You have decided to pursue your new career as a dental assistant – you know you can do it and you know that you have scores of choices in colleges, levels of education and areas of expertise.
You probably even have a pretty good idea of how those different levels of proficiency can affect your range of potential income as well as provide you with the comfortable level of challenge that you will be happy with.
Now you know that you want to become a dental assistant, and you certainly have questions that need to be answered. So, first you will want to find out how to become a dental assistant.
You Hold The Power
Don’t forget for one moment that there are a plethora of options available to you. You know what you need to take hold of the best decisions for your life style. You know how it needs to fit into your schedule.
By now, you probably know if you want to do it mainly through online courses or in the classroom at a college, or how much of each. That’s good, because now you get to choose the route you want to take to become a dental assistant.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Dental Assist?
This is one of those questions that we wish we could just have a cut-and-dried, straight answer to, but remember, you have so many options, and for each different choice you may make there are different answers to that question.
But the process of finding out the answer to the questions of how to become a dental assistant or how long does it take to become a dental assistant should not be like trying to pull teeth. That’s the dentist’s job.
The Quick, General Answer
Once you decide which area of expertise you would like to concentrate on you can begin getting your answers. In general, though, and depending on your focus, one might say that 9 months is a decent ballpark average in which you can become a certified dental assistant.
You may be choosing an associates degree in a more specific field though, which means that you could be looking at closer to two years, depending on the level of commitment you are able to make
Take into consideration, too, that there are many colleges offering accelerated programs, so if you feel comfortable with the minimum education required or the quickest route, you can also finish your schooling in less time.
As you make your decision just keep in mind the likelihood of more education and training qualifying you for a higher salary and more job flexibility.
Variations From State To State
This news is both exciting and surprising, and also explains why one can’t simply say it will take you exactly this or that many weeks, months or years to become a dental assistant.
A large factor in your decision of how far to take your education may also be influenced by the different dental assistant titles from one state to the next and how much dental assisting flexibility you can participate in a given state by law.
So, in a small recap now; you know what you want to do, you know what type of educational structure is going to fit best into your current lifestyle and present obligations, and now you will find out what is available to for you to achieve within the state you will be launching your career.
Your next step is to find out the legal minimum requirements that are in place for your state. More importantly, you will seek out how high you can reach in your dental assisting career. That’s where are you now.
It’s time to explore an array of achievements that you may be able to reach for in your locale and, thankfully, you will find a choice of many colleges to help you answer those questions.
Choosing Your Education By Choosing Your Expertise
Depending on your state, you may be able to become a trained and certified dental assistant or one who reaches for more specialized training that will make you a more appealing candidate for employment.
One qualifying criterion often required by dentists is the ability to perform coronal polishing procedures (the cleaning and polishing of crowns), as it frees up much more time for the doctor.
A highly sought after level of dental assisting is to be qualified in restorative functions. This is a broad term that enables many different tasks and duties, but closely referring to saving teeth through fillings, crowns, root canals and the like.
Restoration procedures are touched upon in any dental assistant college, as is coronal polishing training, but many dentists seek out assistants with a higher level of expertise and certified qualifications.
A certificate in radiologic proficiency may be required. Basic knowledge of radiology will always be taught to a dental assistant in training but within specific fields further knowledge and adeptness in radiology are preferred, if not insisted upon. Making oneself stand out usually equals more opportunity and more pay.
You may find that your passion lies in working in the orthodontic environment. Many choose orthodontics because of the job fulfillment of participating in helping others feel better about his or herself through improving their appearance.
If that is your case, it would behoove you to opt for some specialized training at a school that will your enhance your opportunity to be hired within that very interesting field.
Speaking of the fun of helping others to feel better by looking better, you may choose to take the necessary training to do the teeth whitening at your dental office. This is not allowed in all states yet, but is likely to become more commonplace as the dental assistants are allowed to take on more responsibility under the doctor’s supervision.
With the spike expected in available dental assisting jobs it would not be surprising if that is a task that became one commonly done by a dental assistant.
More Specialization To Consider
It is incredible to see all of the extraordinary specializations possible within the field of dental assisting and it is exciting to know that there are colleges for dental assistants to become well-trained for each one of them. We will consider just a few more, very fascinating options.
An area of expertise that you may want to consider is dental sedation. The ability to share some of the responsibility of anesthesia with the dentist during delicate procedures, monitoring the administration of nitrous oxide, among other things, is a wonderful asset.
Monitoring anesthesia is a weighty responsibility and your abilities might easily put you at the top of the list of his or her potential employees.
The same could be said of the dental assistant specializing in fluoride administration. If this is an area that sounds attractive to you, make sure you find out early on in the interviewing process if the college you are considering for dental assistance training offers that specific instruction.
That goes for any distinctive branch of dental assisting you are likely to pursue.
It could be more your forte to be more involved in the restoration of teeth, meaning that you could be performing duties such as preliminary assessments of the oral condition, applying fissure and pit sealants, and more occupation in crown and bridge restoration.
If you can think of it, and it is allowable by law, there are appropriate dental assistant programs and colleges for it.
Words You Need To Remember
Choices, variety, action, ease, and timing are the concepts you should focus on now. (You will get to dental assisting terminology soon enough.) It is in your reach. Although there are many great colleges, some of the more reputable ones are known to have waiting lists, so don’t delay.
There are so many options available, you can practically mold your education around your lifestyle. You can count on a career that offers you remarkable variety, in areas of specialties and in the amount of hours you want to work.
If you find yourself dreaming of a new career, an increase in salary, job security, more fulfillment, challenge or appreciation, you are in luck. The timing is supreme for you to make it all happen to your liking, in your time frame and with your personal specifications.