The field of dentistry requires many different people to run successfully. In a typical dental office, you will find a dentist, dental assistant, hygienist, and a secretary or office manager. Of course, this is not including any janitorial staff, records keepers, and various other necessary personnel. Each person plays an integral role in the running of a dental office. If you are considering a career in dentistry, there are several paths to consider. Regardless of which path you choose, there is a specific process that must be adhered to in order to accomplish your goals. For anyone interested in becoming a dental assistant, there are more options available now than ever before. Where once, the only option was to complete a college degree in a classroom setting. Now, there are various certificates, degrees, and diplomas that can be attained. Also, there are now options available for online classes. There is also such a thing as a “mixed” class which part of it will be done online and the other part will take place in a classroom. Dental assistants are incredibly important and if you decide to become one, you will have a decent salary as well as the knowledge that you are helping people every single day. If you are not yet certain that you want to be a dental assistant or are ready to learn what steps you need to take, you will find all the information you need, here. Listed here you will find information about the types of classes you need to take, your options for taking those classes, what type of salary to expect, and much more.
First, let’s talk about school options. There are excellent choices for schools regardless if you choose a traditional classroom or a digital classroom. Consider, for example, the Dallas Dental Assistant School. As you can tell from the name, it is dedicated solely to training dental assistants. Because of this, you can expect to receive a fantastic education and to be fully prepared for your new profession. If you are not in Dallas and traveling there is not an option, do not fear, there is a school that is perfect for you. If you prefer an in-person classroom environment, take some time to research what is available in your area. The internet is an excellent tool that you can utilize for many things. Searching for a dental assistant school is no different. If you decide that an online course would be better for you and your current situation, all you need to do is alter your keywords in your search.
Before you make a decision on the best option for your schooling, there are a few things that you should decide. First, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of an online class as well as an in-person class and then compare them. This will not take a great deal of time, but it will be incredibly beneficial to making the best possible choice for you and your needs. Consider your current schedule, preferences, and what is available in your area. Many people find it helpful to make a list of everything they need and want from the class that they choose. This can include anything from proximity to flexibility and everything in-between. Your list will be entirely unique to you.
Most dental assistant courses take one or two years to complete depending on what type of certification you are pursuing. There are several different levels to choose from. You can go for an associate degree, a diploma, or a certificate. Many courses, especially the in-person ones, require some hands-on learning and training. Even some online classes require that you spend some time in the field to gain practical training hours. There are several topics you can expect to cover during your classes. These topics include dental radiography, dental pharmacology, dental materials, oral anatomy, dental office administration, and even CPR and first aid. Of course, not every class will be the same and some will differ a bit in the exact coursework required.
Regardless of where or how you obtain your training, there are some things that you can do to improve your chances of landing a job soon after graduation. One of these things is completing an externship. While there is never a complete and total guarantee of getting a job as soon as you graduate. However, completing an externship will improve your standings when applying. It is also an excellent way to gain additional learning experiences.
At this point, some students will make the decision to focus on a specialty. This includes, but is not limited to, maxillofacial surgery, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, endodontics, dentofacial orthodontics, and prosthodontics. Keep in mind that exact certification and licensing requirements vary by state. If you need this information, but do not know how to obtain it, you have options. You can contact your state dental board and inquire or you can visit the website of the Dental Assistant National Board. You will be able to find all of the information you need regarding licensing requirements. There is a certification through the Dental Assistant National Board for Certified Dental Assistant or CDA for short. Most students are required to complete this test. If you are required to take it, it is comprised of 320 questions.
In terms of salary, like anything else, it changes somewhat from one year to the next based on need and economy. In 2014 dental assistants made an average of $35,390 annually according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the same year, those in the 90th percentile made an average of $49,540 annually. Of course, salaries will be a bit different now and maybe different yet once you complete your class.
If you still have questions, the best thing to do is look to the Dental Assistant National Board or your state’s dental assistant board. The DANB has a website with a great amount of information readily available. Most state boards have their own websites as well. If you still have questions, reach out to one of these entities and ask all of the questions that you have been unable to find answers to.