Dental Receptionist Job Information & Duties

Dental receptionists are an essential part of any dentist's office. Learn about the skills and education required for a career in this field. See salary information and career data, and explore related job options.

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Career Information

A dental receptionist is responsible for greeting and assisting patients the moment they enter a dental office. Receptionists make appointments for patients and maintain their accounts. They help coordinate the dentist's schedule and bill patients and their insurance companies. Receptionists also monitor a visitor's access to the office and collect mail. Most dental receptionists use a computerized filing system to organize patient records and keep them updated.

Become a Dental Receptionist

Required Education

There are no postsecondary educational requirements to become a dental receptionist. Most people who enter this field have a high school diploma or GED, and on-the-job training is usually the preferred method of preparing new hires for the job. A certificate or associate's degree program in office administration, medical administration, or a related field can be beneficial, especially a program that includes training in word processing software, spreadsheets and other office applications.

Job Skills

A dental receptionist needs to know how to use typical office equipment, such as telephones, computers, fax machines, and scanners. Receptionists also need to have impeccable office manners and interpersonal skills. Dental receptionists interact with patients everyday and, as a result, need to maintain a professional and friendly disposition with them at all times.

Career and Economic Outlook

With the popularity of cosmetic dentistry continuing to increase, the demand for dental professionals, including dental receptionists, is going to continue to rise. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all receptionists, including those who work in dental offices, will see growth in the field of about 24% from 2010-2020. The mean annual wages of receptionists and information clerks in May 2012 was $27,050. Those working in dental offices had mean salaries of $31,350 in the same year.

Alternative Career Options

Dental Assistant

Not only do dental assistants work alongside dentists in surgeries and routine dental maintenance procedures, but they may schedule appointments and organize dental records. Depending on state requirements, dental assistants may need to complete an accredited program and obtain state licensure. Employment growth was predicted to reach 31% from 2010 to 2020, according to the BLS. As of May 2012, the average income was $35,080 per year, based on BLS data.

Medical Assistant

Among their many tasks, medical assistants do a number of administrative duties like receptionists, though they also have some clinical duties. Learning is usually conducted on the job, and a high school diploma is required. For the BLS' 2010-2020 projection period, medical assistants were expected to have a 31% rise in employment. They earned an average salary of $30,550 in 2012.

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