How To Become A Dental Assistant Without Getting A Degree?
Let us first understand what a dental assistant is or does and then we shall talk about the qualifications needed to become one. Dental assistants usually deal with patient care, preparation and correspondence. A dental assistant may remain with the patient to help him or her prepare for a diagnosis or treatment, would process x-rays and might apply topical anesthetic, remove equipments or materials from the patient’s mouth upon instruction from the dentist and assist a dentist during any diagnosis or treatment but strictly as a facilitator. A dental assistant would hand over instruments or just do as a dentist says without actually operating on the patient.
Dental assistants do not clean teeth and gums. They do not examine the teeth or any dental ailments and do not interpret diagnoses or reports. However, they may act as the communicator on behalf of the dentist and correspond with patients.
Qualifications Of A Dental Assistant
There is no bachelor’s degree or associate degree for individuals to become a dental assistant. There are such programs for dental hygienists but not for assistants. However, there are some certification programs which some aspirants opt for. There are one year certificate or diploma training programs. There are two year associate’s degrees in technical and community colleges which one can opt for after high school. The third type of qualification is on the job training.
Regardless of what one does or signs up for, on the job training is mandatory. Without that, no one can become a dental assistant.
Do You Need A License To Become A Dental Assistant?
There may not be any requisites for dental assistants pertaining to a degree but some states need dental assistants to be certified and then licensed. The licensing requirements include a few accredited programs wherein an aspirant gets trained in dental assistance and thereon gets certified. Such programs include on the job training and some classroom training as well.
You can get more information about such programs and licensing requirements at Dental Assisting National Board. The requirements vary from state to state.
Signing up for an apprenticeship with a dentist and getting trained on the job while getting paid is the most common route taken by aspirant dental assistants.