We compare the two professions to see which offers a higher salary, better job prospects, and more opportunity for career advancement.
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The job outlook for both medical assistants and dental assistants is good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for medical assistants will grow by 29 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment for dental assistants is projected to grow by 11 percent during the same time period.
There is a big difference in salary between medical assistants and dental assistants. Dental assistants make more money, on average.
Education and Training
Medical assistants and dental assistants perform many of the same tasks, but there are some important differences between the two professions. Medical assistants usually have more formal education and training, while dental assistants typically have more on-the-job training.
Medical assistants usually have at least a certificate or diploma from an accredited medical assistant program. Many medical assistants also have an associate degree. Dental assistants typically have a high school diploma or equivalent, and they must complete an accredited dental assistant program.
Both medical assistants and dental assistants must pass a certification exam to be eligible for employment. Medical assistants can become certified through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), while dental assistants can become certified through the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
While both medical and dental assistants perform many of the same basic duties, there are some important differences between the two professions. Medical assistants typically have more contact with patients than dental assistants, and they may perform a wider range of clinical tasks. Dental assistants, on the other hand, typically receive more training in dental procedures and may work more closely with dentists during procedures.
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While a medical assistant’s job duties may be similar to a dental assistant’s job duties, there are some key differences between the two professions. Medical assistants typically work in doctor’s offices, hospitals and clinics, while dental assistants usually work in dental offices.
Both medical assistants and dental assistants should be proficient in basic office duties, such as filing and answering phones. However, dental assistants also must be able to take X-rays and process dental insurance forms. Medical assistants may be responsible for handling billing and insurance claims forms.
Dental assistants usually work chair-side with dentists during procedures, while medical assistants typically work with patients before and after they see the doctor. Dental assistants also may be responsible for ordering supplies and sterilizing equipment.
The work schedule for a medical assistant is usually regular business hours, Monday through Friday. Dental assistants may work evenings or weekends to accommodate patients’ schedules.
Pros and Cons
There are pros and cons to both medical and dental assisting careers. Here are some things to consider when making your decision:
Medical assistants typically earn slightly less than dental assistants, but they also have less schooling requirements. Medical assistants typically need to complete a one-year accredited program, while dental assistants usually need to complete a two-year accredited program.
Medical assistants often have more opportunity for career advancement than dental assistants. With additional training, medical assistants can become registered nurses, while dental assistants can advance to office managers or lab technicians.
Dental assistants typically have more patient contact than medical assistants. If you enjoy working with patients and helping them feel comfortable, then a career as a dental assistant may be more rewarding for you.
Both medical and dental assisting are important roles in the healthcare industry. Ultimately, the decision of which career to pursue should be based on your interests, skills, and goals.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, both medical assistants and dental assistants ranked highly in job satisfaction. In fact, both career paths ranked in the top 18 of all occupations in terms of job satisfaction.
Both medical assistants and dental assistants can expect to find work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, private practices and more. And while both career paths offer opportunities for advancement, dental assistants may find it easier to move up the ladder in their field than medical assistants.
Medical assistants and dental assistants are both important members of the healthcare team. They perform many of the same duties, such as taking medical histories, scheduled appointments, billing and coding, and providing patient education. However, there are some important differences between these two career paths.
Advancement opportunities is one area where medical assistants and dental assistants differ. Dental assistants can advance to become dental hygienists, while medical assistants may advance to become medical office managers or medical billing and coding specialists. In terms of salary, dental hygienists earn a median salary of $76,220 per year, while medical office managers earn a median salary of $96,540 per year.
Another area of difference is the required level of education. Most dental assistants have completed a one-year accredited dental assisting program, while medical assistants typically have completed a two-year accredited medical assisting program. In terms of job outlook, both career paths are growing at a rate of about 23% through 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
So what pays more – medical assistant or dental assistant? In general, dental assistants earn slightly more than medical assistants. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for dental assistants was $38,660 in 2019, while the median annual salary for medical assistants was $34,800.
Dental assistants in the following states earn the highest median wage in the nation: Alaska, California, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Oregon. These states also have a higher cost of living. The lowest paying states for dental assistants are Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, and South Dakota. On average, dental assistants in these states earn less than $33,000 per year.
There are many differences between medical assistants and dental assistants. The main difference is in the type of patients they see and the duties they perform. Medical assistants usually work in clinics or doctor’s offices, while dental assistants usually work in dental offices.
Medical assistants usually have more contact with patients than dental assistants. They may take patient histories, measure vital signs, give injections, and assist with minor office surgery. Dental assistants usually prepare patients for dental procedures, take X-rays, and help the dentist during procedures.
Medical assistants typically need to complete a postsecondary education program of about one year, while dental assistants usually need to complete a shorter training program of about nine months. Both medical and dental assistants must pass a certification exam to be eligible for employment.
While both Medical Assistants and Dental Assistants play vital roles in their respective fields, there are some key differences between the two positions. Medical Assistants generally have more contact with patients, while Dental Assistants typically perform more clinical tasks such as taking X-rays and preparing patients for procedures. Medical Assistants also typically need to complete a longer postsecondary education program than Dental Assistants.