Choosing the Right Dental Assisting School
Becoming a dentist requires years of schooling and practice. Many people decide it’s not for them, so a career as a dental assistant may be more accessible.
Fortunately, some programs provide comprehensive instruction and prepare students for every aspect of the profession, from patient care to administration office duties. Some, like Penn Foster’s dental assisting program, offer externship support to help graduates find employment opportunities.
The cost of obtaining a degree or training can be a significant obstacle, especially when considering dental assisting school locations. However, there are various ways to make attending these schools more affordable. One of the best options is to look into scholarships, which are often available based on factors such as grade point average, life circumstances, athletics, and financial need. You can find online scholarship search tools that make applying to multiple programs easier.
Another way to reduce the cost of dental assisting schools is to go with a certificate program instead of a full-fledged degree program. Many community colleges offer CODA-accredited Dental Assistant certificate programs that can be completed in just over a year.
These programs will include a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on clinical experience using study models and mannequins. It will prepare students for the certification exam most states require to work as a Dental Assistant.
With online classes, individuals can take lessons without traveling to a traditional classroom setting each week. It allows them to balance their studies with work or family responsibilities. It also saves them on travel costs, greatly benefiting many people.
In addition, students should look for dental assistant schools that offer smaller class sizes so that teachers can pay attention to each student and help them succeed. They should also check to see if the school provides financial aid to eligible students who need help affording tuition fees.
Attending a dental assistant school with a convenient location and schedule can make a big difference. If a program requires students to travel long distances for lessons every week, it can become very difficult to fit the training into their busy schedules.
Online certificate programs are often the most convenient option for students. They prepare students to take the DANB’s Certified Dental Assistant exam and are typically much less expensive than degree programs.
Another thing to look for in a good dental assistant school is that they offer flexible class schedules and, most importantly, provide opportunities for externship placements. It can help ensure that you can land a job once you graduate. In addition, students who attend licensed Dental Assisting programs are eligible for financial aid. See our list of schools that accept financial aid for more information.
The dental assistant field is one of the fastest-growing healthcare professions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an 11 percent job growth between now and 2028.
There are many ways to find a dental assisting school. Some offer online programs that can be completed in nine to eleven months, while others are provided as an associate degree program that takes two years to complete. These are typically available at community colleges.
There are also vocational schools that provide short training courses. These usually cost less than degree programs and often result in a certificate that can be used to apply for work as a certified dental assistant (CDA).
Students may also attend an externship with a dentist in their local area, which allows them to learn hands-on skills like handling medical supplies properly, performing X-rays, and scheduling appointments. The college that best fits your needs will depend on your location, budget, and desired career path.