Dental assistant training gets a lot of attention for being a fast-growing career, and for good reason. Dental assistants make a competitive salary, enjoy job stability, and won’t need to take on a large amount of student loan debt to complete a certificate program. The training to become a dental assistant is manageable and can get you into a great new career in a relatively short period of time.

Dental assistant in a patient treatment room smiling at the camera and wearing pink gloves.

What Does a Dental Assistant Do?

Dental assistants are different from dental hygienists. Dental assistants have a variety of tasks, including preparing the dental examination rooms, stocking supplies, preparing charts, taking X-rays, and scheduling appointments. A dental assistant will usually greet the patients, ensure their comfort, and assist the dentist during procedures. Unlike hygienists, they are not responsible for examining patients, cleaning teeth, or providing dental care. 

What Do You Need to Do to Become a Dental Assistant?

First, you will need to consider if dental assistant training is right for you. It may be helpful to speak with your own dental office about what goes into the career. Talk to the dental assistants about what they like about their jobs and they may even offer you the chance to shadow them. Determine if you have the right traits to be a successful dental assistant. You’ll need good communication skills, strong organizational skills, good concentration, and patience. To become a dental assistant, you will enroll in a dental assistant training course. The course will lead to a diploma or a certificate stating that you have learned the necessary skills. Some states require certifications, while others do not, but even in a state that doesn’t require certification, earning one can help you shine above the competition by demonstrating your ability to hit the ground running.

What Does Dental Assistant Training Look Like?

Dental assistant training will vary slightly from school to school. Some programs can be completed in as little as 12 weeks and will cost under $5,000. During the training program, you will likely have both clinical and classwork and will learn dental anatomy and physiology, dental charting, sterilization and infection control, dental X-ray techniques, instrumentation, dental materials, and details about clinical procedures. 

The curriculum will be comprehensive and include practical skills you will need to excel as a dental assistant. After you have completed the training program, job placement assistance is available. Dental assisting school graduates will benefit from the relationships of the program to the local dental community. Many dental assistant graduates will receive immediate job offers after completing the program.

If you decide to become a dental assistant and enroll in dental assistant training, you will be on your way to a stable, well-paying career. Dental assistant salaries vary by location, but are generally substantial and the need for qualified dental assistants is growing faster than 10% per year. You can begin a new and rewarding career without a long training program or incurring a lot of student loan debt. If this sounds like something you would enjoy doing, our training program will set you up for success. Contact South Florida Dental Assistant School today to learn more about our training programs and how to enroll.