Online dental assistant programs are available for those who want formal training as a dental assistant, but prefer an online environment rather than a ground campus. The time needed to complete a dental assistant program varies depending on the type of program. There are also choices in the type of documentation one can earn upon completion of the program. Finally, completing a dental assistant program offers choices in pursuing further certification and/or registration afterwards.
Online Dental Assistant Programs
Enrolling in a dental assisting program usually requires a high school diploma or equivalent and basic computer skills. Areas of study can include diseases associated with the mouth, teeth, and gums, increasing and maintaining dental health, the structure of the oral cavity, and the functions of the oral system. In addition, students also typically study the instruments dentists use. Current CPR certification is usually required for employment, but not required for completion of a dental assistant program.
Online dental assisting schools tend to have varied structures depending on the actual course requirements of the program. Some schools offer a hybrid program that combines online learning with an on-campus clinical program. Other online programs may not offer hands on training directly. However, they may offer support for students who want to gain hands on experience. Students seeking an accredited program should be sure to check the credentials of the online school, since most accredited programs include a minimum of some hands on training in a classroom environment.
Certificate, Diploma and Degree Programs
Students currently have flexibility in deciding what type of dental assistant program to pursue. Certificate and Diploma programs typically can be completed in as little as five months and in up to one year, depending on the school and the program requirements. Associate’s degrees in dental assisting are usually offered at local community colleges and take two years to complete. Online dental assistant programs offered through community colleges are usually completed through a hybrid program, which is a combination of online coursework and classroom lab attendance.
As the popularity of the dental assistant profession grows, more and more online programs are offered each year. Although there are technically no formal education requirements at this time, a formal education in dental assisting offers job candidates more marketability and more salary negotiating power. The online option creates opportunity for students who may not otherwise be able to further their education.