Dentist's Office Manager: Job Duties, Career Outlook, and Educational Requirements

Research what it takes to become a dental office manager. Learn about job responsibilities, education requirements, job outlook, and salary information to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Dental Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Dental Office Manager?

A dental office manager is responsible for overseeing the operations and staff of a dental clinic or practice. Due to the nature of their work, a high degree of dental and computing knowledge is required. Office managers are typically tasked with reviewing and organizing files and documents on patients and employees, as well as responding to whatever questions and complaints patients may have about the office. In some cases, you may be in charge of finding new staff members to hire, recruiting and interviewing candidates and ultimately making the decision on who to bring on, subsequently training them for their jobs and reviewing their performance when the time comes.

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

Degree Required Associate's degree or a bachelor's degree commonly required
Education Field of Study Business administration, office management
Job Duties Implementing office policies and procedures; reviewing files, reports, and payroll; answering patients' questions and complaints; interviewing and hiring new staff members
Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% (for all administrative service managers)*
Mean Salary (2016) $47,768**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

Job Duties of a Dental Office Manager

Job duties for a dental office manager can include implementing front office policies and procedures, as well as reviewing files, reports, and payroll. As a dental office manager, you may also help answer patients' questions and respond to their complaints. Additional duties can include recruiting, interviewing, and hiring clerical and office staff. You may also oversee the training and supervision of new employees and conduct staff evaluations.

Along with being familiar with dental terminology, a dental office manager should be knowledgeable about the computer hardware and software typically found in the office environment as well as accounting and human resources procedures.

Career Outlook

Employment for all administrative service managers is expected to grow by 8% from 2014-2024, which is approximately as fast as the average for all occupations, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. reports from October 2016 indicate that the majority of dental office managers made between $34,521 and $65,631.

Education and Training

An associate's degree, completion of a vocational school program, or 1-2 years of on-the-job experience are common requirements for obtaining a position as a dental office manager. Although rare, certificate and degree programs for dental office managers can provide you with the specialized training you need to obtain an entry-level position. Courses in a short-term certificate program can include topics in dental office and reimbursement procedures, keyboarding, microcomputers, and oral structures. An associate's degree program in dental office management can also provide you with additional training in dental assisting or healthcare.

Two-year degree programs in business office management can also be found at county and state community colleges. In addition to a general education core, the curriculum typically includes topics in business communication and law, computer technology, and office management. You can also take courses in accounting, organizational behavior, and word processing, as well as complete an internship. Continuing education opportunities for dental office managers can be found through the American Association of Dental Office Managers.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

The closest job relevant to dental office management would be administrative services management. These people help to run the support services behind the scenes of an organization, doing many of the same duties as a dental office manager in a variety of other settings. Additionally, property, real estate, and community association managers are charged with the upkeep of apartments, office buildings, warehouses, or any other type of property waiting to be sold or rented, ensuring they look their best and function properly.

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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