Are you someone who enjoys helping others? Do you desire a career in the growing healthcare industry, but don’t want to dedicate years of your life to get a degree? If you answered yes to both questions, then a successful career in dental assisting could be in your future. Whether you are weighing the pros and cons of the industry, or you are set on your dream career as a dental assistant, we are here to inform you on the most exciting details of the field, and the process of completing your dental assistant education. There are multiple things to look forward to in this field like having the ability to help others while learning new things every day! However, like any new career, there are some hesitations and anxieties about the daily obligations on the job. You may be asking yourself, “how will I learn about daily dental assistant duties in the classroom?” The answer to this is a dental assistant externship. Externship programs in dental assisting can propel you in your journey towards a career in a clinical setting. Taking courses and reading textbooks are important, but let’s face it, it’s not enough to get a real sense of how exciting your future career may be! During your externship, you could have the opportunity to perform day-to-day dental assistant duties while getting hands-on experience. Continue reading to learn more about what you could discover in your dental assistant externship and how this opportunity could be a valuable learning experience for your future career!
Learning Goes Beyond the Classroom | Why Your Dental Assistant Externship MattersBecoming a dental assistant is more than gaining knowledge in the classroom, it is about applying your knowledge and performing dental assistant duties in an office setting! That’s why a program that offers an externship is an important part of your education. Make the mistakes during your externship, not on the job. Take advantage of the fact that you are still learning during your externship, so ask questions about the workflow, how to deal with patients, and become accustomed to the culture of a dental office. The professionals in the workplace will act as your engaging “professors”, informing you with their wisdom in the industry. An externship could be the best option to give you that extra boost of training before starting your career as a dental assistant. In your externship, not only could you put your skills into practice, but you could also gain the chance to learn professionalism. It is important to arrive on time, treat patients with compassion, but most importantly, be open to retaining imperative information during this new and exciting experience. Dental assistant externship sites will become your real-world classroom! In addition to getting hands-on experience, an externship could give you the ability to network with potential future employers! If they see you as a dedicated individual, who also has a dental assistant program under their belt, your externship could be setting you up for future careers and job placement.
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What Your Typical Day Could Look Like During a Dental Assistant Externship?Dental assistants work under the supervision of dentists and work closely with dental hygienists in their day-to-day activities. Dental assisting is a challenging and rewarding career, which demands versatility and a willingness to assume responsibility for many different tasks (2). Depending by state and by dentist office, as a dental assistant, you could assume the responsibilities ranging from patient care, taking and processing x-rays, to recordkeeping and scheduling appointments. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the dental assistant career is projected to grow 19 percent from 2016 to 2026 much faster than the average occupation (3). At dental assistant externship sites, you can see that a career in dental assisting allows for both full-time and part-time positions. This career path also gives you the opportunity to work evenings or weekends (4). Depending on your future place of employment, you may have the advantage of being able to work hours outside of the usual 9-5.
Being a Dental Assistant Means Engaging with New People Every Day!If you are an individual who is patient, friendly, and find enjoyment in comforting patients, then dental assisting is calling your name. As a dental assistant, you could have clinical responsibilities while making the patient feel calm and comfortable while in the dentist’s chair to helping with important office duties. You could have the opportunity to not only work with new patients each day but also establish strong work relationships with others in your externship. Being a dental assistant is more than just assisting, it is about helping others and touching a patient’s life in a positive way. Patient management is an important part of the job, and this is something that could only be practiced in the dentist’s office. From working closely with patients, dental hygienists, and doctors throughout your externship, you could practice and gain experience you need to improve your daily dental assistant skills. During your externship, you could strengthen these interpersonal skills, so by the time you graduate from your dental assisting program, you could be well-versed in effective communication and can apply it on the job.
Gain Confidence in Future Career Endeavors by Applying Skills Learned from your Dental Assistant ProgramNo two days in a dental office are the same and getting acquainted with a fast-paced work environment is an important stepping stone in your dental assistant education. Getting hands-on experience in a dental assistant externship site could provide you with real experience to solve problems on-site, giving you the best chance to learn how the professionals resolve issues and deal with rare cases. This is your time as a student to ask questions and get involved in the work while expanding your knowledge beyond the traditional classroom setting. Being able to apply your education at a dental office during your externship, could give you the time to make your mistakes early, and learn first-hand from professionals on how to give patients the best patient care experience possible. Not only could you apply and learn dental assistant skills, but you could also become accustomed to working under the supervision of dentists and alongside dental hygienists. In the office, these professionals will teach you dental terminology, the names of instruments, how to complete daily tasks, how to interact with patients, and other activities necessary to help keep the dental office running smoothly (6).
Turn Your Dream of Becoming a Dental Assistant into a Reality at Blue Cliff College:At Blue Cliff College’s Dental Assistant program, we could provide you with the knowledge and training to help you succeed. During your courses and dental assistant externship, you could learn skills including:
- Instrument sterilization
- Tray setups
- Four-handed dentistry
- Equipment maintenance
- Model trimming
- Dental reception duties