How to become a dental office manager

Dental Practice Office Manager

If you’re already working in a dental clinic in an administrative role or looking for a management position in a medical-related field, becoming a dental office manager could be a smart career move. Attention to detail, interpersonal skills, and a passion for keeping your workplace organized and on track are the keys to success in this role. 

Ready to learn how to become a dental office manager? 

Then keep reading as we detail what a dental office manager does and the typical requirements for the position. We’ll also go over five steps you can take that will put you on the path to becoming a dental office manager.

What does a dental office manager do?

In a typical dental office, the office manager oversees the day-to-day processes that keep the front office running smoothly. As the dental practice manager, you’ll be crucial to making the entire practice successful. You’ll ensure that the clinic functions efficiently and that patients have the best possible experience in any interactions that involve the administrative side of their dental care.

Typical dental office manager duties include:

  • Patient relations
  • Planning and implementing workflows and office procedures
  • Staff member management, training, hiring, and dismissal
  • Planning and implementing marketing efforts
  • Ensuring compliance with regulations in the dental profession
  • Interacting with outside service providers like vendors and dental insurance companies

Dental office managers often have a background in healthcare office work, business, or customer service. They must be able to communicate well with both staff and patients. Additionally, they should be familiar with typical dental software applications like patient scheduling and billing systems. If you are looking for a deeper dive into dental office manager duties you can find that here.

Dental office manager requirements and prerequisites

If you’ve been researching how to become a dental office manager, you’ve probably discovered that there isn’t a special degree or education program specific to the role. The qualifications and prerequisites will vary depending on the practice and what they’re looking for in the position. 

However, there are some typical requirements you’ll see in most dental office manager job listings, including:

  • Some college is generally preferred, but a high school diploma might be sufficient if you have dental office experience
  • Computer skills, such as word processing and spreadsheet management
  • Experience with electronic healthcare record systems
  • An understanding of HIPAA and maintaining strict confidentiality procedures with client records
  • Experience in managing staff, or management training

Above all, a dental office manager is responsible for maintaining the patient-facing side of the dental clinic. This means that top-notch communication skills and professionalism are vital for success.

5 steps to becoming a dental office manager

If you’re considering becoming a dental office manager, you’re making a smart move. The need for healthcare services is only growing, and that means an equal demand for healthcare office managers. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 28% growth in the health services management field between now and 2031. 

Let’s look at five steps you can take to gain a head start on this fulfilling career path:

  1. Get experience – Shadowing other dental office managers provides opportunities to gain valuable hands-on experience. You’ll build a strong understanding of the day-to-day operations of a dental practice and develop the foundation and dental terminology you need to be in charge of staff.
  2. Build familiarity with healthcare software systems – Every healthcare office use software systems for scheduling, patient records management, and billing. You can build a basic familiarity with many of these systems at home using free trials and training videos for widely used applications.
  3. Complete a dental office manager training program – The next step is completing a formal education program. While there are no specific educational requirements for dental office managers, completing a formal program will give your resume an edge. Many different programs are available, so do your research to choose a reputable dental office manager course that meets the American Association of Dental Office Management’s (AADOM) Fellowship requirements.
  4. Pursue your associate’s or bachelor’s degree – College degrees aren’t always a requirement for dental practice manager positions, but they are always an advantage over your competition. A degree in healthcare administration, for example, will build your skills in areas like human resources, insurance and billing, patient satisfaction, staff member management, and more.
  5. Get certified – Once you’ve completed your education, the next step is to obtain certification from an accredited organization such as AADOM. Certification isn’t required, but it can help demonstrate your commitment to the profession and with advancing your career. 

Streamline your dental office workflow with Dandy

Now that you know how to become a dental office manager, all that’s left is deciding if you’re ready to take on this rewarding and challenging role. If you have a head for details, a knack for optimizing workflows, and a passion for helping people access dental care, it could be the perfect career for you.

And as a dental clinic manager, a critical part of your job will be finding what can increase productivity in a dental office to save time. That’s where Dandy can help.

Utilizing advancements in dentistry like the intraoral scanner, digital impression services from Dandy’s full service digital dental lab can boost your clinic’s efficiency and accuracy, so you can get patients in and out faster—an outcome everyone can appreciate. So let Dandy help you save time, improve patient experiences and outcomes, and keep your staff functioning at their best every day.


American Dental Association. Sample job description: Office manager.

Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational outlook handbook: Medical and health services managers.

Dale Foundation. Become a dental office manager.