Choosing a Dental Assistant Program
If you have made the decision to become a dental assistant then you deserve a pat on the back. It doesn't matter if you are straight out of high school or have kids in high school and you are having a midlife crisis.
You can earn your license and certification to become a dental assistant in a year or two. In many cases you can do so at your own convenience, which is perfect for working adults with families to care for. For them, the traditional daytime classroom setting just doesn't work.
You may be wondering if you can become a dental assistant online. After all, there are many programs that you can complete via the Internet through accredited educational facilities.
This is a tricky thing because the educational facility you attend, online or off, must be ADA accredited in order for you to get state and or national licensing and certification.
You may attend a school that does offer online courses, seminars and classes but also requires a certain number of field hours.
Field hours would be time spent either in a vocational classroom set up to resemble a dentists' office, or an actual dentists' office itself. It depends on the program you are taking. Some have internships or work study programs where you can learn by watching and sometimes assisting real dentists and their assistants at work.
Hands on training is extremely important in the curriculum of dental assisting programs because you will be working with your hands a great deal and performing many different duties. For example one minute you might be scheduling an appointment and the next you could be taking a mold of a patient's mouth.
When selecting a dental assistant program, the first thing to check is accreditation. You don't want to get mixed up with a school that takes your money but isn't accredited in your state. Once you've found one or more accredited schools, the next step is choosing the right one for you.
You may also need to apply for financial aid, which can come in the form of grants, loans and scholarships. Also some programs let you pay for tuition costs in installments. You should also get to know the staff a bit before committing to a school, after all these are the people to whom you have entrusted your career education.
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