If you enjoy taking care of people and you’re looking for a lucrative and rewarding career, consider becoming a dental assistant. It’s a growing field that’s expected to add 23,400 jobs by 2029, and you don’t need any prior healthcare experience to get started.
Dental assistants work side-by-side with dentists and hygienists in offices all over the country and the world. They offer support during procedures, assist with administrative tasks—and make sure treatment rooms are clean, comfortable and ready for patients.
Why Become a Dental Assistant?
Dental assisting is an exciting career with plenty of variety in the day-to-day. Dental assistants are often the people who welcome patients as they walk into the office, setting the tone for the visit.
They make sure that patients are comfortable in the chair and may help out hands-on during a procedure, completing tasks like keeping the patient’s mouth dry with a special instrument.
Dental assistants also sterilize instruments and do basic patient care tasks like taking dental impressions, applying fluoride or polishing teeth. They help educate patients on basic oral care and may also help with questions about billing or scheduling appointments.
As compensation, dental assistants earn a median pay of about $40,000 per year, which works out to just under $20 an hour.
What Sort of Training Is Needed?
You don’t need a college degree to become a dental assistant. Some states allow you to learn on the job, while others require you to complete a post-high school training program and pass a certification exam.
Even if it isn’t required in your state, formal training and certification will make you a more qualified and in-demand candidate.
What’s Dental Assistant Training Like at MedCerts?
MedCerts allows you to train for a career in dental assisting in as little as 14 weeks. There are five primary course components:
Customer Service Professional (1 week)
Infection Control in Dental Healthcare Settings (3 week)
Dental Anatomy, Morphology and Physiology (4 weeks)
Dental Assisting Essentials (3 weeks)
Radiation Health and Safety in Dentistry (3 weeks)
All coursework is fully online, so you can study from anywhere at any time. Classes are fully interactive with immersive simulations, animated 3D images and gamified learning to keep you engaged.
If you need any help, student success advisors are available on request to answer your questions. Whether you need help logging in or don’t understand the material, you’ll get the one-on-one support you need.
Once you’ve completed the program, you can sit for the three components of the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) certification. The NELDA consists of three component exams: the Anatomy, Morphology, and Physiology (AMP) exam, Infection Control (ICE) exam, and Radiation Health Safety (RHS) exam.
Full NELDA certification requires that additional requirements be fulfilled beyond MedCerts training including a minimum of 300, and up to 3,000 hours of dental assisting work experience accrued over at least two months and no more than three years. MedCerts does not coordinate placement for this experience whether through externship or direct hire employment. This certification also requires proof of completion of a hands-on CPR, BLS, or ACLS program. A list of approved programs can be found on www.danb.org and include such providers as American Heart Association, American Red Cross, American CPR Training, and many more
The MedCerts program costs just $4,000 out of pocket. Exam fees, books and materials are included. A monthly payment plan is available for those who need it.
Want to Get Started on a Dental Assistant Career?
The first thing you’ll need to train as a dental assistant is a high school diploma or GED, an internet connection and a device with a web browser.
Once you have those pieces in place, it’s time to reach out to a MedCerts representative. Professional education consultants at MedCerts can help you enroll in the Dental Assistant training program and make sure you have everything you need to get started.
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