If you’re looking for a career that pays a handsome salary and provides excellent medical and vacation benefits, then you may be wondering how to become a dental assistant. The path toward joining this profession is relatively quick and easy, although you will need to study hard to pass the final Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam.
Are There Any Prerequisites?
There are no official prerequisites that are absolutely required for students to take before they can become a dental assistant. However, it is an excellent idea to come to the table forearmed with knowledge in areas such as basic human anatomy and biology.
It may also be an excellent idea to take classes that reward students with basic knowledge of computer literacy and human psychology. Part of the job description of the average dental assistant involves basic appointment making and record keeping skills. And you’ll also need to know how to deal with patients, particularly those who may be nervous or even panicky when it comes to visiting the dentist for a procedure.
Are There Any Specific Schooling Requirements?
To become a dental assistant, you will need to complete a special training program that normally runs from nine to eleven months in duration. Most (but not all) such programs are specially accredited by the Committee On Dental Accreditation (CODA).
There is a wealth of choices when it comes to joining a program that will train you for a career as a dental assistant. At the time of writing, there are over 270 programs in various colleges, universities, and vocational schools that are officially accredited by the CODA.
In addition, you can also find training programs at various locations that are not officially recognized by CODA. However, if you attend one of these programs, you will have to arrange to take the CDA exam on your own. This will normally not be hard to do, since you need only contact your state Dental Board and show proof that you have completed the program.
What Type Of Certification Is Needed?
In order to work as a dental assistant, you will need to pass the CDA exam. This special certification is your proof that you have completed the requisite training and undergone all of the hours needed to qualify you as a member of this profession.
What Type Of Personality Is Needed?
People who possess strong written and oral communication skills, as well as a strong “bedside manner”, are ideal for this position. In addition, you will need to possess excellent organization skills, since a great part of the job description will involve storing patient’s dental and billing records, as well as the various instruments used by the dentist during procedures.
Attention to detail is a must, since you will be working very closely with the dentist during complex and sensitive procedures. An excellent “bedside manner” is a must, since you will normally be the one who greets patients on the telephone as they call to make appointments and when they walk into the office. A dental assistant wears many hats, but the payoff is well worth the extra responsibilities.