What Kind of Dental Assistant Schools Should I be Looking For?
If you decide that being a dental assistant is the job for you, then you can choose to get on the job training through an entry level position or go to school to get certified. People who choose the latter, often ask: "What kind of dental assistant schools should I be looking for?"
Before making the decision about where to go to school, you will need to know the differences between working as a dental assistant with or without being licensed, certified, or educated.
If you decide you want to be a certified dental assistant, you will do so by successfully passing an exam, usually one that gives you national certification, the Dental Assisting National Board's Certified Dental Assistant exam.
However, the requirements for qualifying for the licensing or certification are different from state to state. The certification received by passing the exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board is either accepted or required in 37 states. Before you can take this exam, you must have successfully completed a dental assistant program that is approved and accredited or have a minimum of two years of practical training.
Some schools make it their end goal to teach you everything you need to pass this exam. They may also help you get your CPR certification which is also a requirement for being certified. There are about 280 accredited schools across the nation, so you should be able to find something that is close to you and that addresses the regulations in your state.
In answer to "What kind of dental assistant schools should I be looking for?", you will want to take into consideration what they have to offer you after you have completed the program, as well as before and after you have taken and passed your certification exam. Since you are likely taking a course specifically to get certified, you want to be certain that this is the goal of the school as well.
Some schools will provide you with an internship once you have completed their program successfully. This will allow you to put everything you have learned to work in a real dental environment. This is a great way to put you at ease and get a real idea of what your job will be like once you are hired as a dental assistant in a dental office.
Although there are some basic duties that a dental assistant performs, there are also some variations. You may be required by the state you live in to have additional training or licensing to work with radiology. If so, you will want to find a school that will provide you with the education you need to prepare you for this part of the job as well. Depending on the type of office you work in, you may also be required to take care of patient billing, filing insurance claims, and more. Find a school that has the most comprehensive program possible.
A good dental assistant school will have small class size, instructors who are qualified, provide hands-on training and be accredited. They will teach you the theory and technical skills you need to be a successful dental assistant, but they can not teach you to be the right kind of person for the job. If you are, you will find this kind of work comes naturally to you!