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A Guide To Becoming A Dental Receptionist In Canada.

Dental receptionists job description.  

A dental receptionist plays a crucial role in a dentist’s office. They are responsible for greeting, welcoming, and assisting patients when they visit the dentist’s office.  They also keep track of patient accounts and make client appointments. They help manage the dentist’s schedule and bill clients or the insurance companies. They also perform other duties like sorting the mail, updating client records, and monitoring visitors’ access to the office.

Dental Receptionist Requirements

There are no post-high school education requirements needed for one to be a dental administrator. Most people graduate high school or get GED certificate then apply for the position. A dental receptionist job in Canada is mostly clerical, and you are not required to handle patients under treatment. On-the-job training is offered, and one can quickly learn the required skills to handle day-to-day operations. However, a certificate in medical administration, office administration, or any other related field can be beneficial.

Some positions demand that the applicant is experienced, especially when the dentist’s office is busy, and there is no time or personnel to train recruits. Most of the tasks are computerized, so a computer literate applicant stands a better chance of getting the job. The operations revolve around word processing software, spreadsheets, billing system, and other office applications.   

Dental Receptionist Courses

A dental administration position covers different routine tasks, and every office may have different requests. The diverse nature of the job makes it hard to have a single course that will teach you everything that the job demands-some things you have to learn while working because every office will have different instructions. The one thing every dental office has is the role of the dental administrator. Using this similarity, there are courses designed to prepare you in this rewarding career path that will allow you to contribute to patients’ dental health and wellness.

You can pursue a CD-ED dental administration program that runs for 64 weeks in Toronto. This curriculum is designed to educate the students on dental health practices and software necessary for managing a dental office. The course emphasizes on mastering terminologies used in a dental office, communication skills, front office etiquette, and office management skills. Other areas of study include;

•    Ethics and professionalism

•    Dental software

•    Office applications and keyboarding

•    Occupation and health hazards

These studies are available online for students who are unable to attend onsite classes. Other learning centers available include;

•    George Brown College

•    Reeves College

•    Durham college offers Dental receptionist studies, Dental office management, among others

•    Ontario College offers a Certificate in Dental Office Administration

Upon course completion, students are exposed to a learning environment beyond the core disciplinary to develop an awareness of the culture and society they live and work in. People who go through the program are better equipped to handle office management duties compared to those who never had prior training. Taking the course also boosts one’s confidence as an office administrator with the ability to coexist with others, build professional relationships, and handle the pressure.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Dental Receptionist?

Every program has a different duration, depending on how the institution does its packaging.  A part-time program can take up to 2 years while full-time takes 1 year with environmental exposure. To qualify for enrolment at the George Brown College, you must be;

•    At least 19 years old with No OSSD

•    Secondary school Diploma or its equivalent

•    Attain grade 12 in English (C or U)

•    Must provide proof of English proficiency

Qualified candidates should pay tuition amounting to CAD $13, 520 per year which you can split across the two semesters.

What Does a Dental Receptionist do?

Patient management:

•    Booking patients’ appointments

•    Greeting visitors and answering calls

•    Oversee patient relations

•    Collect payment from patients after treatment

•    Prepare and present financial treatment plans for patients


•    Filling in billing records and insurance claim forms

•    Updating patients’ insurance information

•    Assist resolve conflicts with 3rd party payers

•    Provide necessary documents for benefits determination


•    Translating dental services notes into billable codes

•    Monitoring office supplies inventory

•    Creating dental charts and treatment plans

•    Ensure that the HIPAA notice is in clear view at the reception

How Much Does a Dental Receptionist Make?

On average, a dental receptionist’s rate in Ontario is $26 per hour and an average salary of $54,600 per year. Entry position administrators start with an average of $44,850 per year while the experienced receptionists make up to $73,125 annually. The rates vary across the country depending on the size of the office, the number of clients, tasks assigned, and the level of experience.

For example, in Moncton, New Brunswick, a dental administrator can be paid $20/hour on the higher side and as low as $12/hour, which averages at $15/hour. Manitoba pays $21/hour, Nova Scotia $18/hour, Quebec $20/hour, Saskatchewan $25/hour, British Columbia $24/hour; Alberta pays $25/hour in Calgary area and $30/hour in Edmonton area. Every region has its own metrics of assigning rates, and Edmonton seems to be the highest paying territory.

There is a demand for dental office receptionists in Canada as the dentistry industry keeps expanding. Even the smallest dentist’s office needs an administrator to handle office work. However, most employers are inclined to hire people with proper training and previous work experience. That makes it hard for self-starters to get their heads in the door frame and learn on the job. For those without an educational background, interning and volunteering is the best way to lay a foundation for your dental office reception careers.  Some employers, on the other hand, do not mind training candidates; giving both trained and non-trained individuals a chance to work as dental health receptionists.

Another advantage of working as a dental office administrator is the flexibility to change and cope in other careers. Once you have the experience, you can efficiently work as a hotel lobby receptionist, serve at fast food restaurants, and work in hospital receptions among other industries. The exposure you get as a dental admin not only prepares you to run an office but also equips you with the skills needed to handle different classes of people.

Written by Curtis Bebek

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May 31st, 2019