When you become a dental assistant after dental assisting training, you are well positioned to find a job in a dental office, assisting with patient care and the general tasks required of a dental assistant. Once you’ve worked in a dental office for a few months or years, you may be wondering about how to advance your career. Are there further opportunities for dental assisting? The answer is yes!

Female dental assistant working on laptop in dental office room. Dentist is in the background working.

Get Your Certification

Dental assistant training programs are comprehensive programs with classroom work, clinical practice, and externships that will prepare you to become a dental assistant. You will be able to work as a dental assistant after completing the training program. To become a certified dental assistant, you will need to take an exam after completing your program and receiving your diploma of dental assisting. Not every state requires a certification exam, but after two years of working, you will be eligible to sit for the Dental Assisting National Board exam. Once you are certified, more opportunities will open up for your advancement, as you will become eligible for more training in expanding functions and specialties.

Continued Education and Dental Assistant Training are Key to Advancement

Those who work in the medical and dental fields understand the need for continuing education and extended training. When you become a dental assistant through a dental assistant training program, you are ready to get started, but the field is always advancing in technologies and methods. Dental assistants can take courses to obtain additional certifications in coronal polishing, dental sealants, expanded functions, and radiology. In these programs you will learn specialized skills that will allow you to work in orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, oral surgery, periodontics, prosthodontics, endodontics, and anywhere else dental assistants are needed. Simply by sitting for your expanded functions certification, most dental assistants can expect an increase in salary and opportunities for advancement. There are additional certifications in restorative functions, preventative functions, and orthodontics for dental assistants as well.

Potential Career Options for Advancement in the Dental Field

As you continue to work in the dental field, you may consider opportunities for advancement beyond the expanded function dental assistant. With additional training, a dental assistant is well placed to become a dental laboratory technician who works with dental implants and dentures, a dental assistant educator who will help the next generation of dental assistants, or a dental hygienist who receives specialized training in cleaning teeth and helping patients learn to better care for their teeth. Becoming a dental hygienist will require an associate degree program with classroom and clinical experience, but dental assistants are well prepared to do well in these courses. If you want to progress further, some dental assistants are motivated to take on the years of additional study to become a dentist! This is a long term career goal which requires both a bachelor’s degree and a doctoral degree from an accredited dental school, but depending on your career goals, you may find that someday this could be something you want to pursue.

Entering the dental field by becoming a dental assistant can be the first step in a long and successful career helping patients care for their teeth. As you continue your training and gain experience, more doors will open for advancement and new career opportunities will be available for you to explore. Becoming a dental assistant is an amazing stand-alone career with great pay and benefits, and it can open the door for advancement opportunities as well. If you’re interested in learning more about training to become a dental assistant, contact South Florida Dental Assisting School today!