Like most other receptionists, the job description of a dental receptionist involves patient interaction, over the phone and in person, hence it requires them to have good communication skills…
A dental receptionist plays a vital task in a medical office as they act as a conduit between healthcare seekers and providers. They perform many administrative duties and help organize a schedule for the doctor and patient. With the advent of advanced medical software dental receptionists must have sound technical knowledge to put this technology to good use. The job isn’t just about administrative duties, they need to have excellent customer service skills as they interact with patients on a daily basis. Complaint resolution and client retention are some of the extended duties of a dental receptionist. To perform these wide array of duties they are well compensated and job satisfaction levels are also high.
Dental receptionists should have a pleasing demeanor as they are the first point of contact in a dental office. They greet patients and have to be courteous and helpful as most patients come into the office in a lot of pain. People are apprehensive and scared when it comes to visiting a dentist and have a lot of questions on their mind, a receptionist answers these and reassures them. They will also apprise patients about what to expect during the procedure to quell some of their fears.
The job description involves scheduling appointments in person or over the phone. Maintaining a record of these appointments and reminding the patients and dentists about the schedule is a part of their job. Maintaining administrative records and filing information accurately, in an electronic and hard copy is their main responsibility. Receptionists help patients with paperwork pertaining to medical history, next appointment and contact details.
They are required to use computers extensively and need to have good typing skills. Using medical and office management software are the technical requirements of this job. Sending e-mails, faxes to patients and using electronic dental records is a part of their job. The job description also includes handling payments and billing, hence they need to have accounting skills. They also ensure that the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are up-to-date. Maintaining pertinent safety information for the practice, including sterilization binders is part of their job.
Determining the source of payment and handling insurance related information is an important task that they have to perform on a regular basis. Reminding patients of payments due and collecting same day charges is a receptionists responsibility. They also have to perform light housekeeping duties like, emptying the wastebaskets, arranging reading material for patients, and maintain cleanliness in the waiting room. Their customer service abilities will be called into play as they have to interact with patients and their families while they wait for the doctor.
Requirements and Salary
Individuals with a high school diploma or GED equivalent are eligible for a dental receptionist’s job. However, employers prefer candidates who have a college degree and have working knowledge of computers and office management skills. Receptionists need to have good communication skills as most of their time in office is spent on patient interaction. They need to have high levels of empathy as they deal with patients who come into the office in considerable pain. There are 1 year training programs offered by schools to prepare aspirants for dental receptionist job responsibilities. Course work includes topics like billing and insurance, computer training and medical office procedure. The programs also impart soft skills training like phone etiquette and customer service.
The salary is quite comparable to other industry jobs and can range between $25,000 and $35,000 per year. They mostly work 40 hour week jobs and the work environment consists of a well-lit air-conditioned office and desk duties. According to national statistics, the average salary is $32,000 per year. This is just an estimated number, actual salaries are affected by factors like experience and location of the job. In a state like New York, a receptionist can expect to earn $37,000 per year and in California the average salary is $35,000. In states like Texas and Florida, the reported annual salary is $29,000.
With careers in the healthcare sector showing signs of growth the number of dental receptionist openings is expected to grow more than 27 percent until the year 2014 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you like interacting with people and have an affinity for the health industry then this is one of the best jobs for you.