how to become a dental office administrator

Dental offices rely on many employees to provide patient care. From treating patients to managing appointments, employees complete many tasks each day. Dental office administrators have a crucial role in dental office management. They handle patient appointments, billing procedures, office bookkeeping and more.

Learning more about the dental office administrator role can help you decide whether you want to pursue this position. Learn more below and see how Dental Choice Academy can help you get started with this career.

What Are the Job Responsibilities of a Dental Office Administrator?

A dental office administrator — also referred to as a dental receptionist, dental office assistant or dental administrative assistant — is responsible for overseeing all administrative office functions. The exact dental office administration job description varies depending on the office and location. However, key dental office administrator duties include:

  • Interacting with patients: Dental office administrators are often the first point of contact for patients. They should be able to communicate effectively over the phone, through email and at the office.
  • Maintaining patient records: Dental office administrators maintain patient records within software or physical storage. They organize details about patient registration, billing, insurance, health history and more.
  • Billing patients and handling payments: A dental office administrator is responsible for preparing and processing patient invoices and bills, collecting payments and handling insurance claims.
  • Coordinating patient insurance: These responsibilities include communicating with dental insurance companies to verify coverage and process claims, as well as helping patients understand their insurance benefits and coverage.
  • Keeping an office budget: Dental office administrators are often responsible for bookkeeping and general budgeting. They might also pay vendors, order supplies, process utility payments and manage payroll.

graphic showing what skills dental office administrators have

Dental office administrators use skills like:

  • Interpersonal communication: By employing effective interpersonal communication skills, administrators establish trust and rapport with patients, making them feel comfortable and valued from the moment they walk in the door. Additionally, these skills are important for explaining treatment plans, procedures, insurance coverage, and post-care instructions in a clear and comprehensible manner.
  • Time management and multitaskingA dental office administrator maintains a comprehensive schedule of appointments, vacations and general availability for dentists, dental hygienists and other dental professionals. Dental receptionists also need time management skills to keep track of their daily tasks. For instance, they might interact with in-person patients and patient phone calls at the same time.
  • Problem-solving: A dental office administrator must resolve patient problems and questions efficiently. For example, a patient might have difficulties paying their bill. The dental office administrator could offer a payment plan option to make the expense more manageable.
  • Technology skills: Many dental offices use computers and scheduling software to manage appointments. Dental office administrators should be comfortable using various technologies to complete their daily responsibilities.

What Is the Dental Office Administrator Salary?

The average salary for dental office administration in Canada is just over $50,000. Salaries range between $36,000 and $70,000. Your exact rate depends on factors like:

  • Education: Many dental office administrator employers expect a certain amount of education, such as a high school degree, completion of an office administrator program or another specialized college degree. The more specialized education you have, the higher you can earn in your position.
  • Certifications or skills: Additional certifications or skills can also boost your pay.
  • Years of experience: Employees typically earn higher wages with more time spent in their careers. A first-year dental administrator likely makes less than an administrator with 20 years of experience.
  • Location: Salaries also vary by your location and cost of living needs.

What Training Do You Need to Become a Dental Office Administrator?

Most dental offices require a high school diploma as a minimum for dental office administrators. However, they might prefer more advanced degrees or certifications. Additional education can set you apart from other candidates and better prepare you for the role and its responsibilities.

You could pursue certification options in fields like:

  • Health care: A general health care administration program teaches the basics of office management in health care settings. However, it has less specific guidance for dental offices.
  • Business: Dental offices might also appreciate degrees or certificates in business, which can prepare students for bookkeeping, payroll and other administrative job responsibilities.
  • Dental office administration: You can also find programs that specialize in dental office administration. These programs provide precise guidance for administrators in dental settings. Programs have an overview of dental fundamentals, patient communication, managing financial systems and more. Many programs are available online, making them more accessible for various applicants.

enroll in dental choice academy online dental administrator program


Enroll in Dental Choice Academy Today

Dental Office Administrator Online Program by Dental Choice Academy prepares students to become office administrators with accessible and thorough educational modules. The program’s format includes:

  • 7 online modules
  • 10 real-time sessions with professional trainers
  • 3-week on-site practicum

Our program provides students with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed as dental office receptionists in any dental office.

Contact Dental Choice today to learn more about our program and get started.

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