Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Dental Assistant

If working in the dental field has always appealed to you, but the idea of years of dental school has not, dental assisting may be the right career path for you. Here's what you need to know about going to school to become a dental assistant. 

What Does a Licensed Dental Assistant Do?

A dental assistant takes x-rays, schedules appointments, and assists the dentist during procedures. They can work full or part-time, depending on the needs of the dentist and dental office in which they work. 

Do You Need School to Become a Dental Assistant?

Every state has different requirements for dental assisting, but all require a certification exam, which is much easier to pass after the thorough training received in a dental assisting program. While you may be able to find a dentist willing to offer on-the-job training, attending dental assistant school is often the more well-rounded path to follow.

What High School Classes Are Helpful for Dental Assisting?

While a dental assistant program does not require you to complete a four-year degree, taking college-preparatory classes, particularly in math and science, will be helpful in your dental assisting career. Additionally, if you have a high school that offers an internship or job shadowing program, it would be a helpful opportunity to explore. 

How Long Is Dental Assisting School?

Dental assistant schools typically offer a nine to eleven-month program designed to prepare you to sit for your state dental assisting exam. Some community colleges offer an expanded dental assistant program that includes both general education classes and business classes so that you earn a two-year associate's degree. 

Is There a Need for Dental Assistants?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that there is a growing need for dental assistants and that the outlook from 2020 to 2030 shows an 11 percent increase in the need for qualified dental assistants.  

What Is a Potential Career Path for a Dental Assistant?

While it is perfectly acceptable to spend your entire career as a dental assistant, some people prefer to work their way up the proverbial ladder. Depending on what state you live in, you may be able to segue into the role of an expanded function dental assistant, or EFDA, with additional training at a dental assistant school. This position allows a dental assistant to perform additional procedures, like administering nitrous oxide, placing temporary crowns, and applying fluoride treatments.

Alternatively, a dental assistant can study to become either a dental hygienist or even a dental laboratory technician.  

Dental assisting is a growing profession that offers many opportunities and the chance at a fulfilling and rewarding career. Contact a company like Chairside Dental Academy for more information.