What Are The Top Dental Assistant Schools?

DentalPost takes a look at the benefits, career prospects, and things to consider when choosing a Dental Assistant school.

The role of a dental assistant in the field of dentistry is growing. A dental assistant serves a key role in any dental practice. They engage in handling and sterilizing dentist’s instruments, passing them during the procedure, and exposing dental radiographs. Dentists rely heavily on the assistants’ invaluable help as a team member to provide quality patient care due to their exceptional level of skill and attention to detail.

Students need to complete an academic program before becoming a professional dental assistant. The goal of this education program is to train individuals on everything necessary to work in dentistry practice. The responsibilities include capturing and processing x-ray images, sterilizing instruments, managing patient records, and giving patients information about proper oral hygiene. Adequate training is required to equip you with these skills and enhance their competency.

How will you benefit from going to a dental assistant school?

When you are accepted to dental assistant school, you are on the track to be a trained professional. The schools provide an opportunity to learn the inside secrets of how to become a qualified professional in months. The courses are designed in conjunction with senior members of the profession to prepare students in the best possible way and make them ready for the work environment.

The courses offered in dental assistant schools are unique as they take a hands-on approach. They not only teach the theory behind the industry but also tutored by professionals to fast-track you into a new career. You also have a chance to study at your own pace whenever and wherever you are, with the online learning reducing the need to travel to classes.

These courses allow you to learn from experienced professionals with exceptional skills. When you enroll for the course, you stand to learn the technical skills needed to succeed in the entry-level job as a medical assistant. The program focuses on areas such as oral anatomy, radiography, pharmacology, dental office administration, and CPR. You may also train as a dental hygienist as a specialty course.

Attending a dental assistant school can train you to provide patient care in different ways. The schools offer certificate courses in a dental practice ranging from six to twelve months. The program is focused on the job training and home study on duties you will be expected to perform on the job. You can also enroll for an associate degree course that is similar to the certificate in content.

The design of these programs is focused on training students in the best way possible and make them ready for dental assistant careers. Several colleges in the United States with dental or health science schools offer these courses. When you enroll for a course in becoming a medical assistant, you will learn issues related to performing dental procedures, executing lab processes as well as offering advice on oral hygiene.

Career prospects from dental assistant schools

You should think of a dental assistant as more than just a job or a way of earning an income. Instead, see it as a chance to make a difference in the lives and health of people. This is more about saving smiles for a bright future. The popularity of dental assistant jobs is based on stability and ready market due to increased demand for trained professionals. The job position is also well compensated for their experience and dedication to the field of dentistry.

The American dental assistant job market is promising because people invest in annual or semi-annual visits to their dentists. Oral health is of utmost priority as an essential part of daily hygiene regimen, which is why people visit dental offices for more aesthetic purposes such as cleaning and veneering. As the baby boomer population ages and require good dental hygiene, there is an increased demand for the position.

Becoming a dentist is not the only way to help people keep their smiles in good shape. While dentists are at the forefront of dental work, they need reliable assistants to assist in delivering this vital work. In most cases, one dentist will require more than one assistant to help in their professionals, thus hiring several assistants to form a dental team for effective patient care.

What to consider in dental assistant schools

Before selecting a school for a dental assistant course, you have to put into consideration some important factors. The first thing to consider is whether the institution provides clinical and medical experiences. You should look at the type of courses offered in the college, including whether there are year-round classes and flexible scheduling.

Secondly, you might want to consider whether the institution offers online courses for the dental assistance program. This is because it is convenient to take an online course and study from home instead of taking traveling to a classroom. The online programs for dental certificates can be flexible — often allowing working professionals the ability to juggle between working and learning.

Perhaps the most important thing to consider is whether the dental assistant school is accredited to be offering the program. The American Dental Association has the mandate of accreditation for institutions offering these programs. Graduating from an accredited institution is the first step of anyone who wants to practice as a dental assistant in the United States.

Another factor you can consider when selecting a dental assistant educational program is the time you are willing to commit. Consider the duration of a certificate program offered in an institution and whether it suits your schedule. There are some programs that are designed to complete quickly while others will take you up to two years before you graduate from school.

Lastly, if you are looking into dental assisting as your next career move, consider looking at several schools with a reasonable job placement rate. You can search online for the ratings of a particular school, including its instructors’ experience and whether they provide an extra level of support and attention. In short, some schools have better job placement than others.

Curriculum programs

Formal education programs for dental assistants mostly culminate in a certificate or associate degree. The courses provide for dental assistance programs include infection control, patient interaction, oral anatomy, and chair-side support.

Certificate programs

The certificate programs train students in all areas of dental assistance before they are tested with the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam. If you take a certificate course, you participate in both lectures and laboratory activities. The certificate course entails topics such as dental radiology, practice management, dentistry techniques, and dental insurance. After going through the program, you will graduate with real-world experience through job training opportunities. It is the standard education for much dental assistance and is sufficient to meet the requirements needed for professional certification.

Associate’s degree program

You can also enroll in an associate’s degree course and train for a job as a medical assistant. The degree program focuses on preparing students for the CDA credential exam. The duration for an associate’s degree program is between 18 and 24 months as it includes general education requirements. After that, you get a license before becoming a registered dental assistant (RDA).

All dental assisting programs cover the same basics regardless of whether they result in a certificate or associate degree. The courses commonly teach dental anatomy, medical terminology, dental radiography, and practice management. When you join a dental assistant school, you receive practical training in dental care. These programs prepare students for all aspects of the field, including patient interactions, x-ray development, and assisting with dental procedures.

A practicum with dental practice is part of the curriculum at many schools, including online dental assisting programs. This practicum’s purpose is to ensure students have real-world experience before graduation and make you ready for an entry-level job as a dental assistant or dental lab technician. During an externship program, you have a chance to hone your skills and work on perfecting your communication skills needed to be an effective assistant.


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