Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions someone will make in their life. People interested in dental assisting should be knowledgeable about the industry and how to become certified in the profession. The first step to starting a career in dental assisting is to educate yourself about the job responsibilities. After making the decision to become a dental assistant, you should find a program that will teach you the skills needed to perform the job. After students have completed their program, they will be eligible to take the certification exam. Once students pass the certification exam, they will be able to secure employment as a dental assistant.
The first step in becoming a dental assistant is to research the career to determine if it’s something you would enjoy doing. Dental assistants assist dentists with a variety of treatments and procedures. A dental assistant is often the first person a patient will see. They might check patients in, set up appointments, and collect payments. They sterilize dental instruments and hand such instruments to the dentist during procedures. They also assist dentists with keeping the mouth dry using suction hoses during procedures. Dental assistants also process x-rays and maintain patient records. According to www.bls.gov, dental assistant make around $33,470 a year.
Finding Dentist Assisting Programs
After making the decision to become a dental assistant, you will need to find an accredited program that will teach you the necessary skills to perform the job. A dental assistant program can be completed in a short amount of time. Students will learn how to perform clinical and radiographic procedures. They will learn how to use medical equipment such as dental chairs, oxygen chairs, and x-ray units. Students will also learn how to perform the administrative and billing duties. Some programs offer internships where the students can receive hands on experience working in the industry under the direct supervision of experienced medical professionals.
Most dentists prefer their dental assistants to be certified. Certified dental assistants usually make more money than those who have not been certified. Dental Assisting National Board DANB offers a certification exam that is recognized nationally. This qualifies dental assistants to obtain jobs anywhere in the country. The certification exam is divided into three parts. These parts include radiation health and safety, infection control, and general chair side assisting. Students may take all three parts at the time or separately, but all three tests must be passed within 5 years. The cost of the exam is $375.
Finding a Job
After passing the certification exam, students will be qualified to find a dental assisting job. Certified dental assists will have a higher advantage over those who are not certified. There are a variety of ways for dentist assistants to find jobs. Internet job boards such as Monster and Career Builder have many available jobs in dental assisting. Many dental assisting jobs can be found in the classified section of a newspaper. Some dental assisting schools offer students employment services to help graduates find jobs.
Certified Dental Assistant Salary
According to DANB’s most recent Salary Survey, DANB CDAs earn a median salary of $18.60 an hour, $2.01 more per hour than non-certified dental assistants.