If you or someone you know has recently immigrated to the US and are looking for a new career, you may be wondering if becoming a medical or dental assistant would be a good choice. The short answer is most likely “yes”. While these are entry-level medical careers, they are respectable occupations and they are also commonly used as stepping stones toward more advanced roles in the healthcare system – a perfect combination for motivated immigrants who are looking to create a better life for themselves and their families.
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, from 2020 - 2030.
Solid Career—or Convenient Stepping Stone
While many people happily stay in these careers for life, they are also excellent opportunities 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 AND 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.
Meeting the Needs of Diverse Patients
As the diversity of our nation—and especially the New York City area—has continued to grow and expand, it has become increasingly important for doctors’ and dentists’ offices and clinics to have diverse personnel on staff. By hiring immigrants who have gotten a U.S. education, these workplaces ensure that their immigrant patients can have access to someone on staff 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 Hispanic immigrant population, it would do well to consider hiring staff with Spanish language experience. It would be advantageous for recent immigrants who speak Spanish as their native language, where they 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.
If you are interested in a career as a medical or dental assistant St. Paul’s School of Nursing can help get you on the path. We have dental assisting programs at our Staten Island campus and medical assisting programs at both our Staten Island and Queens campuses. Visit our site or call us today at (855) 822-3018 to speak with an admissions advisor.