Becoming a dental assistant is a fantastic career choice for those that want to work within the healthcare field. Dental assistants aid dentists with procedures and inform patients about flossing, brushing their teeth, and other proactive methods of tooth care.
But, how do you become a dental assistant? What type of schooling or training is required? Let’s take a look at what steps are necessary to enter this exciting profession:
Both community colleges and technical schools offer dental assistant training programs that are properly accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, or CODA, for short. These programs usually require that you take one or two years of courses in order for you to gain the requisite certificate. You can also work toward an associate degree majoring in dental care and hygiene.
In order to apply, however, you should already have a high school diploma or a GED certificate. That being said, requirements may vary by state.
After completing your educational requirements, you will need to check with the dental board of your state, or the Dental Assisting National Board, or DANB, for short, about licensing requirements for dental assistants. For example, some states require that you pass an exam administered by the DANB to earn the distinction of being named a Certified Dental Assistant.
Of course, if you wish to work in a particular dental specialty, you will need to take further exams to obtain additional certification from the DANB. For example, there are the Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant certification denotes that bearers have been trained in topical fluoride, coronal polishing, and other sealants, and the Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant certification states that bearers are experts on sealants, temporaries, and impressions.
You can start applying for beginner dental assistant positions in local dentists’ offices. Since you have no prior experience, be sure to highlight your education on your resume and any previous jobs that showcase your professionalism, work ethic, and interaction with clients or customers.
You can also take on an internship before applying for your first official job in the field. This will allow you to zero in on the specialties that you are interested in, such as preventative care, or orthodontics, for example. The office may even decide to hire you permanently if they are impressed with your work.
Becoming a dental assistant will require a bit of effort on your part, but the steps listed here are well worth the rewarding career that you will break into. Just be sure to check your state’s laws to learn exactly what you will need to do in order to begin working in the dental field.