Dental assistants are invaluable professionals of the dental team, who perform both chairside and office administrative functions. To become an assistant you don’t need any education or certification in the most US states, although in some of them a specific dental assistant training is required. Get to know more about training options, certification and perspectives of future dental assistants from this brief post.
Dental Assistant Training Options
Although many assistants get their qualification directly in the clinics, there exist many other ways to get qualification with the help of formal education. This has many benefits, since you will get a diploma and a certificate (if you will pass the national certification test). These documents will always be a great addition to your CV and will dramatically increase your chances to get a good job. Thus, one can get formal assistant training at technical institutes, vocational schools, community colleges or even Armed Forces. Usually these programs are short termed and last up to one year, although those colleges leading to an associate’s degree require two years to complete the course.
In order to succeed in formal dental education the aspirant may start taking biology, chemistry and healthcare classes when in high school. Having basic knowledge in these domains will definitely help during admission tests to the higher educational establishment. As a rule, these tests include both exams for general knowledge and health state check. When enrolled, students must be very zealous, since most of the dental assistant training programs require diligent approach to the studies. The traditional colleges offer both class lectures and laboratory work. Reputable educational establishments also give an opportunity to take part in internship (to work a certain amount of hours in the public or private dental clinics). Usually internship doesn’t exceed twenty hours per week.
Skills and Job Description
Specialized educational establishments perform excellent dental assistant training which prepares students to their duties in the dental team. Normally, dental assistants are very multifunctional workers: they are responsible for patient comfort, sterilize and organize the tools desk, assist dentist during procedures, clean and maintain mobile equipment and sometimes works as receptionists. Dental assistants can also produce temporary crowns and take X-Rays. Radiological procedures require special training and licensure on the territory of some states.
Certification and Salary
To become a certified dental assistant, an aspirant has to complete accredited program/courses or have two years of full time experience in the domain (or four years of a part time job). Moreover, to qualify for certification, the applicant must also have a certification in CPR. The certification exam isn’t difficult for those who had completed their studies and had enough experience in laboratory or clinics. The test itself consists of three parts: the basics, infection control, radiology and safety. The average salary of a dental assistant in the US is about $32,380 (as of 2008). The top 10% earn at least $46,150 per year.
With short termed dental assistant training programs it is easy to get the education of your dream today and start changing the quality of life tomorrow.