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Dental Receptionist Course and Class Descriptions

Dental receptionists handle various administrative tasks at the front desk of a dental office. Courses for aspiring dental receptionists are normally taken as part of a full certificate program.

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Essential Information

Many dental receptionists are trained on the job, while some complete a dental receptionist certificate program at a technical or community college. Certificate programs normally take a year or less and can be completed through on-campus or online study. They include both general administrative courses and dental-office specific courses, and medical and dental receptionist courses are sometimes combined. Some programs also include first aid and CPR training courses that prepare students for certification.

Dental receptionist certificate programs provide students with the skills needed to deal with insurance, handle medical records and interact with patients on the phone and in person. Students are instructed in dental terminology to learn the terms needed to file insurance paperwork, and they learn about medical law and ethics to ensure that they follow the right procedures for patient privacy.

A course in health and safety may be included to teach procedures for preventing the exposure to diseases and disposing of hazardous materials properly. These programs also include administrative courses that teach students basic accounting and billing practices and teach them to set appointments, use phone systems and manage the inventory in a dental office.

List of Dental Receptionist Courses

Some descriptions of courses in a dental receptionist certificate program are shown below.

Dental Terminology Course

Dental receptionists learn terms related to dental procedures and common dental ailments in this class. Pronunciations, definitions and usage of dental terms are reviewed so that receptionists can learn to accurately relay dental information to dentists, patients and insurance companies. This is one of the first required courses dental receptionist students take.

Public Relations for Dental Offices Course

A receptionist is often the first person a patient sees in a medical and dental office. Because of this, students take a course on the public relations skills needed for effective communication with patients and dental staff. Professionalism is stressed. This course may be completed in the second semester of a 2-semester program.

Dental Office Management Course

This course includes an overview of roles and responsibilities of employees in a dental office, including the dentist, hygienist, dental receptionist and other office staff. Administrative procedures may be covered in this course. Students learn to use dental appointment software and phone systems. Proper management of dental records, insurance claims and inventory are also covered.

Dental Office Accounting and Billing Course

Students learn the basics of billing dental patients in this course. Subjects covered include dental insurance, billing codes and reimbursement processes. General bookkeeping skills for dental offices are part of this required course.

Health and Safety in a Dental Office Course

Some dental receptionist programs incorporate mandatory health and safety training. In this course, receptionists are instructed on the proper disposal of hazardous materials. They also learn how to avoid exposure to blood-borne diseases. This course may be completed at the end of the program.

Law and Ethics for Dental Receptionists Course

Dental office staff must abide by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, better known as HIPAA. After completing this course, students should understand the privacy regulations incorporated in this act and procedures dental offices use to ensure the privacy of patient dental records. This is a required course that may be one of the last courses taken in a dental receptionist certificate program.

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