Attention Aspiring Treatment Coordinators

Drop those misconceptions and position yourself for promotion with confidence.

When dental assistants are looking for career advancement opportunities, they can wear only so many clinical titles before they have to start absorbing administrative skills to make more money (assuming you’re not trying to become a DDS yourself, that is). As a result, upwardly aspiring dental assistants need to take steps to position themselves to be considered when treatment coordinator positions become available. 

Given that most dental offices rarely invest in career development and prefer to have employees trained on the job, aspiring treatment coordinators are often left in the dark about what they need to get ahead. Worst, most assistants operate under these misconceptions regarding career advancement:

  • Producing results in the current dental assistant position is enough. You need to show a record of strong results at a minimum to be considered for the next level. 
  • The confidence you’ll get the feedback you need from your boss at the next annual performance review. Flawed because 1. A review is based on the current position and not the one you’re gunning for, and 2. Boss isn’t exposed to your work at the next level, so they cannot offer feedback on your performance in that new role. 
  • Promotions are all about who you know. The reality is, it is about who knows you and the impact of your work. 
  • A belief that all it takes is a little polish and new style. Reality is your presence and ability to project confidence in unpredictable situations that come with the territory are what management is looking for.

Positioning yourself as a top candidate for the treatment coordinator position doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a result of combining a track record of exceptional dental assisting performance with demonstrated evidence of your treatment case acceptance skills. Assuming you’re a consistently strong performer, consider the following strategies to get yourself noticed.

First, figure out what skills management is looking for in a treatment coordinator and how management views you in terms of those skills. This will give you a clear idea of where to devote your career development energies. Effective scheduling, data mining a patient’s insurance, and confidently talking financials are all multi-level skill sets.

Next, position yourself in tasks that display the necessary capability. Leverage the time you have with both the dentist and patient in the operatory to talk through financials and schedule the next treatment phase. Demonstrate your ability to overcome objections and convey the value of treatment through education and conversation.

Finally, seek out candid feedback on your treatment coordination presence. Do you convey a sense of being able to take on more responsibility while maintaining exceptional performance? Or, do you seem maxed out at your current position? Can you increase case acceptance and schedule effectively and assist or flip a room or help in sterilization? 

In the absence of manager feedback, some dental assistants wait passively in hopes of being considered for promotion to treatment coordinator. By taking the initiative in your own career development and actively working on displaying your treatment coordinating skills in your current job, you’ll find that you’re much better equipped to advance when the opportunity arises.

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