How to Become an

Oral Surgeon Assistant

The complete career guide to be an Oral Surgeon Assistant: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $36,920
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 18.4%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Dependable Daily Workload
    Career Attribute

Oral surgeon assistants are responsible for assisting oral surgeons before, during, and after oral surgery procedures. They clean, disinfect, and sterilize all equipment and operating room surfaces, monitor patient vital signs during surgeries, and ensure surgeons have all necessary supplies during surgeries.

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What is an Oral Surgeon Assistant?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in oral surgeon assistant roles:

  • Prepare operating rooms prior to surgeries by disinfecting surfaces, gathering supplies, and sterilizing equipment and tools
  • Monitor patient vital signs during oral surgeries and alert surgeon to potential problems
  • Pass needed/requested equipment to surgeon during surgeries
  • Update patient records and dental charts
  • Manage inventories, ensure supplies are available when needed, and order replacement supplies

A Day in the Life of an Oral Surgeon Assistant

The primary responsibility of an oral surgeon assistant is to provide assistance to oral surgeons before, during, and after surgical procedures. The oral surgeon assistant ensures operating rooms are clean and disinfested, ensures all needed tools and supplies are available for procedures, and assists the oral surgeon during surgeries by passing the surgeon needed and requested tools and supplies and monitoring patient vital signs to alert the surgeon of possible complications.

Oral surgeon assistants may not perform or assist with any actual surgery work, but they do play an important role in the success of surgeries because they allow the surgeon to focus on the task at hand rather than trying to multitask and look for supplies or watch heart or blood-pressure monitors. The oral surgeon assistant may only work with a single oral surgeon, or he/she may work with a team of surgeons, nurses, and anesthesiologists.

The types of surgeries that oral surgeons commonly perform include extraction of impacted wisdom teeth, reconstructive surgeries, dental implant installations, and jaw surgeries. Oral surgeon assistants help oral surgeons during all of these types of surgeries. Additionally, oral surgeon assistants may have more clerical responsibilities. They may be responsible for updating patient dental records and ensuring surgical supplies are stocked at all times so that needed supplies are available during surgeries.

Typical Work Schedule for Oral Surgeon Assistants

Most oral surgeon assistants work full-time hours. Their work schedule may depend on the type of facility they’re employed by. If they work directly for an oral surgeon who owns his/her practice, the assistant may work normal business hours. However, oral surgeon assistants who work in hospitals may work more than 8 hours per shift, and may need to work shifts in evenings, overnight, or on weekends.

Projected Job Growth for Oral Surgeon Assistants

The demand for oral surgeon assistants is expected to grow over the next decade due to advances in surgical safety making oral surgeries more common, and because of an increased number of people who carry health and dental insurance.

Career Progression

Most oral surgeon assistants begin their careers as dental assistants. After gaining experience, they go to school to become oral surgeon assistants. While many retain assistant positions for the remainder of their careers, some may go on to become dentists or oral surgeons with additional schooling.

Typical Employers

Most oral surgeon assistants either work for oral surgeons who operate their own practices, or they work for hospitals alongside oral surgeons who handle dental emergencies.

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How To Become an Oral Surgeon Assistant

Most oral surgeon assistants begin their careers as dental assistants. Working as a dental assistant provides prospective oral surgeon assistants with the experience needed to move into roles with more responsibilities later in their careers. In many states, dental assistants must go through a 1- to 2-year training program to become licensed to work as dental assistants. However, in some states no formal higher education is required, and dental assistants can get their training on the job.

To become an oral surgeon assistant, you’ll need to earn an associate’s degree in surgical technology from an accredited program. Many technical, community, and vocational colleges offer these programs, and some can also be found in universities. Many programs require experience as a dental assistant before you can be accepted into the program, though some may accept students who took advanced science courses in high school.

After earning an associate’s degree in surgical technology, you should be qualified to get a job as an oral surgeon assistant. However, some states may require additional licensure or certification that requires passing an exam, and some states may require CPR certification. Check the rules for your individual state to learn more about state-specific regulations.

Oral Surgeon Assistant Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Oral Surgeon Assistant salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Oral Surgeon Assistant's can make an average annual salary of $36,920, or $18 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $29,580 or $14 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #587 Nationally for All Careers

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming an Oral Surgeon Assistant. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Oral Surgeon Assistants

  • 1.6%   Doctorate
  • 0.5%   Masters
  • 7%   Bachelors
  • 17.8%   Associates
  • 40.5%   College
  • 29.9%   High School
  • 2.7%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Oral Surgeon Assistant job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 58,600 jobs for a total of 377,400 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 18.4% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #68 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Oral Surgeon Assistants

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Offices of dentists 290,100 54,300 54%
Offices of physicians 6,400 1,400 1%
Federal government, excluding postal service 4,200 -400 0%

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