Dental front desk staff and receptionists play vital roles in the inner workings of a dental office. If your dental practice is currently seeking a person for this role, you’ll want to spend ample time evaluating candidates and selecting the right person.
The job description you post in your job listing can impact your ability to find the right dental receptionist for the job. Below, we’ve provided valuable information you can include in your dental front desk job description.
Potential Differences in Dental Front Desk and Receptionists
Before you create your job description, you’ll need to determine whether you’re seeking a “dental front desk” role or a receptionist. While these two terms are used interchangeably, job candidates may view them as different types of jobs.
When many people think of receptionist jobs, they picture answering phones and scheduling appointments. Often, offices that hire receptionists do so with the sole purpose of having someone to answer phone calls.
If you’re looking for a professional to do more than simply answer calls, you should be sure to include additional responsibilities in your job description. You may structure the job listing as “dental front desk receptionist,” “office assistant,” or “dental front desk support” to signify that it includes a broader range of duties.
You should also consider the specific responsibilities you need the dental receptionist to perform in your dental clinic. Different dental practices have different needs. Simply copying and pasting a dental receptionist job description from another site to your listing can result in an inaccurate description of duties.
If you have a dental office manager, they may perform some duties that a dental receptionist would typically perform. Alternatively, if you have another type of dental front office job in your practice, that person’s duties may overlap with a dental office receptionist.
Use the criteria below to shape your job postings, but be sure they contain only accurate information about the dental receptionist jobs in your office.
Dental Receptionist Responsibilities
Dental receptionists can perform a wide range of duties within a medical office. You can consider including any of the following responsibilities in your dental receptionist job description:
- Schedule appointments with patients by phone and in person
- Greet patients and help them check in for appointments
- File insurance forms and dental billing records
- Communicate with dental insurance companies
- Manage office inventory
- Translate dental services into billable codes
- Scan, file, and create patient records
- Prepare daily schedules for dental professionals
- Verify patient billing information and methods of payment
- Help patients fill out patient information forms
Dental Receptionist Requirements
Your dental clinic can consider the exact requirements you seek in a dental receptionist or dental office assistant. Some dental practices prefer to hire receptionists who have prior experience in a dental setting, while others are willing to train entry-level candidates.
At a minimum, your dental receptionist job description should require the following:
- High school diploma or GED equivalent
- Good telephone etiquette
- Proficient computer skills to operate practice management software
You may seek a receptionist with certifications in the following areas:
- Office administration
- Medical administration
- Dental terminology
You may also prefer a receptionist with proven experience working in a dental office or another medical office or one with front desk experience.
Preferred Skills and Experience
While a dental receptionist job is often considered entry-level, you should consider each candidate’s skill set and work experience to find the perfect fit for your dental office.
Dental receptionists should have the following base-level skills:
- Customer service skills: Ability to interact with patients professionally and communicate well
- Organizational skills: Ability to multitask and complete a set list of tasks each day
- Computer skills: Ability to utilize software to manage patient appointments, review patient information, view patient schedules, and answer emails
- Interpersonal skills: Ability to work well with other dental receptionist staff, such as the office manager, dental hygienist, dental assistant, and doctor
Dental receptionists should also have a basic understanding of dental terminology that allows them to relay relevant information to patients. They should be able to understand the basics of patient charts, general dental treatment, and more advanced dental procedures.
While you may find receptionists with experience, don’t feel limited to those with previous receptionist experience. Instead, focus on evaluating the above skills during a candidate’s interview and reviewing the minimum requirements in their dental receptionist resume. All jobs require some training, and the best person for the job may not have previous experience.
Average Salary & Outlook
Before you post your receptionist job listing, you must consider the compensation you will provide to the person who accepts this job type.
Determining compensation for a new job can be tricky. You want to provide fair payment and remain competitive amongst other related jobs in your area. But you don’t want to lower your profitability too severely.
Many dental offices provide hourly pay instead of salaries for receptionists. According to GlassDoor, the average dental office hourly pay for receptionists working 40 hours per week is $17.87. This hourly wage equates to a salary of $37,185. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the average hourly wage for dental receptionists is $18.59.
You should also consider the benefits you will offer to your full-time receptionist. These can include:
- Paid time off
- Paid holidays
- Health insurance (with dental and vision)
- Annual bonuses
- Annual raises
Communicate with your human resources manager about the benefits to offer your dental receptionist. Also, be open to negotiation.
If you find a perfect candidate for your dental front desk position, you may need to be flexible in your offer to convince them to take the job. For instance, if the receptionist is leaving a position where they had 15 PTO days, you may need to match this benefit in your offer.
Dental receptionists create the first impression for your dental clinic, so you should be willing to pay them a fair amount to represent your dental office well. You can also expect some receptionists to eventually take the career path from administrative assistant to dental hygienist.
Dental Staff Trends
Recent trends in dental staffing may also shape your dental receptionist hiring process.
In recent years, many dental practices have strayed from the traditional hiring process, instead choosing to work with temp agencies.
Hiring temporary dental staff can promote several benefits for your dental office:
- Provide extra assistance during busy periods
- Save money by paying hourly rather than a salary
- Save time during the hiring process
- Provide an easy way out if a receptionist isn’t a good fit
However, temporary staffing also has its downsides. When you hire a temporary dental receptionist every few months, your desk manager must waste time training new people and monitoring their activities until they learn the ropes. You also have less consistency within your practice, which can impact patient relationships and office teamwork.
If your practice is facing a busy period and needs extra hands to provide better customer service, a temporary medical receptionist may fit the bill. Otherwise, we recommend limiting your search to a full-time, long-term dental receptionist.
Check out our Dental Staffing Insights eBook for more information about staffing trends in general dentistry.
Your dental receptionist team is vital to the success of your dental practice. Taking the necessary time to plan your receptionist hiring process can result in you hiring a professional who dedicates many years of customer service and patient care to your practice.
Be sure to hire a receptionist who is comfortable with patient automation software like Weave. If you’re interested in incorporating Weave into your daily dental clinic operations, request your free Weave demo today.
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