How to Become a Certified Dental Assistant [3 Important Things to Consider]

Feb 24, 2022

How to Become a Certified Dental Assistant

When it comes to the dental field, there are many reasons why becoming a dental assistant may be right for you. It’s an in-demand job, which means you’ll have significant job security. No dentist can work efficiently without a good dental assistant. There’s also a decent opportunity for growth in the field, as well as a high potential income. Wondering how to become a Certified Dental Assistant?


You’ll need to get certified before you can become a practicing dental assistant, so that’s an excellent place to start. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, so take your time and do your research before jumping in headfirst to your dental assisting role. Here are a few things you can expect.

1. Studying at a Good Technical College

Thinking about how to become a Certified Dental Assistant, you’ll need to get certified before you can become a dental assistant. Like many other careers, the first step to getting your certification is to go through the proper training. The requirements you’ll have to meet to become a licensed dental assistant vary based on what state you’re in, so you should research your state’s expectations.


Once you know what is expected of you to get your state dental assisting license, you must go to a qualified school. The school you go to has to give you the practice, training, and hands-on experience you need while also teaching in a way that works for you. 


A few more things you’ll want to consider before committing to any school include scheduling options, finances, class size, and program length, just to name a few. The most important thing to look for, though, is that they adequately prepare you for your dental assistant certification exam. 


When researching schools, look for a properly accredited program. That certifies that the course will help you gain all of the skills and knowledge you need to fulfill your state’s requirements. Ask around or talk to past students regarding the course to find out what they thought of it. Make sure that the course accurately provides the education they claim to, and that the students feel like they were ready when the time came to take the exam. 

2. Getting Certified

After completing all of your mandatory courses and training time, the obvious next step is to take your state dental assisting certification exam. Once you’ve done this, you will be licensed by the DANB (dental assisting national board), and you can begin practicing higher-level dental assisting careers. You can also use this license to prove to potential employers that you will be ready to start working immediately with only minimal on-the-job training. 


To get your state license, you must complete a certified course with enough credits to pass. After you’ve done that, you can take the licensing exam by the DANB. This exam involves general chairside assistance, radiation health safety, and infection control testing. Students must pass these three main parts with a total score of at least 400 out of 900 to move on with pursuing a dental assistant career.

3. Working as a Dental Assistant

After graduating as a certified dental assistant, the final step is to find a job. Having your certification and a set number of hands-on practice hours will start you ahead of other potential hires. That means that you’ll be that much more likely to get the job you want at a quality dental practice. 


You don’t want to take the first job that shows interest in you, though. You have to find the job that’s right for you, which means you’re going to have to consider several things, including salary, location, job security, and more.


As far as pay goes, the average annual salary of a dental assistant is just under $45k. However, that number is not set in stone, so you have to take care to know your worth and negotiate for the salary you need. The wages you can attain will vary depending on where you live and work. It’s also a good idea to look for a job with potential benefits. 


The location you choose to work and the people you choose to work for are essential to your long-term success and job satisfaction, so here are a few things to consider. Most dental assisting jobs will result in you working out of the dentist’s office, but that’s not the only option. Hospitals, clinics, dentistry schools, or other health-related locations sometimes hire dental assistants. 

Chattanooga College

So how to become a Certified Dental Assistant? There’s always a lot going on when you first enter the world of dental assisting. It can get overwhelming to evaluate all your options, so you should choose a school that adequately prepares you for your new career path and offers counseling to help you get started. We will be happy to walk with you on this journey if you take your dental assisting courses at Chattanooga College.

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