IBMC Articles

What it Takes to Become a Dental Assistant

There’s a high demand these days for dental assistants in dental offices across the country. Specifically, dental assistants are needed to help dentists with important procedures and ensure patients are as comfortable as possible while in the chair. Not to mention, for those who want to get into the dental field, becoming a dental assistant typically requires the least education and training. Still, it’s helpful to be aware of the steps necessary to become a dental assistant; these can vary from one state to the next, but the general guidelines are usually the same.

Enrolling in a Program

The first step to becoming a dental assistant is to find a reputable and accredited dental college; there are several in the Fort Collins area, if one wishes to attend school in Colorado. Many schools offer a variety of dental assisting programs, and they typically take between one to two years to complete, depending on whether full- or part-time enrollment is chosen. For those who already lead busy lives with other obligations (such as work or taking care of children), then finding a program that offers online courses may also be desirable.

Getting Licensed/Certified

Upon completion of an accredited dental assisting program, it will also be necessary to become certified or licensed in the state where one wishes to practice. The specific requirements for licensure or certification can vary from state to state, but most will require the passing of a paid exam. Once the exam is passed, the student will receive his or her license or certification, which will enable him or her to begin working in the field.

Landing a Job

Once licensed or certified, it’s time to put together a resume and begin applying for jobs at dental offices in the state where one is licensed. Because of the high demand for dental assistants, finding an entry-level position is generally not a very difficult or time-consuming process, though it will take some effort to put together a quality resume and find offices that are currently hiring.

Considering Further Education

Some dental assistants end up continuing their education while working full- or part-time to become dental hygienists or to take on other roles within the dental field. Typically, moving up in this sense will require a four-year degree from a dental or healthcare college in the Fort Collins area. Still, many would agree that the pay raise and increased responsibility are worth it.