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What Does it Take to Become a Dental Assistant?

Dental Assisting is a growing field with lots of opportunities to help people while working in a healthcare setting. But before you jump in, you might be wondering: what does it take to become a dental assistant?

We are going to break down some commonly asked questions about dental assisting so you can decide for yourself if this is the right career for you. 

How Can a Person Become a Dental Assistant?

The answer, like many things in life, is… it depends! There are a few different paths you can take and each one takes a different amount of time. So, let’s dive in:

  • On-the-Job Training: In some states, you can actually find dental assistant jobs that offer on-the-job training. This means you would learn as you go, working alongside experienced dental assistants and dentists. On-the-job training can be a good option if you like to learn by doing, but it might take longer to find a job this way.

  • Certificate Programs: Dental assistants can also complete a certificate program at a vocational school or community college. These programs typically take anywhere from 9 to 12 months to finish. They’ll teach you the skills and knowledge to be a dental assistant, like dental anatomy, sterilization procedures, and assisting dentists during procedures.

  • Associate’s Degree Programs: If you’re looking for a more comprehensive education, you can pursue an associate’s degree in dental assisting. These programs will cover the content of a certificate program, plus additional coursework which could include areas like dental office management and communication skills.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Dental Assistant?

Depending on where you live, some states may require you to graduate from an accredited dental assisting program and pass a certification exam. Some states might have additional requirements, so it’s always a good idea to check with your state’s dental board to be sure.

How Stressful is Being a Dental Assistant?

Being a dental assistant can be fast-paced and demanding at times. You might need to multitask, work on your feet for long periods, and deal with patients who are anxious about dental procedures. But it can also be very rewarding! You’ll get to work with people every day, help them feel better, and be part of a team that provides important healthcare services.

What Kind of Person Should Be a Dental Assistant?

If you’re a people person who likes working with your hands and helping others, then dental assisting might be a great fit for you. You should also be detail-oriented, organized, and able to follow instructions carefully. Good communication skills are important too, so you can clearly explain procedures to patients and answer their questions. 

Do You Have to Be Good at Math to Be a Dental Assistant?

While dental assistants don’t need to be math experts, strong foundational math skills are crucial for tasks like calculating medication dosages and dental insurance copays.

Are You Ready to Become a Dental Assistant?

If you’re interested in becoming a dental assistant and pursuing a rewarding career in healthcare, then South Texas Vocational Technical Institute can help! We offer a Dental Assisting program at our Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Weslaco, and McAllen campuses. Our programs are taught by industry-experienced instructors who are excited to share their knowledge through training that will prepare you to pursue a career in the dental field.

So, what are you waiting for? Contact South Texas Vocational Technology Institute today and see if our Dental Assisting program is right for you!

Information within this blog is for general information purposes only. STVT does not assume or guarantee certification/licensures, specific job/career positions, income earning potential or salary expectations based on the programs offered at STVT. Career and program information statements in this blog do not guarantee that programs or other information mentioned are offered at STVT.