Finding a dental assistant training program to suit your needs as a prospective dental assistant is arguably the most important part of your career leading into finding employment. Throughout high school you learned the basics, whether you graduated last month, last year, or last decade. Those basics will serve you well during your dental assistant training, but you certainly need more work before you start a career as a dental assistant.
A high-quality dental assistant training program typically take one to two years to complete, and is a rigorous examination of the skills necessary to find employment as a dental assistant. These programs are taught at community colleges, technical institutes, and career colleges around the country. But with so many programs available, how to you know which one is best for you?
One way to know if your dental assistant training program is of good quality is if your school is accredited. Accreditation is an official endorsement from an educational group that the school’s education meets their criteria and standards. If your school is vouched for by an accrediting body, it is one sign that your school has the quality you’re looking for.
Accredited dental assistant training programs include a combination of classroom and lab work where students learn about teeth, gums, jaws, and other areas of the mouth, as well as other areas that dentists work on. In addition, dental assistant training includes training on the various instruments and processes dentists employ to clean teeth, fill cavities, and other procedures they perform.
Is dental assistant training right for me?
If you aren’t sure if you want to pursue dental assistant training, perhaps it would be helpful to discuss the qualities that many dental assistants possess. If you have these qualities, then a career as a dental assistant, and dental assistant training, may be right for you; if not, you might want to consider passing on dental assistant training and consider another career path.
Typically, it is helpful for dental assistants to be detail oriented. It’s important for dental assistants to follow explicit instructions exactly, and there are many rules and regulations that dictate how certain things must happen. If the dental assistant fails to follow those protocols exactly, it could be harmful to the patient and may result in corrective action taken against the dental office.
Attention to detail is also important for a prospective dental assistant considering dental assistant training. Scheduling appointments and working with patient records are a regular part of the job. If details are missed, it could adversely affect the office’s business if appointments are missed and patients are upset and inconvenienced. If records are lost or improperly kept, it could result in other costly mistakes.
Next, interpersonal skills are another quality vital to the success of someone entering dental assistant training. As a part of their everyday experience, dental assistants work with their co-workers and patients, often at the same time. It’s important they display skills that show professionalism and even temperament at all times. Also, patients undergoing sensitive procedures often experience anxiety, and the assistant who can sense that nervousness and help to alleviate it is at an advantage.
Listening skills are another inherent dental assistant training quality. Assistants who can listen to the patient’s needs and relay important information to the dentist will prevent issues and increase productivity. Also, listening to instructions from co-workers and supervisors of paramount importance.
Finally, organizational skills will help to ensure that office tasks are completed in a timely manner, and that important documents and files are not misplaced, and that co-workers are able to locate them when they need to. This is an important aspect of dental assistant training, one whose importance to everyday work cannot be understated.
There are a lot of components to dental assistant training, and it certainly is important to know as soon as you possibly can if you will get the full benefit from your dental assistant training, or if it is simply not the right career track for you. There are many skills involved in dental assisting, and if you don’t have them, you shouldn’t force your way into the career. There are other options available. But if you do have them, dental assistant training can lead to a rewarding career that you might love.