Are you looking to join college? Or do you feel stuck and unfulfilled in your current career and looking for a change?
It would be best if you considered becoming a dental assistant. This is one of the most interesting careers that offer you deep satisfaction, knowing that you are making a huge positive impact on others. The benefits of following this path include and are not limited to; amazing working conditions, the training takes less than a year, you are assured of getting a full-time job, and generous payment.
Read on to learn more about how to become a certified dental assistant.
The Requirements for Becoming a Dental Assistant
A dental assistant career starts with training. Before that, you should have a high school diploma or equivalent. It is recommendable that you specialize in Chemistry, Biology, and anatomy while in high school, as this prepares you for the training ahead of you.
The dental assistant schooling requirements differ from one state to the other. In some, the trainees get one-on-job training from the hygienist or dentist.
Moreover, some states do not have minimum criteria for qualifying as a dental assistant. Others require you to be registered or certified before working in this field.
Why Do You Need Training?
Dental assistant training provides you with the necessary skills so you can become eligible for certification. The training program takes about a year before completion to get a diploma.
You may also choose the long route by attending a two-year training program. With this, you will get an associate degree that entails other courses like Math and English.
Upon completing the training, you can sit for the national examinations, either before or after employment. While it is not a requirement, including the examinations in your resume gives you a competitive edge when applying for a job.
Dental Assistant Certification
While not every state requires you to undertake certification examinations, doing it is a great way to prove that you have mastered the essential skills to become a reliable employee.
The most trustworthy credentialing organization is the Dental Assisting National Board. Being a member of this organization gives you a leg up during job application as potential employers are likely to trust you more.
The certification program can take up to two years, depending on whether you are taking a certificate, diploma, or associate degree.
During this course, you will learn the essential aspects of a dental assistant career. Also, if you wish to work as a specialized dental assistant, you will be required to pursue a different certification course.
The Cost of Becoming a Dental Assistant
The dental assistant programs are a bit expensive but worth it. The fee in most colleges and universities ranges at $20,000 per semester. This bill does not include learning materials, books, and lab fees. This can prove to be expensive by the time you are done with training.
However, the good news is that with the rise in online education, you can now learn your diploma at a much affordable price. Even better, you learn from the comfort of your home, so you do not have to worry about accommodation or commuting fees.
However, it would be best if you were keen when selecting a dental assistant school to ensure you select a reputable and reliable one. Studying from an uncertified school renders your diploma or certificate useless. Meaning you have to redo the entire program to become a certified service provider.
What’s more? The school should be open and transparent about the costs to avoid last-minute surprises.
You can identify a good online dental assistant school by checking online reviews or asking for recommendations. The facility should be willing to prove their certification and don’t forget to consider how long they have been offering the services.
Dental Assistant Pay
The dental assistant field is among the fastest-growing careers. You are therefore assured of good pay provided you have the necessary credentials. Even without the certification, you will still get decent pay.
Reports show that dental assistants in the 90th percentile and above earn an average annual salary of $58,390 while those in the bottom 10th percentile earn an average annual salary of $28,940.
It is critical that you consider the job description to establish if you meet the minimum requirements before applying. Check if the employer expects you to have a state license or not to determine if the job post is right for you. This will save you from making too many failed applications.
Dental Assistant Duties
The primary role of a dental assistant is to set up and break down the tedious tasks in a dentist’s office. The aim is to make work easier for the dentist or dental hygienist, depending on the role description.
The duties may vary based on the training level. But some of the specific roles of this service provider include;
- Sterilizing dental equipment
- Taking x-rays
- Assisting the dentist or dental hygienist during procedures
- Making patients feel comfortable pre, during, and post-dental procedures
- Guiding patients on dental care and oral hygiene after an operation
Depending on the dental assistant’s certification, they may help with sealant application, dentures, and teeth polishing. Be keen on the job description to ensure you are fit for it before sending your application.
Are You Ready to Chase Your Dream Career?
Dental assistant jobs are among the few careers that do not necessarily demand formal training. But it would help if you took the initiative to better yourself and increase the chances of making it to the top.
Now that you understand the requirements of becoming a dental assistant, you are at a better place to decide if it is your rightful career. Also, you will have an easier time finding and enrolling in a school.
Be sure to take your time to search for an online school you can fully trust and embark on your journey to a career full of bliss.
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