How to Become a Dental Assistant – Overview
The growing demand for quality dental care in the US makes dental assistants a popular career choice.
The dental field is also flourishing with research advancements and rising demand for preventive dental care.
If you are looking for how to become a dental assistant then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will see the benefits of becoming a dental assistant.
This article will also describe the steps to becoming a certified dental assistant in the US.
What Does a Dental Assistant do?
You must be eager to get into a certified dental assistant program. However, you should know what you are expected to do in this role.
As a certified dental assistant, you will be responsible for working under the supervision of a professional dentist.
You will be required to, assist in, and perform dental procedures, ensure the dental clinic runs smoothly, etc. You will be tasked with preparing the work area, handling the dental care tools, sterilizing them, etc.
Some states even allow dentist assistants to perform more advanced procedures, such as implanting dental crowns, taking tooth impressions, processing x-rays and so on.
You might also be required to take care of scheduling, record keeping, and billing.
What are the Career Prospects for a Dentist Assistant?
Dentist assistants are in high demand. This is especially true since a certified dentist usually requires two or more assistants to work efficiently.
As a certified dental assistant, you can expect to find employment at:
- Private dental clinics
- Specialty services (orthodontics, facial-dental orthopedics, etc.)
- Hospital dental clinics
- Schools, public health program sites, clinics
- Dental school clinics
How to Become a Dental Assistant | 5 Steps?
Now you know the basic expectations and prospects of working as a dentist assistant. Now, let’s take a look at the step-wise procedure to become a certified dental assistant.
1 – Get a high school diploma
If you plan to become a dental assistant right from school, you will need to acquire a high school diploma.
You should have proficiency in subjects like anatomy, biology, health sciences, and even office administration.
These topics provide the necessary background information you would need to use in your career as a future dentist assistant.
2 – Join additional training programs
Some states in the US require prospective dentist assistants to acquire certification from an accredited program.
This is because potential employers tend to prefer candidates with higher levels of qualifications. Simply do an online search for your state and you can learn about state-specific requirements to become a dental assistant.
3 – Enroll in the state-approved certification program
After getting additional certification, you will need to enroll in a program run by the Commission of Dental Accreditation (CODA) within your state.
These certification programs usually take one or two years to complete. This depends if you are pursuing an associate degree, diploma, or certificate.
This certification program teaches you everything you need to know about gums, teeth, dental instruments, etc.
Completing the certification program gives you an added edge over your peers and is highly beneficial when applying for employment.
4 – Complete licensing requirements
The next step to becoming a dental assistant requires you to complete licensing requirements. You can find specific criteria and application procedures by contacting your state dental board.
You can also choose to visit the official website of the Dental Assistant National Board (DANB).
This way, you can learn all you need about certification and licensure requirements to become a dental assistant.
Some basic requirements for completing the licensing process include:
- Graduating from an accredited certification program
- High school diploma or equivalent education qualification
- Currently undergone CPR training
Besides this, you can also strengthen your resume by completing the National Entry Level Dental Assistant test.
In addition, if you wish to become a specialist dentalassistant then you need to take acquire additional certifications.
5 – Apply for a job
Some dental assistant jobs may require you to have one or more years of experience.
Hence, always choose to apply for dental assistant jobs where even fresh graduates from dental schools are welcome.
This is a great way to gain entry into the industry. With experience, you can then choose to switch to a more feasible and comfortable position within your dental care service.
These are the simple steps, How to become a dental assistant in the US. Just like other jobs in healthcare, dental assistants need to be proactive, effective, and efficient in their jobs.
This ensures an accurate diagnosis and effective dental treatments for patients. It is highly advisable to work as an extern in a dental clinic setting prior to finding permanent employment.
This is a great way to hone your skills and become more competent than your peers. Dental assistants are crucial to ensure the proper dental health of the community.