Dental assistants perform essential duties in the dental office: they provide both direct patient care and office administrative duties including meeting people, ordering supplies and equipment etc. To begin a career, aspirants have to complete education (special courses or programs) and obtain a dental assistant certification. In this article we are going to talk a bit about the assistant job description, education and certification procedures and other interesting things to know about the profession of dental assistant.
Dental assistants are responsible for dentist’s workplace preparation (sterilizing and organizing medical equipment, cleaning mobile devices, handling instruments and making treatment records in patient files). Depending on the clinics they work in, assistants can also do the paperwork and perform office administrative functions. In case of additional training, dental assistants can take direct part in cosmetic dentistry procedures.
Education and Dental Assistant Certification
It takes approximately from 6 to 12 months to get a certified dental training in order to be a competitive applicant on the job market. The accredited programs and courses usually cover the basics of dental anatomy, radiology, terminology and assisting itself. Dental assisting certification sets the minimum requirements for graduates entering dental industry. These tests are nationally recognized and are used in the states which require passing them. However, there are areas where you can start working as a dental assistant having corresponding education only. Although, if you obtain dental assistant certification you increase your chances to get a better job place and proceed with your further medical education. The exams are administered by the Dental Assisting National Board. To learn more about these contact the Board or get a consultation at your educational establishment.
There also exist online programs and training courses for those who want to get a dental assistant certification. These are not accredited by CODA, yet can be an excellent educational option for those who plan to get certification through work experience. As a rule these programs offer from four to six months of study online and are offshoots of the accredited college courses. Some of the internet programs may offer in-person laboratory practice (it is required for graduation).
If you have regularly attended classes, did your homework and passed the internal college tests, you have nothing to worry about the certification exam. Normally, the college program for dental assistants provides information which will be asked in the test. The certification itself consists of three blocks. The first is a general one, it covers the basic program and comprises 120 questions. The second part is a block of multiple choice questions (100) referring to the infection control. The last one deals with radiation health and safety questions (100).
There is also an orthodontic exam which consists of 210 multiple choice questions and an office administrator test that focuses more on the paperwork, proper record tracking and other receptionist duties.
Although the certification is only required in certain states of the USA, a successfully passed test will be always an excellent addition to your resume. It will make you a competitive aspirant on the job market and will open new opportunities and perspectives in your future dental career.