Dental Assistants play an important role in both the front office and the back office of a dental practice. They help patients feel welcome and cared for and assist the dentist with everything from exam room set up to even chairside help. This is why becoming a dental assistant is an excellent first step to entering the dental field. The training gives students a good understanding of the importance of dental hygiene, basic dental procedures and in depth knowledge about how a dental practice operates.
If you're interested in becoming a Dental Assistant, you should consider enrolling in Florida Career College's Dental Assistant Program. The Dental Assistant Program is short-term, allowing you to earn a Dental Assistant Diploma in as few as 10 Months.
This Complete Dental Assistant Guide will provide you with the exact steps that you can take to become a Dental Assistant in the State of Florida.
How to Become a Denal Assistant?
Becoming a dental assistant is an excellent first step to entering the dental field. The training is quick and offers a great overview of the different roles within a dental office. In fact, you can prepare for an entry-level position as a dental assistant in as few as ten months through Florida Career College.
Here are the exact steps that you need to take to become a dental assistant in Florida:
Step 1: Earn a High School Diploma
The first step to becoming a Dental Assistant is to obtain your high school diploma. This is so because many Dental Assistant Programs require students to have a high school diploma to enroll. That said, if you do NOT have your high school diploma, you still have options. FCC’s Dental Assistant Program allows you to earn your high school diploma while you train to become a dental assistant.
Step 2: Explore Dental Assistant Programs
The second step to becoming a Dental Assistant is to find and enroll in a Dental Assistant Program. There are many different schools that offer dental assistant training. Choosing the right program will give you the best chance at success. Be careful to choose a program that is accredited and has a good record of meeting those standards. Don’t be afraid to tour several schools before making your decision. The right school is an investment in your future so choose wisely. It is possible to be hired as a dental assistant without completing a training program, but very few dentists are willing to offer the on-the-job training required in Florida. Dental assistants who receive on-the-job training are limited in the functions they are allowed to perform within a dental office. For this reason, most employers like to hire someone who has undergone formal training and is ready to hit the ground running as soon as they are hired.
Step 3: Complete Your Dental Assisting Training
The third step to becoming a Dental Assistant is to complete your Dental Assistant Training and graduate from the Dental Assistant Program. Training to become a dental assistant can take anywhere from 10 months to 24 months, depending on the program that you choose. Take advantage of this time and practice your skills as often as possible.
The Dental Assistant Program offered by Florida Career College offers hands-on lab experience for students that will allow them to practice skills and gain confidence. The program also ends with an externship which allows students to put their skills to use in the real world and make valuable contacts that may be helpful during the next step.
Step 4: Begin Searching For a Dental Assisting Position
The fourth step to becoming a Dental Assistant is to find open positions. Different states have different requirements for dental assistants. Florida does not have any specific certifications or licenses required to become a dental assistant, but the functions a dental assistant may perform are based on their level of training. You should review the DANDB website for a complete list of what a dental assistant may and may not do.
Once you have successfully graduated from a dental assisting program, you are prepared to find an entry-level position. Graduates from Florida Career College have access to our Career Services team, who can help with updating your resume, practicing interview skills, and finding opportunities in your area. Many students are hired by their externship or referred to another opportunity if they can prove their skill and dedication.
Finding a new position can be scary, but with the right training and assistance, you can be prepared for an entry-level position as a Dental Assistant, Orthodontic Technician, Surgical Dental Assistant, Oral Surgery Assistant, Orthodontic Assistant, or Registered Dental Assistant.
What is a Dental Assistant?
A dental assistant is a trained professional who works under the supervision of a licensed dentist and helps a dental office operate efficiently. They help with tasks in the front office and also assist with some clinical tasks. Depending on the size of the office, a dental assistant may work at a desk all day, assisting with check-in and scheduling or a dental assistant may be moving from room to room ensuring tools are stocked and sanitized, patients are comfortable, and assisting the dentist with procedures. Dental assistants also provide chairside assisting where the help dentists perform procedures such as filling, extractions, cleanings, and other dental procedures.
At the front desk, a dental assistant helps with the following:
- Scheduling patients for their visit
- Greeting patients
- Verifying insurance coverage
- Stocking supplies
- Updating records
In the exam room, a dental assistant may help with the following:
- Sanitizing equipment
- Assisting chairside
- Performing x-rays
- Removing sutures
- Applying fluoride
- Applying sealants
Where Do Dental Assistants Work?
Dental assistants work in any type of professional dental office, assisting dentists and other dental office professionals with various tasks. Most people only think of a general dentist’s office, but there are many specialties in dentistry that may offer new and exciting opportunities for trained dental assistants. These specialty dental offices include:
Pedodontics: Dentists specially trained to work with children who may be experiencing a dentist’s office for the first time or who are too sensitive for a general dentist
Endodontics: These dentists specialize in performing root canals and are experts in the tissues that surround the tooth’s roots.
Oral Surgery and Implants: Oral surgeons perform any surgery needed on the oral cavity as well as implants.
Prosthodontics: Prosthodontics build crowns, bridges, and partial dentures
Orthodontics: Orthodontists help straighten teeth with braces and equipment.
The role of a dental assistant may be mostly administrative, working at a desk all day, or the DA may be on their feet all day, assisting dentists with procedures, restocking supplies, and disinfecting equipment. Each day is unique!
Do You Need a High School Diploma to Become a Dental Assistant?
Yes, you do need a high school diploma to become a dental assistant. However, you can begin training to become a dental assistant without a high school diploma. At Florida Career College, we have options to help you obtain your high school diploma and college diploma while you train to become a Dental Assistant. In as little as ten months, you can be fully prepared for an entry-level position as a dental assistant.
No High School Diploma?
We Have Options!
What Skills Do You Need to Have to Become a Dental Assistant?
Dental assistants provide a great service to a dental office, from greeting patients and keeping the front of the office running efficiently to doing all the small tasks that make a dentist’s life easier. For this reason, a good mix of both technical and social skills is required to do the job well. If you don't have the skills to become a Dental Assistant, no need to worry as FCC's Dental Assistant Program will provide you with the knowledge and skills that you need to succeed as a Dental Assistant.
Here are the skills that you should have or work on acquiring.
Dental assistants should be technically trained to:
- Understand the facial structure, the lifespan of teeth, and general dental hygiene
- Perform CPR
- Perform x-rays for a dentist to study
- Sterilize equipment to prevent the spread of disease
- Assist a dentist chairside with procedures, acting as another set of hands
- Take impressions of teeth for study and create casts for trays and mouthguards
- Apply topical fluoride
- Perform a pit and fissure procedure
The interpersonal skills needed to be a dental assistant may include the following:
Excellent communication skills. Acting as a dentist’s extra set of hands chairside is not easy, and it requires someone who is able to communicate well through words and reading body language. Dental assistants also need to be able to communicate with the dental hygienist in the office to ensure he/she has everything they need to do their job.
In addition to working with other employees in the office, dental assistants are constantly working directly with patients, helping schedule appointments, checking them in, and preparing them for their exams or cleaning. It’s important to be able to communicate in a professional and welcoming manner.
Detail-oriented. When dealing with people’s health, the small things matter. Dental assistants play a vital role in ensuring that each detail is looked after. Whether they are spending their time helping patients schedule their next appointment, checking insurance coverage, or handing the dentist tools during a procedure, a dental assistant should take their time to do the job right so no mistakes are made.
Driven. A good dental assistant is a huge asset to a dental office. They can play a role in every part of the office, and if they are responsible and highly motivated, they can help set the tone for the entire office.
If you don’t feel like you have these skills yet, it’s ok. These are all things that can be taught and practiced. A good training program will cover these topics and more and help you prepare for a career you can be proud of.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Dental Assistant?
You can train to become a Dental Assistant in as little as 10 Months at Florida Career College. Career training to become a dental assistant is short-term, allowing you to enter the healthcare field in less than a year.
An entry-level position as a dental assistant is the first step to working in the dental field. It gives a great overview of how the office works and the different tasks that need to be done to help it run well. Dental assistants do not diagnose patients or perform any complex procedures, but they do still use tools and equipment to assist the dentist they work for, and they must have a good working knowledge of dental procedures. Our Dental Assistant Program provides you with the knowledge and skills that you need to succeed on day one.
6 Reasons Why You Should Become a Dental Assistant
Dental health is important for everyone, and as technology advances, careers in healthcare are advancing and growing as well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates an 8 percent growth in open dental assistant positions over the next ten years, which is higher than many occupations.
The high need for more trained dental assistants is not specific to one state or town. With the right training and certifications, you can take this career anywhere.
Useful Knowledge & Skills
A person’s dental health is tied to their overall health. Are you taking good care of your teeth? The skills learned through a dental assisting training program will of course, benefit you if you decide to pursue this as a career, but it could also benefit you personally as you learn to take better care of your own teeth and health. Knowing the ins and outs of proper dental hygiene is valuable for you and your family.
Opportunities for Growth.
Dental assistants don’t just work in a general dentist’s office. There are many different specialties within the dental field, and dental assistants are needed for each of them. This provides plenty of opportunities to grow professionally. Some dental assistants may decide to specialize in one area and seek additional training to become an expert. This expert knowledge will only benefit you as you move deeper into the field. You never know where the right training may take you!
Great Work Environment.
Dental offices are typically open during normal business hours, meaning holidays and weekends off. Dental assistants are not usually expected to work overtime or odd hours. This makes this career field great for someone who needs a good work-life balance.
Most dentists also recognize the value of a good dental assistant and will offer competitive pay and benefits to keep them coming back.
Working in an office also allows dental assistants to really get to know the patients who visit the office. You may be the one to greet patients as they come in, help them fill out their paperwork, and prepare them for their exams. A dental assistant may also be the one to communicate the dentist’s final orders and help schedule the next appointment.
Some people don’t realize how important their dental health is until they lose it. Working as part of a team to help them get back to a healthy, happy smile can be very rewarding. Building relationships with patients, helping them feel comfortable, and watching as their smile is changed make this an ideal career for anyone who likes to help people.
You do not need a two or four-year degree to get started as a dental assistant. You can gain all the skills and knowledge you need for an entry-level position in as few as ten months. The dental assistant training program at Florida Career College provides students with plenty of hands-on experiences to put concepts into practice long before they meet their first patient. The program also ends with an externship where students go to work in a real office and gain the experience they can include on their resumes.
Florida Career College’s Career Services department also assists students with preparing a resume and finding job openings in their area to give them the best chance of getting hired as soon as they graduate.
How to Apply to FCC’s Dental Assistant To Become a Dental Assistant?
Applying to Florida Career College’s Dental Assistant program is simple.
Step 1: Check Us Out!
We want you to know exactly what you are getting into when you enroll at Florida Career College. That’s why we invite you to take a tour of the campus, meet instructors and students and take a look at our hands-on labs.
Step 2: Explore financial Aid Options.
If you like what you see, you can sit down with a member of our financial aid team to discuss your options to pay for your schooling. Financial aid is available to those who qualify. You may qualify for grants or scholarships that make going back to school more affordable.
Step 3: Enroll! It’s That Easy.
There is no application fee to apply. We offer ongoing enrollment, so you can enroll on the same day you take a tour and begin classes on the next start date. Even without a high school diploma, you can begin training to become a dental assistant. We have options to help you earn your high school diploma while you gain the skills and knowledge necessary to work in a dental office.
There’s no reason to wait to begin a career you can be proud of! Give us a call or fill out an online form to get started today!
Consider Enrolling in FCC’s Dental Assisting Program
Florida Career College provides the perfect mix of resources and support to help you get started in the career you want. Our focus on providing hands-on experiences to prepare students for real-life applications. Experienced instructors who have worked in the field are there to provide guidance every step of the way, from the first day in class to the last day of your externship.
Our hybrid model allows students the flexibility to manage going back to school with any other responsibilities. Daytime and evening classes are available, and students are only required to come to campus twice a week for in-person labs. Assignments, quizzes, and lectures are completed online from any device.
There’s no reason to wait any longer to start on a new path. If you’ve dreamed of a job you can build into a career, Florida Career College can provide the training and support you need to get there. Give us a call today to learn how you can get started in an entry-level position in the dental field in less than a year.
Enroll in Florida Career College's Dental Assisting Program today!