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How to Become a Registered Dental Assistant

Sep 30, 2010

If you are not prepared to spend the time and money needed to become a dentist, you may decide to settle for the next best thing. You can learn how to become a registered dental assistant and be an invaluable tool to the dental team.

Benefits of Becoming Registered

Although there are many dental assistants who learn their skills while working from an entry-level position, there are benefits to be gained from becoming registered. To do so, you will need to get some formal education by graduating from a program in dental assisting that has been accredited by the American Dental Association and must also meet the state's requirements where you live.

Many people have gotten on the job training as dental assistants without any education or certification. The time you have worked as a dental assistant cannot qualify you for registration. An ADA approved program is required where you will have classroom components as well as laboratory and clinical instruction. Depending on the state where you live, you may be required to have a license or become registered in order to work as a dental assistant.

While licensure requirements vary among the states, you will have to pass an examination. You should find out the requirements of your state and whether they require you to pass an exam that is specific for your state. You can probably find the information you need on how to become a registered dental assistant in your state by searching online.

What to Expect as a Dental Assistant

Some people confuse a dental assistant with a dental hygienist who is licensed to perform other clinical duties such as cleanings. As the name implies, it is the responsibility of the dental assistant to assist the dentist while working on patients. As a dental assistant, you will also take care of the instruments by sterilizing them and laying them out before being used. The patients' records will also be your responsibility. Being a dental assistant is normally a low stress job although there may be instances where patients will become upset over the care they have received.

Why You Should Become a Registered Dental Assistant

Most states don't require dental assistants to have any formal education or be licensed, but there are some benefits to becoming registered. For one, there may be lots of opportunities for employment in this field, but there are also lots of potential employees to fill those spots. An applicant that is registered is ready for the job and the dentist will not have to devote as much time to getting them up to par. That means a registered applicant will stand out in the crowd and have a better potential to be hired.

Some states require dental assistants to be registered before they can perform certain duties. The more you can do, the more desirable you are as a candidate and the more money you are capable of earning.

The dental assistant has the advantage of being in a field where the demand never declines and the demand is expected to grow by a significant margin over the next several years. Although there is no real potential for advancing once you have become a registered dental assistant, you can use it as a stepping stone to furthering your education and obtaining a position that requires higher skills and offers a higher pay scale.

Being a dental assistant may be the career that you will be happy with for the rest of your working life or it may be the opportunity to find out if the dentistry field is everything you always thought it would be. Either way, it is a position that is filled with potential!

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