The US dental care market is predicted to grow by over 41% by 2030, which means a lot more fillings, clear aligners, and root canals. Somebody has to help organize that care and manage the influx of new patients, which means an explosion of opportunities for dental office managers who can help dentists manage growth efficiently.
Whether you’re looking for a new career path or you’re currently a dental assistant and want to level up your skills to earn more money and respect, dental office management courses can be a great way to prove that you’re ready to help make a dentist’s life easier.
In this article, we’ll look at what a dental office manager does and what you’ll learn from an excellent dental office management course. And then, we’ll break down some of the best dental office management courses available in 2023.
What Does A Dental Office Manager Do?
As a dental office manager, you will be responsible for the administrative and managerial aspects of a dental practice. Your mission is to keep all the elements running smoothly to maximize your team’s efficiency, the profit of the practice, and the satisfaction of your patients.
You’ll play a pivotal role in various areas, which may include:
- Patient Care Coordination — Patient scheduling, appointment reminders, registration, and addressing patient concerns to ensure an exceptional experience
- Financial Management — Billing, insurance claims, budgeting, and monitoring the practice’s financial health
- Staff Management — Hiring, training, and managing dental support staff to build a cohesive team.
- Inventory & Equipment — Ordering supplies, maintaining equipment, and ensuring adequate inventory levels
- Compliance — Ensuring the practice adheres to healthcare regulations, such as HIPAA and OSHA
- Marketing & Promotion — Overseeing marketing strategies and the practice’s online presence
- Technology — Implementing dental practice software and new technology solutions.
- Office Organization — Maintaining a clean and organized environment for safe and efficient operations
- Records Management — Securing and managing patient records, including digital files and X-rays
Depending on the practice size and organizational structure, you may be asked to handle all of these tasks, share responsibility with a Chief Operating Officer (COO), or delegate some roles to other staff members.
But you can see that the dental office manager role requires a well-rounded, responsible, and motivated individual. The ideal dental office management course will help you get up to speed on managing these areas.
What Do You Need To Be A Dental Manager?
To become a dental manager, you’ll need a high school diploma (or equivalent), good computer skills, and comfort with Microsoft Office, HR/payroll, and dental practice management software. A bachelor’s degree in business will help with some employers, but it isn’t strictly necessary. Any experience in the dental industry will be a plus as well.
How Much Do Dental Office Managers Make In The US?
Dental office managers in the United States make an average annual salary of $53,713. Salaries generally range from around $50,000 to $65,500, depending on the area and your education and experience.
What Will You Learn From Dental Office Management Courses?
Dental office management courses equip you with the knowledge and skills to tackle the wide range of tasks required to manage a dental office. Let’s take a look at the most important ones:
Dental Terminology & Procedures
If you’re not currently working in a dental environment, understanding dental terminology and procedures will be essential to managing a dental practice environment. A solid grasp of dental terminology and procedures will empower you to:
- Bridge communication gaps between dental professionals and patients
- Ensure that patients are aware of their treatment options
- Help patients make informed decisions about their dental care
The best dental practice management courses will familiarize you with dental terminology, including terms like amalgam, abscess, bridge, Bruxism, root canal, fillings, extractions, malocclusion, crowns, and many more.
Insurance & Billing For Dental Practices
Insurance, billing, and accounts receivable processes are unique to dental practices, and dental office management courses cover these topics in detail. Mastering insurance and billing procedures prepare you to streamline financial operations and contribute to the practice’s financial success.
As a dental office manager, understanding dental insurance and billing processes will help you effectively handle patients’ insurance claims and reimbursements to avoid frustration and confusion and deliver a better patient experience.
Human Resources & Team Building In Dental Offices
Creating a positive work environment and managing staff are two of your core roles as a dental office manager. You must learn to manage your team efficiently and maintain a harmonious work atmosphere.
For this reason, many dental office management courses focus extensively on the human resources function. A supportive and collaborative atmosphere within the practice is critical to overall success.
Regulatory Compliance & Risk Management
Dental practices are subject to a nearly endless list of laws and regulations, and it’s your responsibility as the office manager to ensure you stay compliant with them. Regulatory compliance and risk management courses help you stay up-to-date with the latest laws and regulations so you can:
- Operate your office smoothly and professionally
- Understand regulatory compliance and risk management
- Avoid potential legal issues
- Maintain a trustworthy and reliable dental practice.
Why Get A Dental Office Management Certification?
Earning certification in dental office management will demonstrate your commitment to professionalism and expertise to potential employers. It also sets you apart from your peers, builds patient trust, and shows you’ll be able to support and provide top-notch patient care for a thriving dental practice.
Increased Job Opportunities
As a certified dental office manager, you’ll have access to more job opportunities and may command higher salaries than your non-certified counterparts. With a certification in dental office management, you may find it easier to get hired and earn raises and promotions.
Improved Practice Efficiency
When you complete a course in dental office management, you’ll get the knowledge and skills to implement innovative strategies that enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and improve patient care. You’ll play a key role in growing the revenue of your dental practice, making your certification a valuable asset to any dentist who values success and growth.
The Best Online Dental Office Management Programs
With the ever-growing demand for skilled dental office managers, several excellent online dental office management programs are available to help you develop your skills and knowledge. Let’s overview the best online dental office management programs, including:
- American Association of Dental Office Management (AADOM)
- The DALE Foundation
- Dental Management Secrets
- The American Dental Association
- Online Universities
Each program offers a unique curriculum and learning opportunities, so you can pick the one that best suits your needs and career goals.
American Association Of Dental Office Management (AADOM) Courses
AADOM offers a variety of online courses and resources for dental office managers, including certification programs and continuing education opportunities. It’s a well-respected organization in dental office management and a great place to start your education in the field.
AADOM offers the widest assortment of courses around, including classes on:
- Intro to Office Management
- Dental Terminology
- Dental Insurance
- Human Resources
- Dental Practice Management Software
Their Dental Office Management Essentials course is a great place to start your educational journey. And if you’re already working in the dental industry, their Dental Assistant to Practice Administrator (DA to PA) Curriculum is ideal for leveling up your skills and taking your career to the next level. Most of AADOM’s courses include a certificate of completion and qualify for Continuing Education (CE) Credits.
To access AADOM courses, though, you’ll need a membership, which runs $199 for a year. The good news is that many of their dental office management classes are included with the annual subscription (not all of them, though, so do your research before committing).
The DALE Foundation
The Dental Advancement through Learning and Education (DALE) Foundation. The DALE Foundation offers interactive online educational courses and resources to help dental professionals and assistants prepare for Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) exams.
Like AADOM, they offer you a range of dental practice management classes to choose from. Here, we’re going to recommend their Dental Office Management Bundle, which combines 3 essential courses worth a combined 16 CE credits:
- Accounts Receivable for the Dental Office
- Financial Reporting for the Dental Office
- HR Fundamentals for the Dental Office
Finance and HR are two of the most critical tasks you’ll need to excel as a dental office manager. So, grabbing these three in-depth courses is a great place to start training. You’ll get 6 months of online access and a certificate of completion when you’ve finished. Plus, you can grab the whole bundle for just $275, which saves you $115 versus buying the courses individually. And you don’t need to sign up for a membership to get them.
Dental Management Secrets
Dental Management Secrets is another excellent online resource for dental practice management education. Specifically, they have a 2-level management overview program that covers the key elements you’ll need to be an effective dental office manager.
Their core curriculum features:
- Management 101 Training — A 9-module training available virtually or in-person, focusing on human resources roles, leadership skills, hiring & firing, dealing with wages, and creating a company handbook.
- Management 202 Training — A 5-module advanced training that tackles managing change effectively, managing patient interactions, building phone skills, and running a more efficient office.
We’d like more support for learning about the financial aspects of managing a dental office. Still, there’s a lot to love here, and it’s an excellent starting program for any aspiring dental office manager.
The 101-level training costs $1,611.90, and the 201-level training costs $895. If you don’t need all the modules, you can purchase individual modules for $199 each. No membership is required.
The American Dental Association
As the leading professional organization for dentists, the American Dental Association (ADA) has some great resources for learning to build and run a successful dental practice. They also offer some training options for dental office management.
However, all their courses require an ADA membership plus an additional course fee. It could be a great opportunity if you’re employed by an ADA-member dentist. But it’s probably out of reach to the average person looking to break into the dental industry.
They don’t have a dental office management curriculum, but they offer live-streamed courses, like this 6-hour in-depth session on Dental Office Management. They have a wide range of topics valuable for any aspiring office manager, such as one on Dental Coding and one on Risk Management, Cybersecurity, and HIPAA Compliance.
California State University San Marcos
Many physical and online universities offer training or courses for dental office management. For example, California State University San Marcos provides a Dental Office Manager course and certification that is more comprehensive than many other online courses we’ve reviewed.
Their syllabus covers:
- Dental terminology
- Scheduling and recall systems
- Patient care and communication
- Advanced Microsoft Word, Excel, and Quickbooks qualifications
- Essential bookkeeping duties and tasks
- Basic accounting principles and concepts
- The role of the administrative dental assistant
- Dental insurance processing
- And DENTRIX G4 software usage
It’s a thorough course that should prepare you well for your role as a dental office manager. However, it comes with a hefty price tag ($3,995). You may not find everything necessary to do your job in the course, or it may repeat material you already know.
It could be the perfect course for you, or you might prefer a more strategic approach by choosing courses that strengthen your specific areas of need.
Do You Have A Future In Dental Practice Management?
As the dental care market grows, opportunities for dental office managers are rising. A dental office management course could be the perfect opportunity to launch a new career or advance in your current company.
These practice management courses we discussed here will help to equip you with the skills and knowledge you’ll need to open doors to better job opportunities and contribute to the success and growth of any dental practice.