How to Become a Dental Assistant: A Comprehensive Guide
If you’re considering a career as a dental assistant, you’re likely wondering what steps you need to take to make that dream a reality. Dental assisting is a rewarding field that offers opportunities for personal growth, job stability, and a real chance to make a difference in people’s lives. This article will guide you through the steps to become a dental assistant, from education and certification to gaining hands-on experience.
Step 1: Obtain High School Diploma or GED
The journey to becoming a dental assistant starts with a high school diploma or GED. High school students interested in this career path should focus on science and health-related courses such as biology, chemistry, and health sciences to lay a solid foundation.
Step 2: Enroll in a Dental Assistant Program
Once you’ve obtained your high school diploma or GED, the next step is to enroll in a dental assistant program. There are several program options to choose from, including online programs, vocational schools, community colleges, and dental schools.
A program like 90 Day Dental Assistant offers a comprehensive curriculum in a flexible, self-paced online format. You’ll learn about dental procedures, dental anatomy, patient care, radiology, and office administration, among other critical skills.
Step 3: Complete Your Coursework and Hands-On Training
In your dental assistant program, you’ll complete coursework in both theoretical and practical aspects of dental assisting. You’ll also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through an externship or similar training program.
The 90 Day Dental Assistant program, for instance, includes filmed lectures and quizzes that cover all the necessary topics, with the added benefit of an externship coordination that provides practical experience at no extra cost.
Step 4: Obtain Certification
In many states, dental assistants must be certified to perform certain tasks such as taking x-rays or performing coronal polishing. The Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) and Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) are common certifications. To obtain these certifications, you’ll need to pass an exam.
Programs like 90 Day Dental Assistant prepare you for these exams, with an impressive 85% of our students passing the RHS exam on their first try.
Step 5: Find a Job
Once you’ve completed your education and obtained certification, you’re ready to find a job. Networking, job placement services, and even the dental office where you completed your externship are all valuable resources for job hunting.
At 90 Day Dental Assistant, we offer job placement assistance and resume writing courses, contributing to our 98% success rate of students finding a job upon completion of our program.
Step 6: Continuing Education
Dental assisting is a dynamic field, and continuing education is crucial for staying up-to-date with the latest technologies, procedures, and best practices. Many certifications also require ongoing continuing education to maintain them.
Becoming a dental assistant involves commitment, dedication, and a passion for helping others. It’s a rewarding career that opens up numerous opportunities within the healthcare industry. At 90 Day Dental Assistant, we’re here to help you every step of the way as you embark on this exciting career path. Enroll now, and take your first step towards a bright future as a dental assistant.
Step 7: Specialize for Further Career Advancement
After gaining some experience in the field, dental assistants might want to consider specializing in a specific area for further career advancement. Some choose to specialize in areas like pediatric dentistry, orthodontics, or periodontics. Specializing often involves additional training and certification but can lead to higher pay and more job opportunities.
Step 8: Never Stop Learning
The field of dentistry is continually evolving with advancements in technology and treatment methods. As a dental assistant, embracing a mindset of lifelong learning will not only benefit your career but will also ensure you’re delivering the best care to your patients. Attend workshops, participate in webinars, and stay updated with industry news.
At 90 Day Dental Assistant, we encourage and support our graduates’ commitment to continuous learning and professional development. By offering comprehensive and updated resources, we ensure our students are always at the forefront of the dental industry.
Step 9: Join Professional Associations
Joining professional dental organizations, such as the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA), can provide numerous benefits, including access to continuing education programs, networking opportunities, and career resources. Moreover, being part of such organizations helps you stay connected with the dental community and remain updated with industry changes.
Step 10: Cultivate Essential Soft Skills
Becoming a successful dental assistant goes beyond technical abilities. Soft skills such as good communication, empathy, teamwork, attention to detail, and strong interpersonal skills are equally important. These skills not only help in creating a comfortable environment for patients but also facilitate smooth functioning within the dental team.
Embrace Your New Career
Embarking on a career as a dental assistant offers a world of opportunities. Whether you’re fresh out of high school or looking to switch careers, the path to becoming a dental assistant is accessible and rewarding. With an increasing demand for dental services, the need for qualified dental assistants is expected to grow, offering excellent job prospects for those entering the field.
Remember, at 90 Day Dental Assistant, our mission is to help you succeed in your career. With our comprehensive, flexible, and self-paced program, you’ll have everything you need to kickstart your journey to becoming a dental assistant. Join us, and let’s create a future where every smile matters!