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dental assistant smiles while dentist does work on a patient. learning more about how to become a dental hygienist, assistant, or lab technician can bring clarity to your dental career search.
If you’re seeking a job in dentistry, you’re in luck; there are many fulfilling careers from which you can choose. While becoming a dentist is the most familiar, it can many take years to complete and is a big investment of time and money. Finding out more about how to become a dental hygienist, assistant, or lab technician may bring more clarity to your search.

If you’d like a career without the cost and time commitment required of a full DDS degree, you could consider one of these paths.

Check out our simple guide below for more information on how to become a dental hygienist, assistant, or lab technician.

How to Become a Dental Hygienist:

  • Job Description: As a dental hygienist, your job is to provide total oral health care for your patient; this may include examining gums and teeth for issues, cleaning teeth, and providing education and instruction on proper oral health care. You may also have other office duties as outlined by your dentist or dental specialist.
  • Education Requirement: 2 years of schooling from an accredited dental hygiene school. This will typically include lab experience as well.
  • Licensing: After you graduate, you’ll also need to get your dental hygienist license. Licensing varies from state-to-state, so be sure to check the local requirements for your area.

How to Become a Dental Assistant:

  • Job Description: As a dental assistant, you’ll be working directly with the dentist, as opposed to working primarily with patients. Your job is to help the dentists by preparing and handling instruments for procedures, cleaning and sanitizing instruments, and instructing patients on proper home care. Some dental assistants also help with paperwork, as needed.
  • Education: Roughly 1 year of instruction in a diploma program.
  • Licensing: Some licensing may be required in your state. Be sure to check out your state’s particular requirements.

How to Become a Dental Lab Technician:

  • Job Description: As a dental lab technician, you’ll be filling and preparing orders from dentists by utilizing a variety of sophisticated instruments. It generally requires a level of creativity and skill to create the crowns, veneers, and appliances for the orders.
  • Required Education: Generally a 2-year dental lab technician program should provide you with the necessary education and skills to get an entry-level job, though some practices like you to have some experience as well.
  • Licensing: It’s highly recommended to get licensed as a lab tech — even if your particular area doesn’t require it. Pursuing your highest level of licensing is a great way to move the needle in your career,

Regardless of your final choice, you’ll be choosing a great job in a thriving industry! When you’re ready, be sure to set up an account on DentalPost.net so you can find the perfect dental job in your area.


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We connect and educate more than 785,000 job seekers in the U.S. and Canada to build better places to work through teams that excel.

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