Becoming a dental assistant is a fairly quick and easy process, but one that will require dedication, study, and hard work on your part. Here is a quick overview of the process by which you can meet all specialized dental assistant requirements and become a fully accredited professional in this rapidly expanding profession.
Becoming An Accredited Dental Assistant
There are a fairly large number of methods by which an individual can become a dental assistant. Most prospective dental assistants will reach their goal in a relatively short period of time (usually nine to eleven months) by attending a certified program at their college, vocational school, or a dental institute. Once you have graduated from the program, you will normally receive a certificate.
Your training program needs to be specially accredited by the CODA (Commission On Dental Accreditation). This is the special division of the ADA (American Dental Association) that handles these matters. At the time of writing, there are over 270 programs of accreditation at various institutions in the United States for students to choose from.
It is also possible to receive on the job training from a professional dentist, although such individuals will still need to pass the official accreditation exam to become fully licensed.
Getting Certified To Work In This Profession
Getting certified in order to join this profession will require you to pass a special examination that is administered by the DANB (Dental Assisting National Board).
This special test is known as the CDA (Certified Dental Assistant) exam. This is the examination that you must take in order to assure the DANB that you meet all of the state and national dental assistant requirements, and are thus competent to perform all the tasks required in this profession.
Accreditation procedures will vary from state to state. It is an excellent idea to research the exact dental assistant requirements that are mandated by the state in which you live, as they are subject to continual revision.
What Sort Of Personality Best Fits This Profession?
A person who expects to thrive in this career will need to possess certain very important personality characteristics. The work that you perform will be very detail oriented, as you will be assisting the dentist in very critical procedures each and every day. You will need to have an excellent attention span. No two patients have the exact same needs, so you will also need to possess an ability to respond quickly to change.
You will need to have a very cooperative personality, especially as you will be working in very close quarters with the dentist each and every single day. You will need to be quick to respond to specific requests that the dentist makes, as well as the needs of the patient who is undergoing the procedure.
It is an excellent idea to develop a friendly, cheerful “bedside manner”. You will need to pay close attention to the needs and wishes of the patients you meet. If a patient is in a bad mood, or is experiencing anxiety or a panic attack, you will need to do everything in your power to calm them down and relax them. A person that can maintain a friendly, outgoing, and fully professional attitude is an ideal candidate for this position.