These days, the workforce is changing, and some workers are taking on second part-time or temporary jobs for a variety of reasons.
Dental assistants are also part of this trend, and we wanted to hear more about your experiences. Below, we take a closer look at why some dental assistants also work outside the dental office.
1. To Earn More
Perhaps one of the top reasons dental assistants work second jobs is linked to salary. While some dental assistants are content with their salaries, others prefer having a second income stream. This can make all the difference (and can even be a relief), especially for those who say their paycheck doesn’t cover all their expenses. Carly S., CDA, COA, for example, has worked second jobs in the retail and service industries to help make ends meet.
“Dental assisting doesn’t pay enough for you to support yourself, so you have to work two jobs,” Carly believes. “Also, if the doctor is gone or we have days off, we have to supplement that money somehow.”
One assistant, who wishes to remain anonymous, mentioned having a weekend cleaning business for the same reason. “It gives me the extra money I need,” says the assistant, who adds that keeping such a busy schedule is not easy. “I wish I could have the weekends to myself for family time. But I need to work so that I make enough money to financially support myself and my daughter.”
Carly feels working two jobs can be exhausting — especially since she’s a dedicated team member in both her roles. “I always get overworked. My second employer realized that I’m a good worker and tried to give me more shifts. I had to leave my second job.”
For dental assistant Angel R., managing both her roles is doable — and the trick is always staying one step ahead. “I have to utilize my time efficiently,” explains Angel, who also has a second job to earn more income. “There’s no room for procrastination. I enjoy both careers.”
2. To Pursue a Passion
Some dental assistants work second jobs to pursue another passion outside of the dental field, such as photography, baking, crafting or working with animals, to name a few. For example, Kim S., CDA, is interested in someday becoming a singer/songwriter and pursues her dream after the dental assisting workday is done. “I love making music,” Kim says.
Another anonymous assistant is so interested in nutritional therapy that she does this job on the side. “I’m passionate about other things as well as dentistry, and the added income helps,” the assistant says.
3. To Give Back to the Profession
Some dental assistants have second jobs to give back to the profession, by way of educating the next generation of dental assistants. For example, Bonnie B., CDA, works both as a dental assistant and dental assisting instructor at a state university.
“After serving nearly 40 years in my profession, it is important to me to give back to my profession,” Bonnie says.
Some dental assistants also work second jobs to test a new career path before diving in full time. This was the case for Rebecca W., CDA, who began her career as an educator by teaching nighttime dental radiography classes, while also simultaneously working as a dental assistant. “I really liked teaching, so I started going back to school to work on my bachelor’s degree in education,” Rebecca remembers.
4. To Serve the Community
Other dental assistants are motivated to give back to their communities, both in paid and volunteer capacities. For instance, Carolyn B., CDA, has a second role with the Girl Scouts of the USA, which she says is busy but worth it.
“I wanted to give back to the young women in our area,” Carolyn elaborates. “It’s tiring at times to have two roles, but well worth it when I see these young women growing into strong and resourceful leaders of tomorrow.”
Similarly, besides dental assisting, Sharon H. also serves the community as a medical first responder. “I love to help people beyond the dental office,” she says. “It’s so rewarding.”
Do you have a second job? If so, why? Share your experience.