Dental Office Manager: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for dental office managers. Get the facts about education and certification requirements, job duties, and salary information to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Dental Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Dental Office Manager?

Dental office managers function as general office managers in a medical setting. They supervise dental staff, such as hygienists and operating room technicians, and handle financial allocations for employee pay and dental equipment purchasing and upkeep. They also ensure that the dental office is in compliance with all health and safety procedures. In addition, dental office managers may develop policies that can improve the overall operations of the facility, such as finding new ways to organize patient records and keep them current.

The following chart gives you an overview about entering this field.

Degree RequiredHigh school diploma; postsecondary education required by some employers
Key Responsibilities Manage daily assignments, perform human resources and payroll duties, work with vendors for office supplies
Certification CPR certification required by some employers
Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% (for all administrative services managers)*
Median Salary (2015) $86,110 (for all administrative services managers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Do as a Dental Office Manager?

As a dental office manager, you would use your supervisory, administrative and medical knowledge and skills to manage daily assignments. You will likely also perform tasks related to human resources, payroll, scheduling and purchasing.

As a dental office manager, you may be responsible for advertising open positions, interviewing potential employees and completing the hiring or termination process. In some positions, you may process employee payroll by collecting time and attendance reports, approving hours, processing leave and distributing paychecks. Furthermore, you will work to schedule patient appointments, greet patients and manage patient records.

Many dental office managers also work with vendors to secure supplies for the office. You may also perform collection activities, such as contacting patients who are delinquent with payments or locating a collections expert, to secure payment for services rendered. Knowledge of medical billing and federal collections law is beneficial for this position.

What Education or Certification Should I Pursue?

Many employers offer on-the-job training for dental managers. Some employers may require you to have an associate's degree or certification in dental assisting. Dental assisting programs offer training in chair-side procedures, infectious disease control, practice administration and clinical science. Many employers may require you to possess certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

You can also take advantage of professional development programs. The American Association of Dental Office Managers offers a fellowship that provides professional recognition for dental office managers. Furthermore, you can pursue the Certified Dental Practice Management credential through the Dental Assisting National Board.

What Can I Expect to Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has no statistics for dental office managers, but did report that administrative services managers earned a median salary of $86,110 annually in 2015. The 25th to 75th percentile earned between $63,200 and $116,600 per year. Your salary will vary depending on your employer, experience and education.

What Are Some Alternative Career Options?

A closely related position is a job as a medical services manager. These professionals supervise operations in physicians' offices and hospital departments. You might also want to think about a management job in a community service organization, in which you would be responsible for overseeing social workers and managing funding in order to achieve goals related to public health and community development. For any of these managerial jobs, you would need to earn a bachelor's degree, and you may need previous work experience in the field.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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