Understanding Dental Assistant Requirements
Before you can work in a dental office as an assistant, it is important to know the dental assistant requirements of your state. Each state is different when it comes to what they require of individuals in this position.
Some states require dental assistants to graduate from an accredited two year program that is approved by the ADA, or American Dental Association. Other states are less strict and permit dental assistant schools with year long or eighteen month programs.
Some have state exams that you have to pass in order to get licensed. Others do not require state exams but the assistant still has the option to take the national CDA exam if available in their state.
As a dental assistant, it will be your job to help the dentist and dental hygienist with a number of different tasks. What you will be doing varies widely from office to office, and from state to state.
You may schedule appointments, prepare equipment and rooms for patients, take impressions or molds of patients' teeth, collect patient data, take basic vital signs and much more.
In some states, you are allowed to perform any task your supervising dentist asks you to do, while in other states your tasks are limited by your education. Hygienists usually have a higher level of responsibility than assistants, thus they make a higher salary.
It is important to have the right education and training before going to work as a dental assistant. Some of your education will take place in the classroom, while the rest will be taught on the job, or in a job simulation. So much of the training you need is hands on.
This is why many dental assistant programs also have internships and work study programs with local dental offices. Students get to learn at the side of actual dentists and working dental assistants.
To find out more about dental assistant requirements by state, try an Internet search. You can probably find out your state's requirements online rather quickly. The ADA, or American Dental Association, is another destination where you can learn about jobs in the dental industry and various requirements.
And, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics can give you national up to date information about dental assisting as a career. This includes job outlook and salary as averaged across the country.
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