Responsibilities for Dental Office Managers
When it comes to dental offices jobs, the manager is basically going to be the boss, at least in conjunction with the dentists in the practice who, obviously, will have final say over everything. Basically, your job is to make sure everything in the front area is running smoothly while the dentist and the dental hygienists deal with everything in the back.
The level of responsibility you have will depend in part on the size of the practice. In most cases you will be the sole manager because most dental practices consist of only two to three dentists. However, if you do find yourself working for a larger practice you may share administrative responsibilities with others, including a senior manager.
Among your tasks would be to hire and fire other members of the office staff. Most practices have a receptionist, someone who handles insurance and billing, and sometimes people who handle scheduling or filing. You would oversee all of these responsibilities and would need to fill in whenever necessary.
You need to keep track of office supplies and place orders through vendors as well. That includes dental supplies as well. Additionally, you may be responsible for other aspects of human resources, accounting, payroll, and more. You’ll also need to be well-versed in the law regarding patient privacy and protection so you do not make any serious errors in these areas.
Running a dental office can be a challenge, especially if you’re trying to juggle a multitude of tasks all at one time in a busy office. However, most managers find their jobs rewarding because they get to know the clients and get to provide a valuable service to them and to the dentists.
Requirements for Dental Office Managers
The requirements for an office manager tend to vary. Some dentists are going to prefer someone with more education and experience, while others may be looking for a more affordable person who can learn on the job. Your best bet is to prepare yourself as much as possible for this type of work so you can demonstrate skills that will make you a valuable asset to the office.
The least amount of education you should consider is an associate’s degree in office or medical management. You can find these courses at vocational and community colleges around the country. Basically, they provide you with a basic understanding of how to run an office effectively, as well as offer you hands-on experience with many of the software programs you may need in the field.
At the upper end of the spectrum, you may want to have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, or any bachelor’s degree combined with some office experience. If you can demonstrate an ability to learn quickly and be dependable, most dentists will be satisfied enough to give you a try.
Speaking of experience, most dentists do want to see that you’ve had some office experience before. That experience doesn’t necessarily need to be in a medical office, but you should have experience communicating with clients via the written and spoken word. Being able to work with other employees as a team is also important. In today’s modern medical office, computer skills are also essential, as is experience with office equipment such as fax machines and copiers.
If you have some background in insurance coding or scheduling, this can also give you an edge because that means you’ll be able to fill in for those jobs as well when needed.
Finding Dental Manager Jobs
One way to secure a dental management job is by starting at a lower level in the office and working your way up. This is a great way to learn the office and to increase your skills, but it can take a lot of time and does not offer any guarantees that you’ll be advanced even if the current office manager does leave the position.
If you have an associate or bachelor’s degree that would be appropriate for this position and some office experience, you’d be fine applying for management jobs straight out. You can identify these positions via the Internet easily by going through websites specializing in dental staff or in medical office management staff. This could be a good choice if you are willing to relocate, which is sometimes necessary in smaller areas with fewer dental practices in operation. Be sure to establish some criteria for your job search so you can be notified when matching positions become available.