Dental Office Administration May Just Be The Career For You
Are you considering career options and ready to try something new? Maybe you are looking to level up your job opportunities but do not want to invest too much time and money into a long program of study. There are other options available, and if you haven’t considered dental office administration before, here are five good reasons why you should.
5 Reasons to Consider Dental Office Administration
Workers in health care and human service agencies in Alberta report less unemployment and higher wages than average. While wages can vary according to the workplace, on average the salary for a dental office administrator is between $23,712 and $57,304 or up to $30 per hour according to Jobbank.ca. This salary can provide with sustainable wages to meet and exceed your living expenses.
- Employment Outlook
Professions that support any health and medical fields have better than average prospects for long term employment. These fields have been experiencing higher demand and are always looking for workers. As long as dental care is needed, and it will always be needed, there will be a need for a dental office administrator.
- Varied Environments
Work settings are not limited to small dental offices. Dental administrators are needed in private practices, hospitals, clinics, dental care facilities and insurance companies. This means that you can seek out the kind of dental services environment that you prefer, working with many staff or just a few. You will be able to select the environment you like best, whether that is a hospital or corporate setting or a small and family-oriented office.
- Leadership Opportunities
As a dental administrator, in addition to running the day-to-day operations of the practice or facility, you will likely be supervising staff as well. This experience will develop your leadership skills. Additionally, you will feel great satisfaction from being trusted with this leadership role as dental office administrators serve as leaders in their groups, and doctors often rely on the skills and services they bring.
- Short Training Period
You may know that you’d like to work in the medical field, and you like working with people, but don’t necessarily want to go to years of schooling to become a dentist or medical doctor. You can be working in a dental environment in under a year by becoming a dental office administrator.
What Does a Dental Administrator Actually Do?
The duties of a dental administrator vary depending on the particular environment, but these seven dental administration tasks are common to most practices.
- Payroll Management
Dental administrators are often in charge of completing the tasks needed to provide payroll to staff. This means calculating (usually with computer software) each staff member’s wages and having those payroll checks issued as well as handling issues related to payroll such as benefits, calculation of paid time off, and more. This is an important competency that can be transferred to many different positions.
Dental Administrators are often relied on for managing the office or department’s budget and will be responsible for tracking inventory, ordering supplies, paying vendors, collecting accounts receivable and resolving credit and other disputes. They will track expenses and income and communicate financial issues effectively.
- Medical Billing
Medical billing and working with insurance companies to get patient’s medical bills paid will likely be a big part of your role. You will review insurance policies, submit claims, and speak with insurance companies to resolve issues. You will also determine what co-pays may be from the patient.
Often dental administrators are responsible for scheduling patient appointments and maintaining the office calendar. This is an important function as it is the foundation for the smooth day to day operation of the office. With a well-managed system, patients will be satisfied at not having to wait long periods of time for their appointments and staff will be happy to not have irate patients being treated.
- Patient Charts
You will likely be updating and preparing patient charts for the dentist including using specialized dental software to enter patient information as well as handling requests for copies of records. You will be reviewing the organization of charts and ensuring they are complete.
- Supervising Staff
As the dental administrator you will likely be supervising staff and providing training opportunities and guidance to them on office operations. You will need a calm and positive demeanor and hopefully be able to enjoy good relationships with staff.
- Customer Service
As a dental administrator you will be the “face” of the office and both patients and staff will look to you to resolve any issues or disputes that come up including dental emergencies and issues with billing. In this role it is important to have good customer service and maintain professionalism at all times.
What Kind of Skills Do You Need?
You may be wondering if your skills are well suited for the role of a dental administrator. The truth is that if you are skilled in the following three areas, chances are good you would make an excellent dental administrator.
- Organization/Time Management
Being well-organized is essential for being an effective dental office administrator. You will be juggling various tasks, often at the same time, including scheduling patient appointments, updating records, speaking with patients and insurance companies to resolve issues, and managing staff. Therefore, it is important that you be able to manage these tasks and complete them efficiently and in a timely manner.
- Customer Service
Having a patient-focused mindset and good customer service skills are critical skills for dental office administrators. You should be able to consider the patient’s needs above most other needs and convey to them a sense of understanding and compassion when working with them. Patients that feel supported will trust you with their issues.
- Critical Thinking and Decision-Making Skills
There will be many times when you are called upon to make decisions without much time, requiring you to think quickly on your feet. These include dental emergencies, shortage of staff, irate patients, and illness in the office. You should possess a calm demeanor and a confidence as well as a firm grasp of the issues so that you can make such decisions.
What Kind of Training Do You Need?
In most dental administrator positions you will need at least a high school diploma and many offices will require certification from a college or university program. Hiring officers seek out those with this kind of specialized certification because they know that when an applicant has gone through a dental administrator certification program, they are equipped with the particular skills needed in the role and will need minimal training to get up to speed. In essence they will “hit the ground running”.
Which Program is Right For You?
While there are other dental office administration programs available to you, the certification in Dental Office Administration offered by Alberta Business & Educational Services (ABES) is one of the best for providing the training, education and network opportunities in the region.
ABES, established in 1991 in Calgary, provides an educational environment in that gives adult learners the training and support needed to enter the workforce, upgrade their skills, or get certified in many different areas.
ABES has provided training in more than 50 program areas during its nearly 30 years of operation and currently offers a variety of health care and medical school training programs. The ABES Dental Office Administrators program enables individuals to learn the skills needed for a successful career in this field including:
- Dental Software Use
- Patient Chart Practices
- Customer Service
- Hands-on training
- Coping with Emergencies
- Special Needs Patients
Is There Financial Aid Available?
Yes, more than likely, as 95% of our applicants qualify for financial aid and this includes free grants. Even those with a higher income will usually qualify for some aid. Financial ability should not be the reason you do not enroll in this program, so contact us to discuss your particular needs.
ABES is a small, privately owned school that provides not only traditional instruction but also places a priority on hands-on training. This means that in addition to learning in our labs, students will complete a practicum in the Calgary area. Employers look for students with hands-on skills, and our students are often hired during their Practicum experience. Additionally, ABES has a long history of partnering with the medical community and this is of great assistance in offering employment opportunities to our graduates. Finally, ABES offers career placement services to our students so that they may enter the workforce as soon as possible after completing the program.