6 Steps to Becoming a Dental Assistant

For many people, part of the American dream is all about finding a career and succeeding in that area. There is not one single path to success in the workforce in the United States, there are many. One career path that is leading many people to happiness and self-sufficiency is the dental industry. Dental assistant training courses have become more popular as this is a field with a lot of job security. If you are ready to take that leap and look forward to experiences that you will get in live clinic training, this may be the career path for you.

1. Pick the way you want to study. Most of the training for this career is done at a technical school or a community college. Generally, these programs take between 12 and 24 months to finish. It will take longer if you are going to a community college to get an associate’s degree. Training to become a dental assistant combines classwork and real-world experience such as live clinic training. The classwork includes:

  • Anatomy
  • Pharmacology
  • Office administration
  • Tools and materials
  • Radiography
  • First aid and CPR.

There are differences in what states require to become a dental assistant. Some allow students to skip the academics but this can be a hindrance when students are looking for a job. Having the academic training behind you will make it easier to get a job in this field.

2. Do an externship. This is a great way to get hands-on dental training. This is also a way to make your applications stand out as dental offices prefer to hire workers with live clinic training. You can find an externship that suits your needs by talking to schools in your area. They are often offered along with the academic programs that are provided. These provide excellent experience and help students become much more comfortable working with patients in the clinical setting. If students have the desire to work in pediatric dentistry or cosmetic dentistry, this is the best way to learn more about those specialties.

3. Pick a specialty. Now that the training is done, it is time to pick a specialty. Again, this is a very versatile industry and people have options. There is general dentistry, of course. With additional training and experience, dental assistants can so any of the following areas:

  • Endodontics.
  • Pediatric dentistry.
  • Maxillofacial surgery.
  • Prosthodontics.
  • Dentofacial orthodontics.

4. Get your license or certification. Again, what you need to work as a dental assistant differs from state to state. The way you can learn about what you need in the state where you live by talking to the Dental Assistant National Board or your state’s dental board. There is an exam that students have to take to get certification, in states where that is required.

5. Get a job! This is what all of the classes and live clinic training was all for! By the time you are done with your training, you should have a number of opportunities open to you. There is a reason people are flocking to this career path, it is one of the fastest growing jobs in the United States. By some estimates, the need for more dental assistants is expected to expand by about 25% before 2022.

andnbsp;6. Get some more schooling. After working in this area for a while, many dental assistants opt to go back and further their education. If you received an associate’s degree, you will have a leg up in this area. The credits you earned can be transferred to other programs such as a bachelor’s degree program. There is a bachelor’s degree that can be received in dental hygiene. This degree can open more doors for you.

There are a lot of reasons people are now looking at jobs such as being a dental assistant. This is an area that is growing rapidly. Americans care a lot about how their teeth look and are spending more time in dental offices all over the country. Aside from the obvious job security, if you like working with people, you can make a real impact in the experiences they have in dental clinics. The salary for these positions is only expected to grow in the coming years. This is also a space where you can make a difference.


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