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Medical Assistant vs. Dental Assistant: What’s Best for Me?

The healthcare industry is an enticing field of work to get into. Two positions, a medical assistant and a dental assistant attract many soon-to-be professionals for various reasons. Both professionals play key roles in their respective places of work. These two roles have many similarities, but they also have some stark differences.

The Necessary Education

Understanding the required education plays a big part in choosing your profession. The necessary education changes from state to state, so it is important that career seekers are aware of what their state requires. A dental assistant typically undergoes a year-long, sometimes up to two-year-long, program that’s accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Alternatively, some states allow prospective dental assistants to forgo education and get accredited via two years of on-the-job training.

Medical assistants who choose education undergo a nine to twelve-month long program. This program must be accredited via the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. Similar to dental assistants, some states allow individuals to skip formal education and receive on-the-job training instead.

Places of Work

Dental Assistant

· Private dental clinics

· Hospitals

· Private health clinics

· Group practices

Medical Assistant

· Physician Offices

· Private Hospitals

· Public Hospitals

· Outpatient Care Facilities

· Chiropractic Offices

Job Outlook and Compensation

Dental Assistant

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2018 to 2028, there is an expected 11% growth in employment for dental assistants. The average pay in May of 2019 was $40,080 per year for dental assistants, whereas the top 10% of professionals made over $56,930 per year.

Medical Assistant

The same group expects to see a 23% growth in medical assistants from 2018 to 2028. In May of 2019, medical assistants made $39,810 per year on average. The top 10% of the field earned more than $48,000 per year.

The Main Responsibilities

Both positions play a support type role. Each gives patient care directly and indirectly. Within each field, various professionals may find their responsibilities and roles vary as supervising doctors may desire different functions. In general, each position plays an important part in supporting the daily operations of their office. Both professionals may supervise and update medical records, greet patients, manage schedules, and more.

Bottom Line

As you can see, the duties and roles are similar. They both require on the job training or education. Each position received similar salaries and has a positive job outlook. The decision on which career path to pursue depends on each individual and their overall interest in dental vs medical.

If you are pursuing a career as a Dental Assistant or Medical Assistant, Stynt is here to help. We feature a large job marketplace, connecting employers and freelance workers together. You can fill out our form or download our app!


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