What’s the Difference Between a Dental Assistant vs Medical Assistant?

dental assistant vs medical assistant

Dental Assistant vs Medical Assistant

Dental assistants and medical assistants both are really crucial for the patient care and the smooth running of the clinic. Both of these careers are high in demand and share so many things similar to each other but still there are some disparities which make these two roles different from one another.

Dental Assistant Duties vs Medical Assistant Duties

Dental Assistant Duties vs Medical Assistant Duties Dental assistant and medical assistant both provide direct and indirect patient care but greatly differ in their job duties. Let’s have a quick look on their job descriptions
Dental assistants are an integral support to the dentist in dental offices as they are supposed to perform a variety of tasks in the clinic. As a dental assistant you have to:
  • Get patients ready to see the dentist 
  • Update patient records
  • Prepares treatment room for patients
  • Hand over instruments to the dentist during operations
  • Maintain dental supplies inventory
  • Provide diagnostic information by developing and exposing x-rays
  • Dry out the patient’s mouth with the use of suction hose
  • Help in sterilizing instruments and delivering these instruments to the treatment room
  • Perform billing and payment procedures
  • Educate patients on oral hygiene and give post care instructions
  • Help patients feel relaxed before and after procedure
dental assistant duties
Medical assistants on the other hand are required to perform both clinical and administrative tasks in physician’s clinic hospitals, outpatient clinics, public health offices and group practices. This role is very patient-centric and direct patient care included in his job duty may involve:
  • Schedule patient appointments, tests, and procedures.
  • Take and update medical histories
  • Manage patient records and accounts
  • Serve as liaison between doctor and patient
  • Maintain office and medical equipment
  • Prepare instruments and exam room
  • Assist physicians with procedures, exams, and minor surgeries
  • Take inventory and order office and medical supplies
  • Administer medications under the supervision of a doctor
  • Collect specimens, such as urine and blood, for lab tests
  • Be a comfort to patients

Educational Requirements

Some states require that both medical and dental assistants can complete their on job training in lieu of formal education; however, dental assistant requirements may vary state to state and employers may seek dental assistants with education and certification. While some states accept the 2 year vocational program accredited through CODA, other states may require DANB certification. For medical assistants, there are clear educational and certification requirements. Prospective medical assistants can attend a 2 year vocational school to earn a certificate or diploma. They can also attend a community or junior college and complete an associate’s degree while obtaining the training necessary to enter the field. A medical assistant have four distinct paths to choose any one to complete the requirements for this position: Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) through American Medical Technologists (AMA) or American Registry of Medical Assistants (ARMA), and National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) through the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). Which program a student should choose depends largely on the state requirements.

Who Makes More Medical Assistants or Dental Assistants?

Now, many aspirers need to know if dental assistants make more than medical assistants as the dental assistants are more in demand. According to Labor Bureau statistics, the per hour earning of a dental assistant is $18.59 while that of a medical assistant is $16.16 which does not make a significant difference in salaries between the two professions. However, in the coming years, both fields are expected to witness above-average employment growth which will result in further excellent earning in both professions.

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