How To Pick The Right Dental Assistant Program For You | Dorsey College

dental assistant program

How To Pick The Right Dental Assistant Program For You

If you are seeking a career in the Dental Healthcare field, but aren’t sure how to get started, a Dental Assistant program could be right for you.

A career as a Dental Assistant can be both rewarding and challenging.  In addition, in many cases, Dental Assistant training may be completed in a fairly short amount of time. As a profession, dental assistants work directly with dentists and patients in need.  A career as a Dental Assistant may also provide you with a sense of fulfillment as you are helping others.

The following guide provides useful information on the factors to consider and steps to take when choosing a dental assistant program. It's the first step toward pursuing a rewarding new career.

Benefits of Training in a Dental Assistant Program

Dental assistants should be excellent communicators.  In addition, Dental Assistants like variety in the type of work they perform.  After all, in the workplace, Dental Assistants can be found performing both clinical and administrative duties.

They should also have a keen eye for detail, exceptional dexterity, and provide support to dentists while patients are being treated. If you are worried that your skills in any of these areas may be lacking, don’t be discouraged.  They could be an area of focus for you as you undergo training in a Dental Assistant program. If you enjoy helping people, you might be interested in learning more about this hands-on career!

In addition, as compared to other medical or healthcare related occupations, Dental Assistants can enter the workforce very quickly. Choosing the correct program that matches your schedule, time, and availability is essential, of course.

Factors To Consider While Selecting A Dental Assistant Training Program

Let's look at seven pointers to help you choose a great dental assistant program.

#1 The Program's Duration

Different schools and programs may provide a wide range of options when it comes to training for a new career, resulting in a wide range of program lengths. Some schools may provide part-time instruction, which extends the training duration, while others provide a full-time program which is completed in a shorter amount of time. Before making a decision based on your schedule and needs, find out how long certain programs last.

#2 The Scope of The Program

Before enrolling in dental assistant training, all aspiring dental assistants should seek a curriculum that appropriately covers the skills needed to be successful on the job.  This may include dental anatomy, best practices in oral health, dental assisting practices and procedures, and dental office administration. Obtaining more info about course content from different dental assistant training programs before enrolling is a great approach to evaluate various programs.

#3 Preliminary Courses and Prerequisites

Some dental assistant training programs may require applicants to have certain training or to have finished a specific course before beginning their program. It is critical to look for this when considering your options.  If you choose a program with prerequisites, you will want to keep that in mind, so you know what you have to do before you begin your training.

#4 Career Services Assistance and Relationships with Local Employers

Before choosing to attend a training program, each aspiring dental assistant should think about how they may be able to help you once your program is finished. Does the school offer career services assistance to their graduates?  Do they have established relationships with local employers that can aid you in your job search process?  It’s important to note that no school can guarantee you a job after you finish your training, but you want to find one that will be a partner with you as you pursue your new career.

#5 Accreditation and Certification

When choosing one of the various training programs available today, be sure the school is accredited and approved by the appropriate agencies. Accreditation signifies that the institution's training satisfies all of the quality requirements for training and professional practice. You may also want to ask if the training programs prepares its students to pursue certification, and if so, which exams?  This information will be helpful to future Dental Assistants as they map out their career path.  While certification may not be required in every instance, it can certainly enhance a candidate’s chances of securing gainful employment in the field.

#6 Small Class Sizes

When you’re looking at various programs, ask about the size of the classes.  If you are attending a school that has large, crowded classrooms it may mean that you won't get the one-on-one attention from teachers that you'll need to gain the skills to work as a dental assistant. As a result, enroll in a dental assistant program with small class sizes where the teachers are able to provide students with individualized attention.

Dental Assisting Program Requirements

Dental Assistant programs may have prerequisites that must be met before you can begin your studies. Some schools may have more stringent standards for Dental Assisting programs, while others may be easier to fulfill.   Make sure you choose a program that is appropriate for you and meets your needs. Here are a few examples of general Dental Assisting program requirements you can come across:

-Interview for admissions and a career planning session

-Proof of a high school diploma or equivalent is necessary.

-Aptitude test for admission

-Completing an admissions application

-Completing the necessary enrollment paperwork

While a background check is not normally required for enrollment to a Dental Assisting program, an externship location may request one. Depending on the program, the number of entry examinations required could also vary.

Dental Assistant Work Environments

Dental assistants serve as essential members of the dental healthcare team, especially as many dentists hire many dental assistants who assist in keeping the office or practice running smoothly. Dental assistants may be found working in a wide range of practice settings such as:

  • Dentists in private practice
  • Oral surgery, orthodontics, and dental facial orthopedics are examples of specialty practices.
  • Schools, clinics, and other locations where public health programs are offered
  • Dental clinics in hospitals
  • Clinics at dental schools

Some Dental Assistant jobs may require a year or more of experience, so it’s always important to evaluate the requirements of positions that you are applying.  Make sure you satisfy the prerequisites for the position you're applying for in the job posting. If you've finished a training program, participated in an externship (as part of your training), and /or passed applicable certification exams, you may want to include these details as experience for specific jobs.

Get Ready to Pick the Right Dental Assistant Program

If becoming a dental assistant seems like a dream job, start looking for the top dental assistant school near you. Dorsey College offers a Dental Assistant program that can help you get on your way towards pursuing your new career.

Without a doubt, dental assistants play an important role in the dental healthcare field. They not only assist dentists daily, but their actions also benefit their patients. Furthermore, because DA programs are short, individuals may train in a quick amount of time and enter the industry right away.

If you are ready to begin your Dental Assistant program, contact Dorsey College today!

 

NOTE: The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and the Michigan Board of Dentistry are responsible for the licensing of individuals who want to practice dentistry, dental hygiene and advanced levels of dental assisting.  Students attending a dental assisting program offered by a private college that is not accredited by the American Dental Association are not eligible for licensure in the State of Michigan. Dorsey College is classified as a private college and is not accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation; graduates of this program are not eligible for licensure as a Registered Dental Assistant in Michigan. However, graduates of this program may challenge a certification exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. after completing 3,500 hours of dental work experience. Dorsey’s Dental Assistant Program includes the opportunity to sit for the Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) and the Infection Control (ICE) certification exams, which are two components of the Dental Assisting national Board (“DANB”) Certified Dental Assistant (“CDA”) exam. Graduates of this program may complete the third exam component necessary for DANB’s CDA credential, which is challenged after completing “a minimum of 3,500 hours’ work experience as a dental assistant, accrued over a period of at least two years (24 months, if employed fulltime) to a maximum of four years (48 months, if employed part-time) which employment must be verified by a licensed dentist.”