Some states require dental assistants to graduate from an accredited program and pass an exam. Most programs are offered by community colleges, although they also may be offered by vocational or technical schools. Most programs take about 1 year to complete and lead to a certificate or diploma. Programs that last 2 years are less common and lead to an associate's degree. Accredited programs include classroom and laboratory work. Students learn about teeth, gums, jaws, and other areas that dentists work on and the instruments that dentists use. These programs also include supervised practical experience.
What You Need to Know About Becoming a Dental Assistant
High school students interested in a career as a dental assistant should take courses in biology, chemistry, and anatomy. Dental assistants who do not have formal education in dental assisting may learn their duties through on-the-job training. A dental assistant, hygienist, or dentist in the office teaches the new assistant dental terminology, the names of the instruments, how to complete daily tasks, how to interact with patients, and other activities necessary to help keep the dental office running smoothly.
Dental assistants must follow specific rules and protocols, such as infection control procedures, when helping dentists treat patients. Assistants also must be aware of what tasks they are allowed to complete in the state where they work. Dental assistants must be good at working with their hands. They generally work in tight quarters on a small part of the body, using very precise tools and instruments. Dental assistants must work closely with dentists and patients. Dental assistants must listen to patients and other healthcare workers. They need to follow directions from a dentist or dental hygienist , so they can help treat patients and do tasks, such as taking x rays.
Dental assistants should have excellent organizational skills. They should have the correct tools in place for a dentist or dental hygienist to use when treating a patient. States typically do not require licenses for entry-level dental assistants. Some states require dental assistants to be licensed, registered, or certified for entry or advancement.
States may require assistants to meet specific licensing requirements in order to work in radiography x ray , infection control, or other specialties.
For specific requirements, contact your state's Board of Dental Examiners. States that allow assistants to perform expanded duties, such as coronal polishing, require that they be licensed, registered, or hold certifications from the Dental Assisting National Board DANB. To earn certification from DANB, applicants must pass an exam. The educational requirements for DANB certification are that dental assistants must either have graduated from an accredited program or have a high school diploma and complete the required amount of work experience.
Applicants also must have current certification in CPR cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The median annual wages for dental assistants in the top industries in which they work are as follows:. Employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 19 percent over the next ten years, much faster than the average for all occupations. Ongoing research linking oral health and general health will continue to increase the demand for preventive dental services.
Dentists will continue to hire dental assistants to complete routine tasks, allowing the dentist to work more efficiently. As dental practices grow, more dental assistants will be needed. A base font size A medium font size A larger font size. Certification Dental assistants can become certified by passing an examination that evaluates their knowledge.
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Education and Training Requirements Dental Assistant: Additional Resources and Contact Information. If you completed a certification program, ask your teachers and career counselors to help you find position openings. If there is a particular practice where you'd like to work, call to see if they're hiring.
How to Become a Dental Assistant: 10 Steps (with Pictures)
Apply for a job as a dental assistant. Make sure you meet the requirements listed on the posting for the job you're applying to. Talk about both your dental assistant credentials and your customer service experience during your interview.
Some jobs require a year or more of experience. You will probably have better luck getting an entry-level job that does not require multiple years of experience. However, if you completed a certification program, you can count the supervised training you received as experience. Consider taking steps to become a dental hygienist or dentist. After working as a dental assistant, you may decide you like the field and wish to advance further. The experience you gain assisting the dentist will give you an excellent view into the world of dentistry.
6 Steps to Becoming a Dental Assistant
If you're interested in learning about the additional training and education necessary to become a dental hygienist or dentist, see these articles: I am a dental assistant from India and would like to become dental assistant in the USA. What exams and courses will I need? What will is cost? Answer this question Flag as Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.
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Already answered Not a question Bad question Other. Tips Being a dental assistant is a great job; however, you need to have a flexible personality and be a person who has good communication skills. Dentistry Careers In other languages: Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 9, times. Did this article help you?