To become a dental assistant is to help people maintain their oral health while earning a great living doing something you love. The best part is that becoming a dental assistant typically takes less time than entering other fields in the larger medical industry. To help ensure success, though, it’s important to understand the steps that it takes to arrive at your goal. Here is a basic outline of what’s involved in the process of becoming a dental assistant.
Understand Your Future Profession
As a dental assistant, you’ll help the procedures that take place in a dental office flow more smoothly. You’ll be responsible for preparing tools and supplies for procedures, cleaning up after the procedures are done, and keeping a close eye on the patients during the procedures. Additionally, you’ll be qualified to take impressions of patients’ teeth and take x-rays to look for potential hidden problems.
Enroll in a Great Program
If you think you have what it takes to become a dental assistant, your first step is to enroll in a quality dental assistant training program. These programs, often offered by local colleges and technical schools, will provide you with all the information and training you need to be successful as a dental assistant from your first day on the job. Given the popularity of dental assistant training programs, it’s vital to do your research before you enroll so that you don’t waste time and money on a lackluster program. Some assistant programs have practical experience as part of their curriculum, which could be beneficial for future job opportunities.
Build Some Experience
Once you’ve completed your training program, it’s a good idea to gain some real-world experience so that you can be sure to land your dream job. One great way to gain more experience is to take advantage of an externship at a local dental office. These programs are offered by academic institutions and by certain dental offices. In many cases, you’ll be paid at least a small amount while you’re completing training in your externship. Participating in an externship will give you the extra confidence you need to excel in your assistant position and branch out into other positions in the future.
Find the Perfect Job
After your many months of training and preparations, it’s time to find the perfect job. You’ll need to decide between various dental care environments that will determine how your day-to-day schedule will look. You can work in an academic setting, a private practice, a pediatric practice, or one of several other options. Be sure to discuss the terms of your employment with your employer right from the start and be willing to look elsewhere if you don’t get what you’re looking for.
Although there are certain situations where you can obtain a dental assistant’s job without the above-listed training, it will often be much more difficult. Additionally, you’ll be more prone to making mistakes if you don’t take the necessary time to prepare yourself properly. It’s best to be patient and take the time needed to be proficient in your skills so that you can excel and exceed your employer’s expectations.