Why do some dental assistants love their careers while others look at dental assisting as just a job? Why do some dental assistants stay in the profession for decades while others leave after a few years? Each person may have a different answer and his or her own personal reasons for making particular career choices. However, the 2016 dental assistant salary survey from the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. (DANB) points to some reasons that may explain why some love their careers while others are looking for the next best thing.


Motivated to Excel

One of the keys to career satisfaction is to be actively engaged with your work. For dental assistants, that means looking for new challenges and opportunities. One way to continue to grow in your career is to find ways to take on more responsibilities and improve the dental practice.


“Never stop learning or trying to better yourself. Set goals, find your passion and specialize your continuing education to your passion.” — Marie S., CDA


Committed to Professional Growth

Cultivating your professional growth is another important aspect of career satisfaction. For example, dental assistants who report high career satisfaction often hold credentials, such as state-specific credentials or DANB’s national certification. Learn more about the growth opportunities in your state by visiting DANB’s Search-by-State map.


“Take all the continuing education you can and challenge yourself by obtaining all the certifications and state credentials available. Make yourself a valuable asset to the dental practice.” — Cathy R., CDA, COA, CPFDA


Passionate About Patients

Dental assistants who love their careers love helping patients. One of the things we hear most often from dental assistants is about the satisfaction they feel when a patient has left the dental chair with a smile.


“I love the fact that patients may come in feeling unhappy with their smiles and then after treatment is completed, they are once again smiling.” — Michelle B., CDA


Maintain a Positive Attitude

Loving your career is sometimes about having the right attitude. Every job has its ups and downs. Those who love their work focus on the positive and surround themselves with people who share a similar outlook.


“Having a positive attitude makes for a great experience in the workplace and for the patients. Give each patient and coworker a reason to smile every day and you will see the difference it makes.” — Dana H., CDA


What would you add to the list?