Assist dentists, set up equipment, prepare patient for treatment, and keep records. You work closely with dentists and oral surgeons to make sure patients are happy and knowledgeable about their treatment.

Make a Difference

A Typical Day

  • Prepare patient, sterilize or disinfect instruments, set up instrument trays, prepare materials, or assist dentist during dental procedures.
  • Record treatment information in patient records.
  • Expose dental diagnostic x-rays.
  • Take and record medical and dental histories and vital signs of patients.
  • Assist dentist in management of medical or dental emergencies.

Recommended Credentials

Dental Assistant program certificate or associate's degree

Education & Training

Regional employers often hire graduates of these programs.


Northwest Lower Michigan


Dental Assistant (AAS) Degrees and Certificates 
— Northwestern Michigan College
Online Administrative Dental Assistant Training Program
— North Central Michigan College

Elsewhere in Michigan


Dental Assisting Certificate or Dental Assistant Programs
— Washtenaw Community College
Dental Assisting Certificate or Dental Assisting Program
— Grand Rapids Community College

Explore This Career

Try it before you buy it!

Ask your family dental assistant about their career!

The Local Advantage Learning Pathway

Pathway 1

Enroll in Northwest Education Service’s Health Sciences Program to learn basic skills needed in a healthcare career.

Ask your counselor about advanced science courses available, including anatomy or chemistry, and advanced placement (AP)  courses that can earn college credit.

Pathway 3

Get a job at a local dentist office and apply yourself to advance your career.


Sample Job Titles...

  • Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)
  • Certified Registered Dental Assistant
  • Dental Assistant (DA)
  • Expanded Duty Dental Assistant (EDDA)
  • Oral Surgery Assistant
  • Orthodontic Assistant (Ortho Assistant)

Hear It From The Pros

10-Year Job Growth Projections

10-County Region

Employed Regionally

In 2021 (10-County Region)

Wage Range & Median 10-County Region


Annual Hires Regionally

In 2021

Other Regional Career Resources

Learn more about Dental Assistants at O*NET Online.

Related Careers

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Real World Career Pathways

It doesn't have to be a straight shot! Hear from people who have taken unique pathways.