Program Spotlight: Becoming A Dental Assistant | MedCerts

Is Short-Term Online Career Training Right for You?

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 patient care.

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 ones who greet and seat the patients, setting the tone for the visit.

They make sure that patients are comfortable in the dental chair and help out hands-on during a procedure, completing tasks like passing dental instruments, keeping the patient’s mouth dry, mixing dental materials, and taking dental x-rays.

Dental assistants also process and sterilize instruments and may perform basic patient care tasks like taking preliminary dental impressions, applying fluoride or polishing teeth. They help educate patients on basic oral hygiene and may also assist 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 Dental Assistant certification 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:

  • Professionalism in Allied Health(2 weeks)

  • Infection Control in Dental Healthcare Settings (3 weeks)

  • Dental Anatomy, Morphology and Physiology (3 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 Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) certification through the American Medical Technologists (AMT) organization. The purpose of this exam is to demonstrate entry-level competence in basic dental assisting duties; it does not qualify candidates, however, for any advanced procedures or expanded functions in the role of dental assisting.

AMT's Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) certification program has been in existence since 1990. The program has been fully accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), a division of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence. NCCA approval is an independent recognition that AMT's certification process conforms to a prescribed set of rigorous credentialing standards. This certification also requires proof of completion of a hands-on CPR program.

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 certification training program and make sure you have everything you need to get started.

Portrait of Jennifer Zabel
Written by Jennifer Zabel
Senior Allied Health Program Developer

Jennifer Zabel joined MedCerts as the Senior Allied Health Program Developer in July 2022. Prior to this role, she was the Director of Clinical Administration at ECPI University and a subject matter expert in the development of MedCerts’ Dental Assistant program.

She holds her Associate’s of Science in Dental Hygiene, a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Sciences, and a Master’s of Science in Healthcare Administration. Jennifer is a seasoned dental professional with work experience as a Certified Dental Assistant, Registered Dental Hygienist, Dental Assistant educator, and academic administrator.

In her free time, Jennifer loves long walks on sunny days, sitting by an open window with a good book and a cup of coffee on rainy days. Her best time is spent with her family.

Published on September 7, 2021

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