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Who are Dental Assistants?

A Dental Assistant, sometimes known as a Dental Nurse, is someone who assists dentists, dental hygienists, and oral health therapists in performing their daily tasks. They are an essential part of any dental practice and help things run smoothly by assisting dental practitioners during patient care and providing support to patients. 

What do Dental Assistants do?

The exact role and daily tasks of a Dental Assistant will vary depending on the size of the practice in which they work. Most Dental Assistants will be responsible for keeping patients calm and letting dentists focus on patient care. 

They are also the face of the clinic and in charge of welcoming and greeting patients and ensuring they feel comfortable before, during, and after procedures. 

Daily tasks of a Dental Assistant

While daily tasks may vary, the majority of Dental Assistants are responsible for: 

  • Preparing treatment rooms for patients
  • Welcoming patients into their treatment room and introducing them to their oral health therapists
  • Preparing dental materials for dental practitioners, including sterilising equipment for infection prevention 
  • Helping patients prepare for their treatments by settling them into their chairs and giving them a bib and protective glasses
  • Applying water sprays and suction devices during oral healthcare procedures
  • Cleaning treatment rooms after appointments and sterilising reusable medical devices
  • Processing client X-rays
  • Maintaining dental supplies and ordering new stock when necessary

In a small dental practice, Dental Assistants may also be responsible for:

  • Answering phone calls
  • Booking appointments for patients
  • Billing and processing payments
  • Maintaining patient files 
  • Workplace health and safety procedures
  • Advising patients on their oral health treatment plan

What skills does a Dental Assistant need?

There are certain qualities and skills that help a Dental Assistant excel in their role and be a valuable asset to any dental surgery. These include: 

Interpersonal skills

As customer service plays a large role in their daily duties, Dental Assistants require strong communication skills. The primary responsibility of a Dental Assistant is making patients in a dental surgery feel relaxed and at ease. They should be ready to answer any questions or concerns that patients have. 

A competent Dental Assistant will also require good listening skills and problem-solving abilities so that they are able to care for patients in extreme pain and discomfort. 

Organisational skills

Being organised is very valuable as Dental Assistants are responsible for maintaining workplace health and keeping the dental workspace clean and organised. They are also responsible for infection prevention by regularly sterilising reusable medical devices and keeping them in place so that dentists can easily access the instruments they require. 

Time management

Dental Assistants only have a short amount in between patients to finish preparing dental materials, so time management skills are essential. This also helps in small dental practices when a Dental Assistant may be responsible for booking appointments. 


This is one of the most important skills a Dental Assistant should possess. They are a vital part of any dental practice and the way they relate to patients goes a long way towards contributing to the success of the clinic. Showing genuine care towards patients and being attentive to their concerns can help the dental care facility maintain a positive reputation. 

How do I become a Dental Assistant?

You can become a Dental Assistant by taking an online course with a registered training organisation that trains you on the necessary skill sets. Certifications you can take to become a Dental Assistant are a Certificate III in Dental Assisting or a Certificate IV in Dental Assisting. 

Anyone who wishes to start a career as a Dental Assistant is advised to have completed the Certificate III. The Certificate IV allows you to choose a specialisation, for example in dental radiography or oral health promotion. Both of these certifications can be taken online and are offered by various independent training providers. 

Completing a Dental Assisting qualification will teach you how to work alongside dental practitioners and support them during their procedures. The Certificate III also includes a work placement that allows you to put your skills to practical use and build confidence before starting work in a clinic. 

Why is Dental Assistant a good career choice?

Becoming a Dental Assistant is a great career choice. You will be helping dentists and oral health hygienists with their duties, taking part in infection prevention, and helping patients feel at ease during oral health care procedures. As a Dental Assistant you play a vital part in helping people improve their oral health and hygiene and improve their quality of life. 

Being a Dental Assistant is a very rewarding career that involves making people feel comfortable and relaxed, ensuring dentists stay focused on their tasks by helping them during procedures, and making clinics warm and welcoming spaces. 

Enrol in a Dental Assistant course online

If you want to explore the exciting opportunities of being a Dental Assistant, you can enrol in one of the following online courses to become an accredited Dental Assistant in Australia. 

Certificate III in Dental Assisting

The Certificate III in Dental Assisting equips you with the knowledge you need to assist Dentists and Dental Hygienists. You will learn how to assist in dental procedures, dental radiography, as well as the importance of workplace health and infection control. 

Part of the Certificate III in Dental Assisting is a 350 hour work placement to gain experience in a dental practice. You have around 12 months to complete the self-paced online course. We recommend enrolling in this online Dental Assisting course by Foundation Education. 

Certificate IV in Dental Assisting

The Certificate IV in Dental Assisting is a more advanced course that offers various specialisations to help you provide top-level support to dental practitioners. The topics involved will depend on the specialisation you have chosen, for example, specialising in dental radiography will include learning how to take clinical photographs and produce prescribed dental radiographic images. 

The self-paced Certificate IV can be completed in around 12 months and does not require a work placement. We recommend this Certificate IV in Dental Assisting course by Foundation Education, with a specialisation in Dental Radiography

How long does it take to finish a Dental Assistant course?

The Certificate III in Dental Assisting is self-paced and can be completed in around 12 months, though the exact time will vary depending on the provider. It also requires a certain amount of hours of work placement in a dental surgery. The Certificate IV in Dental Assisting can be completed in around 12 months and is also self-paced. 

How much you can earn after a Dental Assistant course

The average salary for Dental Assistants is $60,857 per year or $31.21 per hour. The amount you earn as a Dental Assistant will vary depending on your experience. Entry-level positions start at $58,500 per year and a high pay range is around $72,943 per year.

What are the benefits of dental care courses?

Dental care courses provide you with essential knowledge and skill sets to assist dental practitioners and support clients during their appointments. You will learn how to prepare for and assist with dental procedures and radiography and how to comply with infection control policies as well as workplace health and safety. These are all essential skill sets for any Dental Assistant. The work placement that is necessary for a Certificate III will give you valuable practical experience so that you can start your career confidently. 

How to know if becoming a Dental Assistant is for you

If you love helping people and have a passion for oral hygiene and the field of Odontology, working as a Dental Assistant is an excellent opportunity. By acting as a bridge between patients and dental therapists, you play a vital role in improving the oral health and hygiene of many people. You will also enjoy the rewarding element of helping people cope with their fears and discomforts around dental procedures. 

Summary: Dental Assistant course Australia

If you enjoy working with people and are interested in personal care and oral health, being a Dental Assistant is the perfect career choice. Ready to start making a difference in people’s lives while building an exciting career? Have a look at our Dental Assisting courses and start your new journey now. 


    1. How do I become a Dental Assistant in Australia?
      You need to finish a Certificate III in Dental Assisting. You can take this course online and it includes a 350 hour work placement. Click here for more information.

    2. How much does a Dental Assistant course cost in Australia?
      The cost of a Certificate III or Certificate IV in Dental Assisting will depend on the institution and payment method you use. Many institutions offer payment plans and may even offer a discount for some students. Click here to enquire now and get a free course pack.

    3. Is the Dental Assistant course hard?
      Some people find the Dental Assisting course to be challenging, but it is worth the reward when you embark on your exciting new career.

    4. How much are Dental Assistants paid in Australia?
      The average salary for Dental Assistants is $60,857 per year or $31.21 per hour.

    5. How long is the Dental Assistant course?
      Online Dental Assisting courses are self-paced. A Certificate III can be completed in around 12 months, though the exact time will vary depending on the provider. A work placement is also necessary for the Certificate III.

    6. Why is Dental Assisting so stressful?
      People who lack the necessary skill sets may find Dental Assisting stressful. This is why it’s important to develop skills like organisation, time management, and problem solving.

    7. Are Dental Assistants in demand?
      Yes, Dental Assistants are in high demand around Australia and this demand continues to increase.

    8. Is Dental Assistant a good career?
      If you love working with people, value good oral hygiene, and want a job in health or community services, being a Dental Assistant is a fantastic career choice that can be extremely rewarding.