Dental Assistant Resume Examples [+ 3 Samples]

Discover our complete guide and selection of Dental Assistant resume examples to use to create your own resume with our easy-to-use resume builder. Below you'll find our how-to section that will guide you through each section of a Dental Assistant resume.

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Dental Assistant Resume Sample and Template
Registered Dental Assistant Resume Sample and Template
Dental Assistant Resume Sample and Template
Dental Assistant Resume Sample and Template
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Dental Assistant Resume Overview

Looking for dental assistant resume examples? If you have a passion for helping others and public health, you may consider a career as a dental assistant. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that dental assistant careers will grow at an above-average rate of 11% between now and 2030, meaning joining the dental industry as a dental assistant can provide you with an excellent job outlook for the future.

Dental assistants often enjoy stable, full-time employment, good pay, and, of course, the positive feeling of helping others daily. However, if you’re looking to secure a job as a dental assistant, you’ll first have to create a resume that stands out from the rest. Thankfully, the VisualCV team is here to help you every step of the way! This page provides you with Dental Assisant resume samples to use to create your own resume with our easy-to-use resume builder. Read on for dental assistant resume examples to land you your dream job in 2022.

What is a Dental Assistant?

Dental assistants work closely with dentists, both under their supervision and in order to help them provide the best possible dental care to patients. On any given day, a dental assistant may be preparing patients to see the dentist, performing basic procedures under a dentist’s supervision, or supplying and preparing dental instruments to be used during appointments.

Are Dental Assistants and Dental Hygienists the Same?

Dental assistants and dental hygienists share many of the same duties and responsibilities. For example, both dental assistants and hygienists are in charge of preparing instruments and patients for the dentist. They’ll both speak with patients before and after they have been seen by the dentist, and relay any concerns or issues. Some dental practices will have dental hygienists, but not dental assistants. So, does that mean that dental assistants and dental hygienists are the same thing?

No! While both jobs have overlapping responsibilities, dental assistants are responsible for fewer tasks than dental hygienists. Because the education and training requirements for dental assistants is less intensive than that for hygienists, dental assistants are not legally allowed to perform many dental procedures. However, there are two tiers of qualified dental assistants; a Level I Dental Assistant, and a Level II Dental Assistant. A level II assistant has received more training, and thus is able to perform some basic dental procedures under the supervision of a dentist.

So what does a level I dental assistant do? Much like hygienists, level I dental assistants are there to help dentists provide a high level of care to patients. A level I dental assistant’s role in this usually involves administrative or logistical support, rather than medical care or other dental procedures.

Level I dental assistants are trained to:

  • Take x-rays
  • Provide support for patients during procedures
  • Take impressions of patients’ teeth for models
  • Perform dental office management tasks
  • Provide oral care instructions to patients
  • Assisting the dentist and dental hygienist with dental procedures

In order to become a level II dental assistant, you must obtain further education. Level II dental assistants are permitted to perform more technical procedures because they have specific intra-oral training. A level II dental assistant is trained to perform all of the tasks a level I dental assistant performs, as well as:

  • Mechanically polishing the surface of teeth
  • Applying anesthetics and whitening products to teeth
  • Applying materials to teeth to prepare them for other dental procedures
  • Place and remove dental dam caps

Because level II dental assistants have more training and responsibilities, they should expect to earn more in salary than level I dental assistants. However, the upfront costs of becoming a level II dental assistant are more than those associated with level I dental assistants. Consider your own situation and expected career trajectory when deciding whether to embark on additional dental assistant training.

How to Write a Dental Assistant Resume

To write a dental assistant resume, think about your training first and foremost. Whether you’re applying as a new graduate or as someone with years of experience, keep in mind that hiring managers are looking for clear answers to one main question: are you qualified to perform the tasks required of a dental assistant?

In general, your dental assistant resume should contain the following:

  • A summary
  • Your experience
  • Your Education
  • Your skills, including any professional certifications

The Best Format for a Dental Assistant Resume

Because dental assistants need specific training in order to perform the duties of the job, your dental assistant resume should highlight your education and training. If you’re seeking your first dental assistant job, or if you don’t have much other dental assistant experience, you should make sure to clearly state your education, dental assistant level, and any additional certifications you hold. When you select your professionally designed dental assistant resume template with VisualCV, your education, certifications, and experience can take center stage.

3 Dental Assistant Resume Summary Examples

Your summary should be short and to the point. This is the very first thing a recruiter will see, so make sure you’re putting your absolute best foot forward. Highlight your level of experience if you aren’t applying for entry-level positions, or your recent academic accomplishment if you’re a new graduate. Make sure to read the job description carefully and adjust your resume to fit it -- as long as what you’re saying is true, of course! In roles like dental assistants, keep in mind that hiring managers are looking for clear answers to one main question: are you qualified to perform the tasks required of a dental assistant?

Many recruiters and companies now use Applicant Tracking Systems to automate and streamline the recruitment process. While this is a great benefit for companies, some applicants have been met with the frustration of their resumes not ever being seen by a real person -- if the resume doesn’t get past the ATS software, it’s usually discarded. Thankfully, VisualCV’s resume templates have been specifically designed to beat applicant tracking systems, making your dental assistant resume much more likely to make it in front of the right person.

The Wrong Way to Write a Dental Assistant Resume Summary

Your summary shouldn’t be too wordy or personal – that’s what your cover letter is for! This first step in your dental assistant resume exists to give hiring managers a brief glimpse into your personality and experience. Not all hiring managers agree that a resume summary is necessary, but if your resume summary is clear, to the point, and hones in on what the job description is asking for, include it!

Don’t: Hi! My name is Jane Smith, and I’ve always wanted to be a dental assistant. That’s why I became certified as a Level II Dental Assistant! At school, I gained experience in radiographs, mechanical polishing, and dental modelling – but I definitely preferred polishing over modelling! I hope you’ll consider me for this dental assistant job.

Dental Assistant Resume Summary Sample

Recent graduate Certified Level II Dental Assistant with experience in radiographs, dental modelling, and mechanical polishing. I’m looking for the first step in my dental assistant career, and I can’t wait to get started!

Professional Summary for a Dental Assistant

Certified Level II Dental Assistant and Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant with 10 years of experience working with disabled and special-needs patients.

Dental Assistant Resume Summary Example

Registered Dental Assistant in the state of California with 3 years of office experience. Areas of expertise include dental modelling and orthodontics (Certified Orthodontic Assistant).

Do You Need a Dental Assistant Resume Objective?

Many people think resume objectives are a requirement for each and every dental assistant resume they write. However, dental assistant resume objectives are only recommended for people looking to transition into a new role, or for people looking for an entry-level dental assistant position.

Dental Assistant Resume Objective Example

Certified dental assistant seeking to use my experience as a dental office administrator to transition into a dental assisting role.

How to Describe Your Experience On Your Dental Assistant Resume

This is where you can really start bragging. Alison Green, author of Ask a Manager, highlights the single biggest resume mistake she saw in her time as a hiring manager: “Writing a resume that reads like a series of job descriptions.”

“The bullet points they use to describe what they did for each job just list activities and read like a job description for the role might,” she says. “For example, ‘edit documents,’ ‘collect data,’ or ‘manage website.’”

While writing the experience section of your dental assistant resume, focus on what you accomplished at each position.

Level I Dental Assistant, KidzSmilez Dentistry | 2018-2020

  • Set-up and executed upwards of 20 dental x-rays per shift
  • Created new emotional support protocols for nervous patients and patients under the age of five
  • Gathered, organized, and prepared dental instruments for 40-50 dental procedures per day

A hiring manager will be looking for the facts. What did you do at your previous jobs that made you stand out? For which projects did you receive the most praise? Providing tangible facts shows hiring managers that you have the potential to do the same at your next job.

A Bad Dental Assistant Job Description on a Resume

Consider the following entry.

Level I Dental Assistant, KidzSmilez Dentistry | 2018-2020

  • Performed x-rays
  • Provided patient support
  • Prepared dental instruments

This entry focuses on responsibilities you had at a previous job, but doesn’t describe what you achieved there. Hiring managers will likely already understand the types of tasks you performed at previous jobs. Your goal is to show them how good you are at performing those tasks!

How to List Skills on Your Dental Assistant Resume

What skills should you include on a dental assistant resume? While you should always try and list the skills that the job posting is asking for, there are some skills that come with the territory of being a dental assistant. Looking for more information about adding skills to your resume? Check out our resume skills guide here.

Professional Certifications to List on Your Dental Assistant Resume

When you’re considering a job in a medical or medical-adjacent field, certifications become the most important aspect of your resume. Hiring managers (and your future patients!) want to know just one thing: are you theoretically and practically trained to perform the duties listed in the job description?

Hard Skills for Dental AssistantsSoft Skills for Dental Assistants
Patient CareCommunication
4-Handed DentistryCompassion
Digital X-Ray SkillsOrganization
Dental Equipment OperationMotivation
CPRTeamwork
Dental Procedure Preparation and DocumentationCustomer Service
Regulation ComplianceActive Listening
Record KeepingEfficiency
Payment ProcessingInterpersonal Skills

Once you’ve completed basic dental assistant training, you’ll have opportunities to become further qualified in your field. These additional certifications can lead to more lucrative positions as a dental assistant, with further responsibilities. However, make sure to research the laws and regulations relevant to you and your location before deciding to pursue certification as a dental assistant. Some states, for example, require specific professional certifications in order to work as a dental assistant, while others do not. Read on for just a few of the certifications you might add to your dental assistant resume!

Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)

To become a Certified Dental Assistant, or CDA, you’ll have to complete a 320-question-long exam administered by the Dental Assisting National Board in the US. While not all states require this certification, it’s a great way to ensure your skills match the requirements for every dental assistant job you may come across.

Registered Dental Assistant

Depending on your state, you may have to be listed as a registered dental assistant in order to work as a dental assistant. Different states have different requirements for becoming a dental assistant, and by becoming an RDA, you’ll ensure you meet those requirements. To become an RDA, dental assistants must pass the registered dental assistant certification exam through the American Medical Technologists Association.

National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA)

This certification recognizes dental assistants just starting out in their careers. If you’re writing an entry-level dental assistant resume, having this certification could help you stand out from other entry-level candidates because it shows the hiring manager that you take your career progression and training seriously. To achieve the NELDA certification, applicants must pass three exams: one in anatomy, morphology and physiology, one in infection control, and one in radiation health and safety.

Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA)

Beyond basic dental assistant certifications, dental assistants can also take on additional training to enable them to perform even more duties. Certified orthodontic assistants assist orthodontists with their daily tasks. Often, a COA will have to clean and tighten braces and examine a patient’s teeth and jaw to assess the progress of their orthodontic work. These duties occur in addition to a dental assistant’s normal functions.

Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA)

This certification is another one dental assistants can obtain to stand out from other assistants, and to expand their knowledge of the field. Becoming a preventive functions dental assistant means assisting patients who are looking to fight dental issues before they arise. This is usually done through teeth cleaning and oral health check-ups.

Applicants must pass a coronal polishing exam, a sealants exam, and a topical fluoride exam in order to become a CPFDA.

Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant (CRFDA)

While a preventive functions dental assistant aims to help patients before any issues emerge, a restorative functions dental assistant is there to assist when issues have already been identified. CRFDAs usually help with restorative procedures, such as fillings or dental implants, and have more technical knowledge than preventive functions dental assistants. Because of this, the process to become a CRFDA is slightly more complicated than that to become a CPFDA. Applicants must pass four exams: one in impressions, one in sealants, one in temporaries, and one in restorative functions.

Most Important Soft Skills for Dental Assistants

While “hard” or taught skills are often prioritized for dental assistant jobs, hiring mangers are often looking for soft skills, too. Not only will these skills help you in your day-to-day tasks as a dental assistant, hiring managers will also notice whether you’ve included them in your resume. For example, if you aren’t a “people person” who enjoys speaking with people as part of your job, becoming a dental assistant may not be the best option for you. Here are a few of the soft skills hiring managers look for when they seek out dental assistants.

Communication

Are you the type of person who can talk to anybody? That skill will come in handy as a dental assistant. Depending on the day, you might speak to medical professionals, clients, suppliers, or other individuals. Knowing how to explain what a dentist is doing to a nervous patient, for example, is an excellent trait for a dental assistant to have. You’ll also need to maintain open communication between yourself and the practicing dentist during dental procedures, to ensure the safety and comfort of the patient.

Compassion

First and foremost, a dental assistant’s job is about helping others. If you’ve always found yourself putting others first and trying to do everything you can to brighten someone’s day, a career as a dental assistant might be perfect for you. If, on the other hand, you’d prefer a job where you are solely responsible for your own happiness, you may be better suited to a different type of career.

Organization

Between keeping patient notes, booking appointments, performing dental procedures, and maintaining and ordering medical supplies, a dental assistant is always busy! Staying extremely organized is the key to success in fast-paced jobs, especially those in the medical field where patient safety is of the utmost priority. Highlighting your organizational skills in your dental assistant resume will demonstrate to hiring managers that you understand everything the job requires.

Something about this job catch your eye, but you aren’t quite sure if it’s a match? Check out these related resumes and discover where your next career move could take you.

Dental Assistant Salaries

Many people choose to become dental assistants for the stable work and good income the job provides. But just how much do dental assistants make?

Generally, your salary as a dental assistant can increase depending on your level of experience and any other qualifications you might obtain through additional training. According to Indeed, the average entry-level salary for a dental assistant is around $55,000. Take a look at how your salary could increase depending on your experience below:

  • 1-2 years: $60,000
  • 3-5 years: $69,000
  • 6-9 years: $72,000
  • More than 10 years: $78,000

How to Become a Dental Assistant

Dental assistant jobs don’t generally require applicants to have a college degree, which makes them even more attractive for people looking for a different path through life. However, formal training and education is usually still required for people who wish to become dental assistants. Read on to discover how to become a dental assistant!

What should you study to become a dental assistant?

In some states, no formal training is required to begin a career as a dental assistant. Instead, prospective dental assistants work in dentist offices to learn the basics, and can then begin operating as level I dental assistants. However, most dental assistants will have completed formal education. Prospective dental assistants usually attend a community college or technical school for a dental assistant program that lasts one to two years, depending on the scope of the curriculum and whether the student is aiming to become a level I or a level II dental assistant.

Always check your state’s requirements for dental assistants before you decide on the educational path you’d like to take.

Dental Assistant Externships

An externship is similar to an internship, in that someone just starting out in a career path can work at an externship to learn the ins and outs of the job. Completing an externship is an excellent way to stand out from the crowd when applying to full-time dental assistant jobs, because employers will know that you already understand the practical realities of working as a dental assistant. Externships are offered in partnership with a learning institution. Therefore, if you’re interested in completing an externship before entering the workforce full-time, research dental assistant programs and schools that offer externship programs.

Final Thoughts

Dental assistants do crucial work in dental offices every day, and becoming a dental assistant can provide you with stable work, a good salary, and opportunities for professional advancement. If you’re the kind of person who likes helping others and thrives in fast-paced environments, you might consider becoming a dental assistant!

A professionally designed resume is one way to make your application stand out from the crowd. Whether you choose to use eye-catching color, a unique format, or simply a clean and polished template with your skills and achievements on display, a VisualCV Pro membership could be the thing that takes your career to the next level.

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