So You Want to Be a Dental Assistant

If you enjoy working with people and are looking for a great job in a professional setting, you might want to consider a career as a dental assistant.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there will be a 19% increase in jobs for dental assistants between 2016 and 2026, much faster than the average growth for other occupations.  Here, we’ll answer some of the most common questions about starting a career as a dental assistant.

Q: What do does a dental assistant do?

A: Dental assistants are responsible for a variety of tasks that support dental offices.   This includes interacting with patients from making them comfortable in the dental chair, to taking x-rays, and helping the dentist during procedures.  In some offices, dental assistants are responsible for coronal polishing.  This involves cleaning the teeth to remove soft deposits, such as plaque. There are also administrative tasks that dental assistants perform such as keeping records of dental treatments and scheduling patient appointments.

Q: What do you have to do to become a dental assistant?

A: Most states require that dental assistants graduate from a dental assisting program and pass an exam.  Courses take place in the classroom and the lab, where students learn about teeth, gums, jaws, dental instruments, and dental procedures.

At High Desert Medical College (HDMC), we offer a quality educational experience.  Our faculty and staff are professionals in the dental field and provide a positive and motivational environment.  Our program will teach you anatomy, infection control, dental assisting procedures, radiography and imaging, and office management. Our Dental Assistant students are prepped for industry certifications through organizations such as the American Medical Certification Association (AMCA). We also provide our students with their X-ray Certification upon completion of the program.

Q: How long does it take to become a dental assistant?

A: Typical dental assisting programs take between 9 months and two years to complete.  At HDMC, we understand that not everyone can take classes full time.  We offer day and evening classes to accommodate busy schedules. Students can complete our program in as few as 33 weeks or 9 months, including externship. View our course catalog to learn about class formats, course length options, class schedules, and the time that is needed to complete our dental assistant program.

Q: What kind of classes do I have to take to become a dental assistant?

A: The classes you need to take to become a dental assistant are a combination of practical classroom courses and hands-on learning experiences.  At HDMC, we provide hands-on training with real tools that will give you the skills you need to be a dental assistant.  You will have the opportunity to learn and practice coronal polish techniques.  Our program also includes the latest on digital x-ray technology, using the Schick USB CDR Remote HS. At the end of the program, you’ll be required to complete an externship to put into practice what you’ve learned in a real dental office setting.

Q: How do I find a job as a dental assistant?

A: HDMC is committed to your education and to helping you find a job after you have completed your dental assistant training.  We provide job placement assistance to all qualified graduates.  Graduates from our program have been hired as dental assistants, office managers, patient treatment coordinators, dental billing specialists, dental sales reps, and dental lab technicians.

Q: How can I learn more about becoming a dental assistant?

A: The American Dental Association is a great resource to learn more about a career as a dental assistant.  If you’re ready to get started, take the first step by filling out our online interest form to schedule a career planning session today. We look forward to meeting you and introducing you to a new career in dental assisting.

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