The end of the year and the beginning of a new one are often times for self-reflection, and for setting (and hopefully sticking to) both short- and long-term goals.

For some dental assistants, this may mean identifying any changes you could make in your professional life. Sometimes, switching dental offices or dental assistant jobs can lead to better job satisfaction, a chance to learn and try new things, a higher income, a better work-life balance, or maybe all the above.

How can you tell whether it’s time to start searching for the next dental assisting opportunity? Often, there are some clear signs. Here, we outline a few to help you determine whether it’s time to make a job change in 2019. Read on!

You Feel Unsatisfied

It can be normal to feel like you’re caught up in the daily grind every now and again. However, if you’re always dreading the workweek or continually watching the clock for your dental assistant shift to end, it may be time to consider whether you’re working for the wrong dental office. After all, everyone deserves to feel job satisfaction.

For some, job satisfaction can all come down to feeling challenged and not bored. Amelia B. sought to shake things up in her dental assistant role, and her employers were happy to help her grow professionally. Sometimes requesting mentorship or more tasks to take on can make all the difference. “Now, I look forward to working — every day is challenging,” Amelia says. “I love it.”

You’re Yearning for Career Growth

It’s true that growing in your career is extremely important, but not all dental assistants feel as if they have the opportunity to do so. However, some say their employer connects them to dental continuing education (CE) opportunities. This can play a big role in keeping employees engaged at work and excited about their professional future with the practice. Dentists and dental office managers agree that CE is important for dental assistants to thrive in the dental office. If you feel as if you’re not learning in your role, this may be a sign it’s time to search for a new position.

“Expanding my dental knowledge is key for me to have a successful career in dentistry,” says Megan T.

You Feel Underpaid

While some assistants have said they feel well paid for the work they do, others have lamented their dental assistant salary seems to be low. Often, higher income follows career growth. So, if you feel as if you’re not climbing the career ladder like you would like to, you may want to consider searching for a role in which you can take on more dental assistant duties. For example, you may wish to look into becoming an EFDA in your state. You can look up the dental assisting career ladder in your state by visiting DANB’s search-by-state map. You may also wish to consider earning national DANB certification, which offers a variety of personal and professional benefits.

“There are good doctors out there who are willing to pay more to keep the ‘good’ employees,” reassures Kal M.

You Experience Team Conflict

Whether or not you “click” with your dentist or dental teammates often can make or break your work experience. Some dental assistants have reported feeling underappreciated at work. Others have said they sometimes feel like “just” a dental assistant in the dental office.

Do you ever feel this way, or as if teamwork seems to be lacking in your office? These can be signs that maybe you haven’t yet found the right employment fit for you.

“I’ve worked with dentists who are amazing,” shares Amy A. “Don’t stay somewhere where you are not appreciated. I did it for far too long, and I wish I hadn’t.”


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