Careers in the Licensed Professions

registered dental assistant

Registered Dental Assistant Print ProfilePDF

Under the direct, personal supervision of a dentist, registered dental assistants perform a variety of support functions as part of the dental team. Examples of services:

  • gather preliminary medical histories and vital signs
  • patient education
  • place and/or remove dressings and other materials during dental procedures
  • apply topical cavity-preventing and desensitizing agents
  • take dental impressions
  • select and pre-fit provisional crowns and orthodontic bands


Earn a high school diploma, or the equivalent


Complete a Department-registered registered dental assisting licensure program, or the equivalent.


Dental Assisting National Board or New York Professional Dental Assisting examination.

Visit the Office of the Professions for a listing of all options and requirements.




Salary and Projected Growth

  • Median salary: $38,660 in the U.S., $39,390 in NY
  • Salary range: $29,440-$45,850
  • Projected growth: much faster than average

Where Could I Work?

  • Private and group practice
  • Military
  • Hospitals, nursing homes, and other health centers
  • Colleges and universities
  • Anywhere a dentist works

Your Interests and Abilities

  • Preparation in the sciences
  • Analysis and reasoning
  • Hands-on experiences

Professional Skills

  • Concern for others
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication
  • Manual and technical dexterity

What Interests You?

Match your interests and personality to career options! Explore a free career tool at

Tip: try searching for mentoring programs—talk to a registered dental assistant about what they do and how they got started!

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Last Updated: January 13, 2020