How Long is School for a Dental Assistant?
A dental assistant is a professional who supports a dentist by doing administrative and clinical duties, such as greeting patients, scheduling appointments, taking X-rays, and sterilizing equipment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental assisting has the best career outlook in the U.S., with projected employment growth of 19 percent in the next five years.
One of the best parts of this career is that it’s accessible to most people, so if you’re a busy parent, it may be ideal for you. Learn more about the time it takes to become a dental assistant in today’s blog.
The Time It Takes to Become a Dental Assistant
There are various educational paths an aspiring dental assistant can take. Educational requirements vary by state, with some places requiring assistants to have a certificate from an accredited dental assisting program. Generally, the minimum educational prerequisites for dental assistants is a high school degree or GED.
Although requirements vary, some people become certified to improve their job prospects. Learn more about the different educational pathways to becoming a dental assistant below.
Choosing the Best Education Route to Become a Dental Assistant
High school/GED: Finishing high school takes four years, whereas obtaining a GED certificate takes three months. If you have a child who wants to become a dental assistant straight after high school, make sure they sign up for biology, chemistry, and anatomy classes; these courses will also come in handy if you’re an adult enrolled in a GED program.
Vocational school: Most students enrolled in a vocational dental assisting program can typically complete them in less than a year. Some programs take a few months; others use a 10-week format. Dental assisting programs require students to take courses that focus on infection control, chair-side assisting techniques, management of hazardous tools, processing digital dental radiographs, and more.
Community college: Dental assisting programs at community colleges usually last two or three years. Students must take numerous dental assisting classes, as well as general education courses. Although attending a community college to become a dental assistant is an excellent way to ensure you receive a well-rounded education, some people prefer an education that solely focuses on their future careers. Furthermore, some people may not have the time and resources to attend college for two or three years.
Dental Assistant Education Requirements in Utah
In Utah, a dental assistant can perform basic, supportive dental procedures under the supervision of a certified dentist. Every dental assistant must have a current CPR or Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS) certification. Budding dental assistants interested in operating X-ray equipment and performing dental radiographs need to complete certain courses accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).
Ready to Learn? Contact Dental Fundamentals School of Dental Assisting
Although there are many educational pathways to choose from, earning a certificate of completion from a dental assisting program can enhance your job prospects. At Dental Fundamentals School of Dental Assisting, we understand going to school can be difficult. Our students are only required to take two evening classes each week for ten weeks to graduate.
We provide one of the most hands-on training programs available in a 10-week format. Our campus is located in Salt Lake City. Schedule a campus tour today.