example, the majority of dental office receptionists earned between $20,239 and $40,873 a year as of September 2014, according to PayScale.com, while most dental office managers earned between $31,775 and $60,447 annually.

Dental Office Administrator Job Descriptions

Careers in dental office administration might involve marketing, budgeting, personnel management, and, most commonly, general office duties. Many dental office administrators answer phone calls, keep payroll records, schedule appointments, and deal with customer complaints. Their jobs also tend to require typical office tasks like filing, faxing, mailing, and word processing. At the entry-level, employees might to focus on a specific area, such as data entry, but most positions will combine duties from several areas.

Discretion is an important part of many dental office administration jobs since workers generally have access to sensitive patient information, such as financial and insurance records. The highest career option for those working in dental office administration typically is dental office manager. At this level, arranging staff meetings and coordinating office budgets might be among one's responsibilities.

Education Requirements for a Dental Office Administration Career

A high school education is the starting point for consideration for many dental office administration positions. Basic data entry and computer software knowledge can be helpful as well. Additionally, numerous schools offer diploma or certificate programs in dental office administration. The majority of these programs feature courses detailing dental office procedures, terminology, accounting, and office basics, as well as communication and customer service skills. These programs offer a streamlined education that, in some cases, prepares graduates to take voluntary certification tests, such as the Certified Dental Receptionist exam.

Aspiring dental office administrators also might choose to pursue an associate's degree in a business-, dental technology- or healthcare-related field. Often, the more education one has, the better his or her chances for career advancement, such as becoming a dental office manager.

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