How to Become a Dental Assistant in 5 Steps
The demand for quality dental care is growing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 18 percent by the year 2024. This means that between now and then, nearly 60,000 jobs will open up to prospective dental professionals.
It is no wonder why the field of dental assisting is flourishing. Each year, more research is done in dentistry, leading to an increased demand for preventive dental services. Each year, more people gain access to healthcare due to the federal insurance reform. And as the large baby-boomer population ages, so does their need for corrective dental treatment – So does their need for dental assistants.
If you dream of becoming a dental assistant, there is no doubt that now is the time to pursue your career. The question, however, lies in where to start. How do you become a dental assistant?
There are various pathways you can take to achieving a career in this in-demand field, but which one will offer you the best job prospects? When discussing the future of dental assisting, the BLS said it best: “Dental assistants with advanced certification or training will likely have the best job prospects.”
The following five steps will help you impress potential employers, prepare you for certification, and become a dental assistant in less than a year time.
- Pursue your education – Many states today require their dental assistants to graduate from an accredited program, as well as pass an exam. Accredited dental assisting programs typically include both classroom and laboratory work. These programs take about one year to complete. At Stone Academy, you can take all of your dental assisting courses in as little as ten months.
- Get hands-on training in an externship – To land a job in dental assisting, you must obtain some level of hands-on experience in the field. An externship through your dental assisting school can give you this. Through an externship, you will learn on-the-job skills and demonstrate them on real patients in an active dental practice. You will acquire proficiencies valuable to your career.
- Develop the qualities of a dental assistant – From your externship and your dental assistant program, you will start to recognize and develop the qualities that make a great dental professional. You will learn the importance of organization, listening, and interpersonal skills. As you learn specific dental protocols and infection control procedures, you will become detail-oriented and aware of your surroundings. As you gain hands-on experience, you will also learn the significance of dexterity in the field of dentistry.
- Complete state certification or licensing requirements. Dental assistant certifications and licensing requirements vary state to state. Many states only allow dental assistants to practice certain procedures or use certain equipment if they have certification from the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). To earn certification from the DANB, applicants must pass an exam. The DANB requires that applicants graduate from an accredited program or have a high school diploma, have the required amount of experience, and have current certification in CPR.
- Land an entry-level job. Steps 1 through 4 should get you to the final and perhaps most rewarding step of all – a job as a dental assistant!
By attending a dental assistant school, completing an externship in the field, passing the certification exam, and developing the qualities of a dental assistant, you will be well on your way to a prosperous future in the field. At Stone Academy, this can all be completed in twelve months – ten months in our college’s classrooms and clinical facilities and two-months in a hands-on externship at one of the leading dental practices in Connecticut.
Your path to becoming a dental assistant is practically paved. Your future is bright. Why wait? Call Stone Academy at 1-800-585-1315 to learn about our dental assistant school in CT.