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How to Become a Certified Dental Assistant

Apr 08, 2010

If you are looking for a profession that will give you security by always being in demand without requiring you to invest a lot of time and money into furthering your education, becoming a certified dental assistant may be ideal for you.

Not all dental assistants are certified and may learn their skills on the job. However, if you get the training you need to become certified, you will have greater opportunities for employment, because you will have the skills necessary to become an important and reliable member of a professional dental team from the time you are employed.

Where to Go to Learn to Be a Dental Assistant

You may be able to learn how to become a certified dental assistant by contacting your local community college or junior college. Many of these types of schools now offer programs that generally take one year to complete. Although there are normally no state requirements for specific education or training for becoming a dental assistant, this can change when there are advanced skills needed, such as those required in the use of radiology. Most of the one-year programs result in the award of a diploma or certificate.

There are also some two-year programs that result in an associate degree like any other two-year college program. They may also have prerequisites and are offered to only those people with a high school diploma. There are approximately 280 programs in dental assistant training offered in the United States that are approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).

You can also learn how to become a certified dental assistant online. Just go online and search for schools that are CODA accredited. This is a convenient option if you are employed and don’t have free time during the day to take classes but you are looking for a way of changing your career.

Other Issues to Consider for this Career

Although dentists are not required to hire a dental assistant who is certified, many states regulate the duties that a non-certified dental assistant is allowed to perform. This is one reason that you may want to consider taking a course so that you will be able to perform a wider range of duties.

In addition to taking an educational program to become certified, you will also need to take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) credential which is administered by the Dental Assisting National Board in the majority of the states. You must be qualified to take the exam either by graduating from a CODA accredited dental assistant program or by having a specified amount of experience in the field. You will also need to be currently certified in CPR.

Some of the pros of getting dental assistant certified include giving potential employers confidence in your abilities and becoming a part of a growing field that will continue to have more available job opportunities to create job security, as well as requiring a small investment of time in comparison with other career choices.

There are also some cons, such as not having much room for advancement. Before deciding to make the career change to a dental assistant, do your research to determine if this is the right job for you!

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