Medical & Dental Assistant Careers: A Good Fit for Recent Immigrants?

If you or someone you know is a recent immigrant, you may be wondering if a career as a medical or dental assistant is a good choice. The short answer is most likely “yes”. These entry-level medical careers represent respectable occupations. They are also commonly used as stepping stones toward more advanced roles in the healthcare system.

Demand for qualified professionals capable of filling these roles is presently growing and is expected to continue growing “faster than the average,” compared to all other occupations, for the next 10 years. As such, it should be relatively easy to land one of these jobs, after obtaining the proper training and preparation.

Solid Career—or Convenient Stepping Stone 

These are also excellent careers to help you get your foot in the door of medicine, so to speak. Many people leverage the knowledge and experience they gain working in these roles to advance their careers and take on still more responsibility in the future. A dental assistant might choose to advance his or her career by studying to become a dental hygienist, for example, while a medical assistant might use his or her career as a stepping stone toward a still more financially and professionally rewarding career as an RN. Nurses who initially earn an ADN but then go on to earn a BSN are in demand in today’s healthcare landscape, and can typically find work virtually anywhere in the country. 

As with most professions, the higher the level of one’s education, usually the greater the opportunities available and the higher the anticipated compensation. Of course, this also usually means greater responsibility. Make no mistake, while medical assistants and dental assistants provide valuable assistance in medical and dental settings, their duties and responsibilities are relatively limited in comparison to those of nurses. Registered nurses, on the other hand, must accept a considerably higher level of responsibility toward the patients entrusted to their care.

Diverse Staff for a Diverse Population of Patients

As the diversity of our nation—and especially the New York City area—continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly important for doctors’ and dentists’ offices and clinics to have diverse personnel on staff. By hiring recent immigrants who have gotten a U.S. education, these workplaces ensure that their immigrant patients may have access to someone on staff who can help relate to them, and who can assist with cultural or language barriers that might otherwise impede the timely and efficient delivery of care. 

For example, if a practice exists in an area with a large immigrant Hispanic population, it would do well to consider hiring staff with Spanish language experience. This can give a potential for recent immigrants who may compete with native English speakers for a given job. Similarly, qualified immigrants from the Middle East might be called upon to help doctors or dentists understand any cultural, religious, or language differences and customs that may stand in the way of efficient, effective healthcare delivery.

Diversity Takes Many Forms

Diversity is a fact of life, especially in an open society such as ours in the United States. From sexual orientation to gender identity, to cultural, religious and other practices and beliefs, today’s society includes a broad range of people who may exhibit any number of differences. Medicine’s sole role is to provide care, comfort, and assistance, regardless of these, or any other considerations. It is not the role of the healthcare professionals to judge because their role is to provide compassionate care.

Tags: Industry Insights, Medical Assistant, Dental Assistant

Kelly Schwab

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