Have you considered enrolling in a program to become a dental assistant? A career as a dental assistant has a lot of benefits. Dental assistant training school could be your ticket to a successful future if you’re kind, caring, and enjoy working in the healthcare industry. If you think pursuing a career in dental assisting is a worthwhile ambition, the first step is to enroll in a training program like the Dental Assistant program at Blue Cliff College. We’ll demonstrate how to pick the ideal dental assistant program to help you realize your career aspirations.
What is a Dental Assistant?The work that dental assistants do is essential to the operation and success of a dental office. Dental assistant duties, such as appointment setting, patient care, and maintaining patient records, are among the numerous responsibilities they have. Beginning your dental career as an assistant at Blue Cliff College is a great choice for those looking to advance their career. There are numerous continuing education options for dental assistants to further their education after dental assistant school to become dental hygienists, lab technicians, or even a dentist!
What Does a Dental Assistant Do?Within a clinic, dental assistants are responsible for a variety of tasks. For instance, dental assistants frequently assist with front office tasks like appointment scheduling and maintaining patient dental records. Dental assistants also support dentists with treatments like fillings, crowns, extractions, and root canals by assisting in preparing exam rooms, sterilizing tools and equipment, taking x-rays, etc. Typical duties of dental assistant consist of the following¹:
- Ensure that patients are comfortable in the dental chair
- Prepare patients and the work area for treatments and procedures
- Sterilize dental instruments
- Hand instruments to dentists during procedures
- Dry patients’ mouths using suction hoses and other equipment
- Instruct patients in proper oral hygiene
- Process x-rays and complete lab tasks, under the direction of a dentist
- Keep records of dental treatments
- Schedule patient appointments
- Work with patients on billing and payment
How to Become a Dental Assistant?Most dental assisting programs last for about a year and result in a certificate or certification. Work in the classroom and the lab is part of accredited programs. Students gain knowledge of the tools used by dentists and the teeth, gums, jaws, and other regions they treat. These courses also incorporate supervised fieldwork. At Blue Cliff College there is an externship component as a culminating course that enables the student to be placed in an actual supervised dental office setting. The student will be encouraged to attain Louisiana’s “Expanded Duty Dental Assistant” certification upon graduation. Mississippi students are required by the Mississippi State Board of Examiners to obtain a valid Mississippi Radiology Permit prior to exposing radiographs. Due to there being an externship component included in the curriculum, students will be required to obtain a permit prior to Externship.
How Much Do Dental Assistants Make?The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in May 2021, the median annual salary for dental assistants in Louisiana was between $19,200 and $38,020 annually.² The national average wage was $38,660. Employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 8 percent from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations.³
How Long Does it Take to Become a Dental Assistant?The normal completion time for most dental assistant programs is 12 months. Some programs, like at Blue Cliff College, offer evening or weekend classes. You can complete the day course in 11 months and the night course in 15 months.