Many people are looking up information on how to become a dental assistant, and aspiring to become dental assistants because of the lucrative opportunities. As a matter of fact, this profession is among the selected careers that are not affected by any collapse in the economy.
Most people who want to become a dental assistant like this career option because of great earning opportunities, the chance to practice a noble profession and to work in a nice environment. The profession is even attractive to those who are well oriented in technology because this career often involves innovation and use of new technology.
If you want to know how to become a dental assistant, just follow the simple steps below.
1. Understand the Duties of Dental Assistants
Like any other career, it pays well if you fully understand your duties. Many people are confused between dental assistants and dental hygienists. Bear in mind that these two have different roles. Dental hygienists are focused on the preventative oral care of patients, while dental assistants assist the dentist in carrying out small but crucial tasks.
The dental assistant’s main responsibility is to help the dentist in taking care of the dental health of the patients. Specifically you will be tasked to:
- Prepare dental tools and equipment for particular dental treatment
- Record and maintain files of dental patients
- Assist the dentist in taking teeth impression and preparation of casts
- Assist the dentist in creating temporary crowns
- Assist the dentist in removing stitches
- Manage the day to day operations of the clinic
2. Evaluate Your Skills
If you think you can handle the responsibilities that are involved in becoming a dental assistant, you need to evaluate yourself to discover if you have the required skills for the job. Some of the essential skills required in this profession are:
- Following Instructions – Most of the time, you will spend your work hours assisting the dentist during dental treatments. For example, you will need to stand by so you can hand over the required tools. Hence, it is required that you know how to follow instructions or else the well-being of the patient may be compromised.
- Interpersonal Communication Skills – Remember, you will serve as the client relations officer of the clinic so you need to interact with the patients regularly. This includes phone skills, because you will be tasked to answer calls.
- Time Management – You may also be tasked with proper scheduling of patients. Hence, you must be able to manage your time well as well as the availability of the dentist.
3. Begin Training for the Job
Once you assess your skills and you are convinced that you have what it takes to be a dental assistant, you need to undergo dental assistant training with an accredited school to help you with the requirements on how to become a dental assistant.
4. Pass the Licensure Exams
After completing the training for dental assistants, you need to take and pass the exam authorized by the Dental Assisting National Board for you to become a licensed dental assistant.
How long does it take to become a dental assistant?
The question “How long does it take to become a dental assistant?” is very common in medical professional forums. If you want to find the answer to this question, you need first to decide what kind of dental assistant you want to become. There are clinic assistants, dentist assistants, medical billing specialist, radiology assistant and many more. However, the job description can be done by one professional under the title of dental assistant so you may need to have enough knowledge of these things.
Becoming a dental assistant requires less school time compared to registered nurses and physicians. The length of the training can range from six months to two years. Most dental assistants in the US obtained certification, and for the sake of discussion, we will focus on this area.
Dental assistants work in dental offices, clinics, and even large hospitals. The services they offer are significant to the modern dental care setting. These professionals often work in front offices, waiting areas and even in the operation room. More specialized dental assistants can work alongside nurses and dentists. If you want to become a dental assistant, you need to learn everything from clinical duties to proper patient care.
The certification process
The certification process for dental assistants will take at least one year, especially if you are planning to take up specialization such as radiology.
The path to becoming a dental assistant is looking for a suitable school, which has been duly accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools or the Commission on Accreditation of Dental Assistant Programs. There are technical and vocational schools that are offering these programs. Community colleges are also offering certificate programs, usually taking up to one year. The main advantage of getting diploma from a community college is that you have higher employment opportunities, which can be an advantage in the job market.
The dental assistant training offered by accredited schools are well monitored by several boards and organization of health educators to make certain that every course integrated within the program is crucial in becoming a dental assistant. The accredited dental assistant programs are also balanced when it comes to the time required for classes, hands-on labs and internships.
Hence, you can get the proper training you need. Furthermore, if the dental assistant training is superb, there’s a great chance of being highly employable.Aside from the certificate training, you also need to undergo hands on training through internship. You can do this either during the final phase of your training or after graduation.
After this, you need to take the dental assistant certification test offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) to obtain your certified dental assistant license. After this, you will be ready to apply for jobs and start your career as a dental assistant.
So to answer the question, it would take you at least two to three years including the internship program that you need to undergo for at least six months.
So, if you have read this post thoroughly, then you now know what it takes to become a dental assistant. So, comment below and let us know what you think.