Dreambound
Blog

Dental Assistant vs Graduate Nursing

Dental Assistant vs Graduate Nursing

When it comes to choosing a career path in the healthcare field, there are many options to consider. Two popular choices among students are becoming a dental assistant or pursuing a graduate nursing degree. Both professions offer rewarding opportunities to make a difference in patients' lives and contribute to the healthcare industry. In this blog post, we will explore the similarities and differences between dental assisting and graduate nursing to help you make an informed decision about your future career.

Article continues after recommendations

Recommended for you

What is a Dental Assistant and Graduate Nursing?

Dental Assistant: A dental assistant is a vital member of a dental healthcare team. They work closely with dentists and dental hygienists to provide patient care and assist with various dental procedures. Dental assistants perform a wide range of tasks, including taking x-rays, preparing patients for treatment, sterilizing instruments, and providing chairside assistance during procedures.

Graduate Nursing: A graduate nurse, also known as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), is a highly trained healthcare professional who has obtained a master's or doctoral degree in nursing. They have advanced knowledge and skills in a specific area of nursing practice, such as family practice, pediatrics, or mental health. Graduate nurses provide comprehensive healthcare services, including diagnosing and treating illnesses, prescribing medications, and managing patient care.

Difference between a Dental Assistant and Graduate Nursing

While both dental assisting and graduate nursing are healthcare professions, there are some key differences between the two:

Scope of Practice:

  • Dental assistants primarily work in dental offices and focus on providing dental care and support services.
  • Graduate nurses have a broader scope of practice and can work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices. They are qualified to provide comprehensive healthcare services and may specialize in a specific area of nursing practice.

Responsibilities:

  • Dental assistants assist dentists and dental hygienists in providing patient care, such as taking x-rays, preparing patients for treatment, and ensuring the dental office runs smoothly.
  • Graduate nurses have more autonomy and responsibility. They can diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe medications, order diagnostic tests, and manage patient care.

Education and Training:

  • Dental assisting programs typically require a high school diploma or equivalent. These programs can be completed in less than a year and result in a certificate or diploma.
  • Graduate nursing programs require a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree as a prerequisite. These programs can take anywhere from 1 to 3 years to complete and result in a master's or doctoral degree in nursing.

Licensing and Certification:

  • Dental assistants do not require a license in all states, but many choose to become certified through the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) to enhance their job prospects.
  • Graduate nurses must be licensed as registered nurses (RNs) and also obtain additional certifications in their specialized area of practice, such as family nurse practitioner or psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner.

Dental Assistant vs Graduate Nursing: Job Description

Dental Assistant Job Description:

  • Assisting dentists and dental hygienists during dental procedures.
  • Taking and developing dental x-rays.
  • Preparing patients for treatment and explaining procedures.
  • Sterilizing dental instruments and maintaining a clean working environment.
  • Scheduling appointments and managing patient records.

Graduate Nursing Job Description:

  • Assessing patients' health conditions and conducting physical examinations.
  • Diagnosing and treating illnesses and injuries.
  • Prescribing medications and ordering diagnostic tests.
  • Providing patient education and counseling.
  • Collaborating with other healthcare professionals to develop and implement treatment plans.

Dental Assistant vs Graduate Nursing: Education and Training

Dental Assistant Education and Training:

  • Dental assisting programs are offered by community colleges, vocational schools, and dental schools.
  • These programs typically include both classroom instruction and hands-on training.
  • Topics covered may include dental anatomy, infection control, dental radiography, and chairside assisting techniques.
  • Some states may require dental assistants to complete additional certifications, such as radiography certification.

Graduate Nursing Education and Training:

  • Graduate nursing programs are typically offered by universities and colleges.
  • These programs require a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree as a prerequisite.
  • The curriculum includes advanced coursework in nursing theory, research, and clinical practice.
  • Students also complete clinical rotations in their specialized area of practice to gain hands-on experience.

Article continues after recommendations

More recommendations for you

Dental Assistant vs Graduate Nursing: Career Outlook and Salary

Dental Assistant Career Outlook and Salary:

  • The demand for dental assistants is expected to grow by 7% from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
  • The median annual wage for dental assistants was $40,080 in May 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Graduate Nursing Career Outlook and Salary:

  • The demand for graduate nurses is projected to increase by 45% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.
  • The median annual wage for nurse practitioners, a common role for graduate nurses, was $111,680 in May 2020.

Final Thoughts

Choosing between a career as a dental assistant or pursuing a graduate nursing degree is a personal decision that depends on your interests, goals, and strengths. Both professions offer unique opportunities to make a difference in patients' lives and contribute to the healthcare industry. Consider your passion for dental care, your desire for autonomy and responsibility, and your interest in pursuing advanced education when making your decision. Ultimately, whichever path you choose, both dental assisting and graduate nursing can lead to fulfilling and rewarding careers in healthcare.

Dreambound's program is accessible in diverse locations. Take a deep dive into these blogs for comprehensive insights into the two vocations, covering their requirements and guidance on joining:

Winlynd Caballero
Written by
Winlynd Caballero

Winlynd Caballero is a member of Dreambound's Sales team. She helps in handling the company's finullcial transactions, generating reports, and school sales. Beyond her responsibilities in the realm of numbers and business, Winlynd finds herself deeply immersed in a world of art and music.

Share this post: