Major Overview

With the increasing public knowledge of important oral hygiene, Dental Support Services majors are becoming part of a fast growing occupation.

Students majoring in Dental Support Services learn how to diagnose and treat oral diseases and abnormalities while providing services that help prevent any oral issues. You will take classes in chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology, genetics, psychology, and other dental related courses to gain the skills to properly conduct oral examines, cleanings, and aid in surgeries or other procedures. This degree prepares students for a career as a dental hygienist or to continue their education to become a dentist.

Along with the option to major in Dental Assisting, students have the option to specialize in Dental Hygiene, Dental Laboratory Technology, and Dental Services and Allied Professions.

Required Skills

Dental Support Services professionals are responsible for checking the condition of teeth and gums to help prevent infections or other abnormalities; this means professionals should be detail oriented and conduct thorough examinations. You should be organized and ensure all medical records are in proper order and kept up to date. Students who are successful in this career also have strong interpersonal skills as they are working directly with patients and must keep them comfortable when performing procedures.

Students who pursue a degree in Dental Support Services should prepare for a full time job in a dental office. You will work with multiple patients during the day and conduct teeth and gum examinations to ensure your patients' oral health.

Students who wish to become dental hygienists or dental lab technicians must only obtain an associate's degree, although bachelor's and master's degrees are available. Those who want to pursue a career as a dentist must attend dentist school and obtain an advanced degree.

In order to practice any type of dental service, you must be licensed by the state. The requirements vary state by state, so it is important to check the laws in the state you will be practicing in.

Careers

Graduates with a degree in Dental Support Services pursue careers in a variety of dental related services. Some graduates go on to dental school to become dentists and work at or run their own practice, while other students become dental hygienists or lab technicians. Since many people now understand the importance of dental hygiene and the role it plays in overall health, the occupation is growing at a faster than average pace. Practices are expanding and new ones are opening, providing jobs for many dental students.

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Major at a Glance

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Yearly Graduations
 4,118
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Average Mid-Career Salary
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Example Careers

Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in Dental Support Services might open up.

Dental Assistants
Dental Hygienists
Dental Laboratory Technicians
Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary
Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
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