How To Become A Dental Assistant
There are many fantastic career paths to choose from in life. Some take longer than others to achieve, but all take time and effort. It is important to find a career path that you are passionate about so that you are willing to put in the necessary effort. The road to a successful career is most often incredibly long and bumpy, but the end result is well worth it. Many careers are rewarding in one way or another. One excellent and rewarding career is that of a dental assistant. The road to becoming a dental assistant has many steps, but each one is achievable as long as you are willing to give it everything. The first step is knowing what each additional step and how to achieve them. This is the information that you will find here. There will be details regarding all of the primary steps that must be taken in order to become a dental assistant as well as how to take each step.
The first thing that you must do is research your options and decide whether you want to continue towards becoming a dental assistant or switch slightly to become a dental hygienist. Many people mistakenly think a dental assistant and a dental hygienist are the same things. There are actually quite a few differences. The primary difference to consider is that a hygienist deals with administering local anesthetics and other similar procedures and an assistant does not. Also, a hygienist generally has a higher salary than an assistant does. If you choose to pursue the path of a dental assistant now, you can also choose to advance to hygienist later. Many of the steps are the same, there are simply more to become a hygienist. The reason it is important to make this decision now is that it will affect some of the first steps that you must take. It is worth repeating that if you start out becoming a dental assistant and later decide that you want to be a hygienist, all you will have to do is continue your education a bit. Also. During this part of the process, it is a good idea to research the dental offices in the area where you intend to work. This includes entry positions and ultimate goal offices. The best way to get the information that you need is to search the internet, particularly if you intend to work somewhere other than where you currently live. A simple internet search is all that is needed. An excellent example of a simple search is “Roseburg dentist”.
The next step is to seek the necessary education. First, you must decide if you want to obtain a certificate, diploma, or an associates degree. How long it will take is entirely dependent on which of these things you choose. Obviously, the degree will take the longest, but it will provide the most knowledge of these options. Any of these will be adequate to start you on the path to becoming a dental assistant. Depending on which of these you choose, it can take between one and two years. Most colleges and technical schools offer some version of these courses. During the course of your educations, you will take classes on oral anatomy, dental materials, dentally related pharmacology, first aid and CPR, dental radiography, and dental office management. Some states do not require you to complete any academic courses before applying for the position of a dental assistant, but even in these instances, it will invariably give you an advantage over your opponents.
After you graduate with your chosen achievement you can move on to the other steps, but there is one more step that can and must be accomplished while still in school, externships. This is a voluntary extra part of the class. While it is not necessarily required, it is highly recommended. Externships provide an excellent experience, real-world experience that you will need when you are ready to enter the workforce. During an externship, you will spend time in the field so to speak, working directly with dentists and patients. You will not be able to get the same level of experience in a classroom only. There is one thing that you need to do before heading into an externship and that decides if you want to specialize in anything and if so, what your focus will be. There are several options for a specialized focus. One popular focus is pediatric dentistry. Generally speaking, children take a slightly different skill set. There are several reasons for this, their teeth are still developing, their mouths are smaller, and they tend to have more fear and anxiety when visiting the dentist. Another popular focus is orthodontics. There is also surgery and several others including general dentistry. Once you know what you want to focus on in your studies, you can pursue this focus in your externship.
After you have finished your externships and your education, you will need to become certified by the Dental Assistant National Board. To get this certification, you will need to take an exam. This is a 320 question exam with a maximum of 900 points to score. To pass the exam, you will need to score no less than 400 points. This exam will cover all of the basic information that learned during the course of your education. It is also a good idea to take the National Entry Level Dental Assistant test. This is an excellent stepping stone and will provide an excellent addition to your resume. If you intend to go into a specialty, you may need to undergo additional examinations directly related to your specialty of choice.
Finally, it is time to look for your first job. Keep in mind that, especially starting out, you will want to apply to multiple dental offices. There is no guarantee that you will get your dream job right off of the bat. As a matter of fact, you will likely need to gain job experience with smaller offices before you can land your dream position. Later on, after gaining experience, you may choose to seek additional education. An advanced degree will help immensely in the long run.