Sink teeth into lu­cra­tive ca­reer

JOB OP­POR­TU­NITY: More den­tists, den­tal as­sis­tants needed

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - LIFE -

AS AUS­TRALIA’S pop­u­la­tion grows and ages, em­ploy­ment in the den­tal sec­tor is in­creas­ing.

Ev­ery­body needs den­tal care but in­ten­sive pro­ce­dures be­come more com­mon with age.

The Em­ploy­ment Depart­ment fore­casts about 900 ex­tra den­tal prac­ti­tion­ers and 900 ex­tra den­tal as­sis­tants will be needed be­tween 2015 and 2020, pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for univer­sity and vo­ca­tional grad­u­ates alike.

Those wish­ing to go down the univer­sity path typ­i­cally study a Bach­e­lor of Den­tal Science, which takes five years with a full-time sub­ject load, but about a third fol­low that up with a post­grad­u­ate qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

A Doc­tor of Clin­i­cal Den­tistry, for ex­am­ple, re­quires an ex­tra three years of full-time study and al­lows a den­tist to spe­cialise in ar­eas such as or­thodon­tics (teeth straight­en­ing) or pe­ri­odon­tics (gum dis­ease and den­tal im­plants).

PayS­cale data re­veals the av­er­age salary for an Aus­tralian den­tist is about $96,000 but can reach up­wards of $190,000.

On the other hand, those wish­ing to go down the vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing path can be­come a qual­i­fied den­tal as­sis­tant in about nine months with a Cer­tifi­cate III in Den­tal As­sist­ing.

This is the stan­dard qual­i­fi­ca­tion for such a role, how­ever longer diploma op­tions are avail­able for those wish­ing to spe­cialise as den­tal tech­ni­cians or ther­a­pists.

PayS­cale shows the av­er­age salary for a den­tal as­sis­tant is $40,000 but can reach be­yond $56,000 with ex­pe­ri­ence.

Dim­iti An­dresen, a fi­nal­ist for the 2016 Aus­tralian Train­ing Awards School-Based Ap­pren­tice of the Year Award, stud­ied a Cer­tifi­cate III in Den­tal As­sist­ing and Cer­tifi­cate III in Busi­ness and works full-time for the North­ern Ter­ri­tory Gov­ern­ment’s Oral Health Ser­vices branch.

She used her train­ing to gain con­fi­dence in com­mu­ni­cat­ing ef­fec­tively with health clinic staff and pa­tients of dif­fer­ent cul­tures and ages and hopes to one day work over­seas in the health care sec­tor.

“Be­ing able to com­plete on-the-job train­ing while in high school gave me an in­sight into the work­ing world while still al­low­ing me to en­joy my high school ed­u­ca­tion,” she says.

PHOTO: MICHAEL MCROSTIE

SMILE: Dim­iti An­dresen com­pleted her Aus­tralian School-Based Ap­pren­tice­ship while at­tend­ing Cen­tralian Se­nior Col­lege in Alice Springs. She has a Cer­tifi­cate III in Den­tal As­sist­ing and Cer­tifi­cate III in Busi­ness.

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