Becoming a dental assistant can lead to a rewarding career that will involve working closely with dentists and their patients. For those that would like to avoid some of the drawbacks of a traditional school, online dental assistant programs have become popular in recent years. Here is a closer look at exactly what to expect in these online programs, how long they will last, and what other certifications are required to enter into this profession.
What to ExpectThere are a wide variety of online dental assistant programs that are currently available today, and each has their own requirements, advantages, and disadvantages. Currently, most schools require a high school diploma while others look favorably on general education at an accredited college or university when it comes to the acceptance process. These schools typically offer students a 1-year program that combines the schooling and certification process. Some organizations offer 2-year programs that combine general academic classes as well as dental assistant training.
Curriculum and TrainingFor most students in these programs, the focus of the curriculum is to learn basic knowledge of every aspect of a dental office in order to assist dentists and their patients as efficiently as possible. This begins with basic medical training about oral health, and from there students will move on to a number of other specialties. Some of the coursework that students can expect includes radiology, dental appliances, dental tools, and biodental science. In addition to coursework that focuses on these sciences, students will also be given instructions on the basics of running a dental office. This may include everything from the proper sterilization of tools to the filing of medical paperwork.
Licensing and CertificationThe licenses and certifications that are needed change between every single state, and this is why each student must research what their own needs will be. In some states, assistants are allowed by law to carry out almost all of the duties of a dentist while other states require separate licensing for each individual task. Over 38 states now also recognize the Certified Dental Assistant certification which can only be acquired after completing an accredited program.
Some estimates now show that this field will grow by as much as 25 percent in the coming years, and this means that students looking to enter into the field of oral health should begin exploring their options for accredited schools today.