Saturday, April 21, 2012

Training for Dental Assistants

There are few careers that have as positive a growth percentage predicted through 2020 as those in healthcare services. At higher than 35 percent, dental assistants are among the career choices that can have you working in the field as soon as one year, and in some cases, even less than that.


Before one can be employed as a dental assistant, there is the prerequisite of achieving a high school diploma. Students intending to go from high school to work in the dental field would be wise to prepare early by completing some science courses first, such as biology, health and chemistry. Knowledge of computers will be expected for use within the office environment. Whether taking accelerated training or opting for a 2-year associate's degree, it is helpful to have this kind of a head start.

Program Curriculum

There are at least 250 approved dental assistant training programs accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA). This is critical to be able to qualify for the state exams administered through the ADA Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations. Written and clinical exams will test students on dental science, radiology, pathology, anatomy, pediatric dentistry, four-handed dentistry, chair-side procedures and equipment handling, for a partial list of subjects.

Post Graduate Training

Once certified, most states do not require dental assistants to obtain a license to work unless there is a plan to advance the skills to perform the duties of taking dental x-rays. Radiological procedures require a special license. There is still the need to obtain on-the-job training to become familiar with office procedures, despite how these may vary from office to office. Experience is the best way to grasp a working knowledge of the terminology and to become acquainted with the dental equipment.


It is best to check with your state when it comes to licensing as each state has different requirements to earn and keep your dental assistant license. While some states may only require a few courses be completed, others may require continual re-certification of knowledge. This would be accompanied by a minimum number of study hours in order to maintain a license.

Students who have taken the initiative to accomplish a 2-year associate's degree and then acquire on-the-job experience set themselves up beautifully for advancing or even crossing into higher paying positions. As with any career in the healthcare industry, dental assisting can be a rewarding choice in itself or a useful stepping stone to prepare for further career advancement. The dental sciences are advancing rapidly with the technological advances that are always occurring. This, along with continuing education, makes the choice of dental assistant a wise choice for a quick start and a path to multiple options into the future.

Article Source: Jan Karpiak


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