Dental Office Administrator Job Description, Salary and Training

If you are interested in working in the healthcare field, specifically dentistry, a career as a dental office administrator would be a great career choice. If you consider yourself to be a strong decision-maker, multi-tasker and are interested in an administration career, you are in the right place. While dental office administrator’s do not work directly on dental patients, they still play a large role in the dental office culture. They are also the first person the patient will encounter when they enter the office. In this article, we will discuss the training required to begin your career as dental office administrator and other valuable information about the industry.


Dental Office Administrator Job Description

Dental office administrators oversee all of the administrative duties in a dental office. This means everything from coordinating office budgets and handling payroll to scheduling patient appointments and performing bookkeeping duties. Typically, they are responsible for planning, directing, and coordinating to make sure the office is running smoothly and both the staff and patients are happy with their dental care service.  They play a key role in enhancing the operations of the dental setting. As you can see, the job description of a dental office administrator varies, which is why it requires a variety of skills and interests. 

Dental Office Administrators should possess a wide range of skills like strong decision-making, critical thinking, time management and interpersonal skills. Like any administrative role, you must have the ability to have a positive relationship with staff members and clients. A successful dental office administrator is someone who must be able to think on their feet while maintaining a positive environment. 

When thinking of a dental office administrator’s job description, it’s likely you think of work in a private dental office, but this is not necessarily the case! Aside from the dental office itself, dental office administrators may find employment in a number of different environments such as hospitals, dental care facilities, insurance companies, and medical group practices. 


Dental Office Administrator Qualifications and Training

When it comes to beginning your career as a dental office administrator, aspiring candidates must complete at least a high school diploma. This is typically expected for most administrative positions. It’s highly likely that hiring managers will look for candidates who have a certification from a college. When it comes to dental office administrator education, hiring managers will look for someone with a one-year certificate program in dental office administration or a healthcare related field. Additionally, a candidate with a diploma or degree in business administration would be a great fit for this career.

The reason dental offices look for someone with a dental specific certificate program is because they need specific qualifications and training and those programs typically cover dental specific duties.

For example, at Robertson College’s School of Business, we offer a Dental Office Administrator Diploma program. When enrolled in this program, students can expect to be equipped with the necessary dental office administrator qualifications and training. They will learn both the office administrative skills and the clinical knowledge necessary to work effectively in a dental practice. When enrolled in Robertson College’s Dental Office Administrator Diploma Program, students will develop skills in the following areas:


  • Oral-facial anatomy and terminology
  • Basic clinical dentistry theory
  • Legal and ethical privacy regulations
  • Patient relations and care
  • Records and scheduling
  • Dental insurance
  • General accounting principles and procedures
  • Dental software


The skills listed above are typically what dental offices across Canada expect candidates to have when they are looking to hire a dental office administrator. When students enroll in a college program, the programs will usually have a real-work experience program. In order to be competitive in the dentist office administrator job search, this is what hiring managers are looking for.

The skills listed above are mainly hard skills, also known as skills that can be learned in the classroom, but what about attitude and personality? When hiring managers search for a candidate, they look for more than what can be learned in the classroom. They are looking to see if you fit into their corporate culture. This is where your soft skills come in handy. They typically look for individuals who are great communicators, problem solvers, multi-taskers, and more.

Hiring managers also like to see candidates with real-life work experience. Everyone has to start somewhere, which is why work experience programs are great on a resume. In our Office Administrator program, students take part in a compulsory 4-week full-time work experience where they work alongside industry professionals in a dental office setting.

The great thing about a workplace experience program is that through the work practicum you will meet and network with industry professionals. This is a great opportunity to meet people and figure out what type of dental office you want to work in after graduation. Regardless of which program you choose, the program you take should be equipped with the resources and education you need to find a job after graduation. At Robertson, we offer career services to students and graduates, which includes resume and cover letter development, help with the job search, and interview preparation.




Dental Office Administration Salary

Before entering the field, you are probably asking yourself what a dental office administrator salary looks like? As a dental office administrator, the salaries depend on many things such as what type of company you are working for, whether you’re full-time or part-time, the province you live in, and many other factors. To place a general number, according to, the average salary for a dental office administrator is between $23,712 and $57,304 a year.


Why become a Dental Office Administrator? 

Dental office administrators serve as leaders in the practice. With their wide range of duties, they must be extremely organized and on top of everything. For many, the idea of working with people in a healthcare environment is very appealing. Below, we go over our top three reasons why we think you should consider a career as a dental office administrator.


Work Environment

When it comes to where you can work with a dental office administrator diploma, the opportunities are large. There are many different work settings to choose from, including but not limited to, dental offices, hospitals, dental care facilities, insurance companies, and medical group practices.


Short and affordable education

If you want to work in the medical field, but do not want to work as a dentist yourself, working in the dental environment and becoming a dental office administrator is a great option. It does not take as long or cost nearly as much money. If you’re wondering how long it takes to complete a dental office administrator education, it typically takes around 32 weeks (under a year) including a practical work component. This may be especially appealing if you are someone who wants to work in the healthcare field but does not want to spend years and years in school. Graduates of a dental office administrator program are typically set up with resources to help them find immediate work upon graduation.


Wide range of responsibilities

When working as a dental office administrator, the tasks and responsibilities change daily. If you are someone who likes juggling any tasks at once, this would be a great career choice for you. There are days where you will be doing administrative work like filing payroll and creating schedules, but you will also have days where you are only working directly with patients. Every day could look and feel different, which to some, is an appealing aspect of the job.  


Similar Career Paths

When you graduate with a dental office administrator diploma, it opens up the doors for you to work in a number of roles in the dental field. You do not necessarily have to enter right into a dental office administrator role. You will have the qualifications and tools to help you excel in any dental front office role. Below, we go over similar career paths to consider when entering this field. It’s important to note that some of the career paths below do require further education.


Dental Assistant

For those who are wanting to work with patients rather than be focused entirely on administrative tasks, you should consider a career as a dental assistant. Not only do dental assistants schedule appointments and record valuable information, but they also organize and clean equipment, take x-rays, provide support during dental procedures and educate patients about their dental hygiene. 


Dental Secretary

For those who are not interested in working in a management position but still want to perform administrative work, becoming a dental secretary is a great career option. Dental secretaries schedule patient appointments, prepare insurance claims, manage records and transcribe medical information from the doctor. A dental secretary has to be familiar with dental terms as they will be communicating with patients about their symptoms and conditions. They also must have great written and verbal communication skills. 


Dental Office Manager

When entering a role in a dental office, management titles can vary. When it comes down to it, a dental office manager is very similar to a dental office administrator. Dental office managers oversee day-to-day operations so the dentist on the floor can concentrate on caring for the patient. Their day-to-day duties are wide in range and may include supervising the staff, managing finances, keeping up to date with government regulations and filing insurance claims. Like mentioned, the dental office manager role is quite similar to the dental office administrator. In both roles, being organized is crucial. It helps the entire team focus on their duties and will ultimately create a pleasant experience for patients. 

Dental Receptionist

For those of you who do not want to take on a management role or a largely administrative role, consider a career as a dental receptionist. This is a great position to get your foot in the door and have a taste of the dental office life. Working as a dental receptionist is a great way to see if the environment is for you. The dental receptionist’s main role is to greet and assist patients the moment they enter the office. They are the ones who are always making the appointments and staying on top of patient accounts. They help bill and coordinate schedules, and also monitor visitor access to the office. There are no post-secondary requirements to begin your career as a dental receptionist. However, most dental offices will look for candidates with some type of on-the-job training.

Hopefully after reading all about becoming a dental office administrator and similar career paths you have a clear understanding of what it takes to become a dental office administrator. It is a great career choice for those who want to work in the healthcare field and have a passion for fast-paced administrative work. If you are undecided or are interested in learning more, Robertson’s Dental Office Administrator Diploma Program is a great option for students who want to complete their education at one of our Winnipeg, Edmonton or Calgary campuses. As a part of Robertson’s School of Business, it is a 32-week program that equips students with the necessary office administrative skills and clinical knowledge to prepare them to work effectively in a dental office. Connect with a Student’s Admissions Advisor for more information.

We’ve put together a list of eight certificate programs that take one year or less, including some at our own campuses! Explore these certificate programs that can help you start your journey to a meaningful and rewarding career. 



Thanks for reading! 
Looking to start a career as a Dental Office Administrator? Learn more about our Dental Office Administrator Diploma Program.

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