How to Become a Dental Assistant: 5 Simple Steps

dental assistant

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

According to the BLS. as of September 2018, there are over 300 000 dental assistants working in the United States. The good news is that, still according to the BLS, the number will rise to an estimated rate of 18% between the years 2014 and 2024.

Now is a good time to become a dental assistant!

If you have had a dental appointment recently, chances are a dental assistant helped you, whether it was getting x-rays, learning how to clean your teeth, teaching you the treatment procedures, and keeping track of your cleaning files.

If you want a job where you can brighten up people’s days, helping them maintain oral health, and bringing smiles to your patient’s faces, then becoming a dental assistant is the perfect fit for you.

But how exactly does someone become a dental assistant? What education do you need, and what salary will you make?

In this article, we will cover registered dental assistant training and everything you need to know.

Let’s jump into it!

1. Complete High School Requirements

You must be a high school graduate or have a GED in order to enroll in Registered Dental Assistant Training.

2. Enroll in a Registered Dental Assistant Training Program

The training to become an RDA is through a dental assistant diploma or a certificate program, at either a community college or tech college.

These programs typically last one year, which is two to three semesters, and can cover classes such as:

  • Dental Pharmacology
  • Dental health education
  • Orofacial anatomy
  • Dental sciences
  • Dental radiography
  • Infection control
  • Dental materials
  • Dental office administration

Depending on the program, you will be covering all of these topics, or more.

3. Complete an Externship

In your program, you will learn in both classroom and lab settings, which is great for learning, but nothing teaches you better than where you can learn your new skills in an actual dental office setting.

Real dental assistant training happens when you are dealing with real patients and encountering many different problems that you learn to overcome while on the job.

4. Become Registered

Some states vary in the requirements to become a dental assistant. In most cases such as in California, you have to become a “Registered dental assistant”, which means you have to pay fees, do an exam, and complete an application.

Have a look to see what the local requirements are.

5. Find a Job

Now that you have the education and are fully licensed, it is time to get working! It’s a good idea to look for any sites specific to your field for salary data. These sites may have info on industry average wages, particularly if your field’s a rarer one.

Dental Assistant Summary

Now that you are ready to start your career journey as a dental assistant you may want to consider all of the related careers out there. We have information on how to become a medical assistant or even a pharmacy technician.

Questions? Call us now, at 1-877-CAREERS to get your new career rolling today!

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