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How to future-proof your dental career in 2020 and beyond

With ever-advancing technology and new medical discoveries, dentistry is an industry which is constantly developing. Whether you’re a dental assistant, dental hygienist or dentist, if you want to maintain your role in the fast-faced field, it’s important you evolve alongside it. 

The last weeks of December are perfect for reflecting on where you are in your career and where you want to be this time next year. With the following predictions and helpful suggestions below, you’ll be able to prepare yourself professionally for 2020 and begin the year ready for huge success.  

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A career for the future

Unlike delivery, manufacturing and customer service jobs which are likely to become automated by 2030, the responsibilities taken on by RDAs, RDHs and dentists are almost certain to remain in the hands of humans. This means whether you’ve been working in dentistry for years or you’re just preparing for your first college exam, dentistry is an excellent career choice which won’t let you down in the future

What will change in 2020

The future is certainly bright for anyone with or considering a career in dentistry. While there are several impending changes on the horizon, the outlook for dental professionals is remarkably positive. 

More jobs

Due to population growth, improved medical care resulting in an ageing population and an enhanced understanding of the importance of preventative dental care, there will be more dental jobs than ever in 2020.

According to the Bureau of Labor, RDA jobs and RDH jobs are expected to grow by 11%, while dentist positions are expected to grow by 7%. Both these figures are higher than the average for jobs in the US. This equates to roughly an increase of 3,870 dental assistant jobs, 2,370 dental hygienist jobs and 1,160 dentist jobs between 2019 and 2020. 

Increase in salary

In 2010, the median salary for a dental hygienist in the US was $68,250. Fast forward to 2018 and the median salary had increased by $3,350 up to approximately $71,600, according to Zip Recruiter. This increment is anticipated to continue into 2020, with dental hygienists expecting to earn a salary of around $72,438.

It’s not just dental hygienists who can await an increase in salary. Dentists and dental assistants can also expect to see increases.

In 2010, the median dentist salary was $159,510. By 2016, this had risen up to $172,350. Following the same curve, it’s possible that a dentist salary will increase further up to $180,910 by 2020.

The median dental assistant salary in 2010 was $34,080, which had increased up to $36,920 by 2016. Again, following the same growth curve, it’s likely that the salary for a dental assistant will increase further up to $38,813 by 2020. 

Regardless of your role in dentistry, it’s reasonable to assume that your income (whether you’re an independent contractor or an employee) will rise considerably in 2020. 

How to prepare yourself professionally for 2020

2020 could be the year your dental career really takes off and rewards you more generously than you could ever have imagined. Follow the tips below to get your career ready for the New Year and you’ll be miles ahead of the others.

Absorb all the knowledge you can

There’s almost zero chance of any dental role being taken over by technology, but that doesn’t mean you can just relax and do the bare minimum. While computers will never replace someone in your position, another human being certainly can.

Because of the high demand for dental professionals, many young people are embarking on a career in dentistry. In order to keep up, it’s important you stay as up-to-date as you can on the latest best practices, policies, equipment and tools.

If you’ve been in the industry for several years, you’ll already have experience to bring to the table. But add into the mix a vast knowledge of the most recent developments in dentistry and it’s almost certain you’ll never be replaced. 

Do you manage a dental practice? If you do, here are 9 amazing management courses you’ll benefit from.

Embrace modern technology

From smartphones which automatically suggest the quickest route to the grocery store to voice-controlled home assistants that keep your house at your favorite temperature, technology is all around us — even in dental practices.

According to Medical Futurist, some of the incredible advancements we can expect to be introduced to dentistry in the future include:

  • Augmented reality for teaching purposes
  • Teledentistry for patients who struggle to make it to the practice
  • 3D printing for dental labs 

Whether the prospect of advancing technology excites you, bores you or fills you with fear, it’s important you get onboard with it and get to know it as best you can. If you’re familiar with a piece of technology and another dental professional isn’t, you’re significantly more likely to get the job than they are.

Become an independent contractor

If you don’t want to put your career in the hands of an employer and you’re not yet ready to open up your own dental practice, consider advancing your dental career by becoming an independent contractor

With Cloud Dentistry, you’ve got complete professional freedom. You can set your hourly rate, pick the hours and days you want to work and choose the dental practices which best suit you. With an increase in demand for skilled dental professionals and a growing number of practices looking for top talent, you’ll be able to fill your free hours without any problems and earn the money you deserve, not what a dental temp agency tells you you’re worth.

Consider part-time freelancing

Not ready to jump in at the deep end and become a full independent contractor? No problem. If you’re currently employed but know you could be taking more advantage of your spare time than you currently are, you can advertise your skills for the specific hours you’re available and be a part-time freelancer.

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When you freelance part-time with Cloud Dentistry, you still get all the benefits of a full independent contractor. If some weeks your personal commitments mean you’re available for more or fewer hours than usual, you can update your availability accordingly. You’re in complete control of where, when and for how long you work. 

Stay positive

Instead of seeing the future of your career as something alarming and unpredictable, see it as a great opportunity to advance yourself professionally. Have a clear idea of where you want dentistry to take you, carefully plan the steps that will get you there and you’ll be on the road to success.