How to become a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants usually learn their skills on the job, although some receive training from dental-assisting programs offered by community and junior colleges, trade schools, technical institutes, or the Armed Forces.
In some states, dental assistants must be licensed or registered.
Educational Requirements for Dental Assistants in USA
While, in some states, dental assistants can work in the field without a college degree, in other states, dental assistants must be licensed or registered. They may be required to pass a written or practical exam.
Dental assistants are usually trained at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes, universities, or dental schools.
After completing a program that takes about nine to eleven months, plus an exam, dental assistants receive a certificate or diploma in dental assisting. Two-year programs offered in community and junior colleges lead to an associate degree. All programs require a high school diploma or its equivalent, and some require science or computer-related courses for admission.
How to become a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)
To become a Certified Dental Assistant, or CDA, dental assistants must take the CDA examination after they have completed an accredited dental assisting program, or have at least two years of full-time on-the-job training as a dental assistant.
The Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association is the agency that accredits dental assisting school programs, of which there are over 200 in the United States. Your chosen dental assistant education program should meet any nationally prescribed criteria.
Dental assistant training includes areas of study such as administrative tasks, patient care and lab skills necessary for your certification and to ensure your value to an employer. Most dental assistant education programs include practical instruction or provide supervised training in a dental office.
High school students interested in a future career as a dental assistant should take courses in biology, chemistry, health, and office practices.