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How do I Choose the Best Dental Assistant Program?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 02 September 2018
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There are four items to consider when looking for the best dental assistant program: accreditation, faculty, cost, and graduate employment rates. A dental assistant is part of the dental and oral health team. They maintain all the dental equipment and assist the dentist with cavities, dental implants and other services.

Dental assistant programs are available from a wide range of community and career colleges. This program is typically one to two years in length and combines classroom work with a clinical practice term. During the work term, students gain experience applying the theoretical information learned in school. All work completed is under the direct supervision of the dentist.

When selecting a dental assistant program, make sure that the school is accredited. An accredited school has been reviewed by an independent third party. The inspection process covers the administrative and academic polices and ensure that a minimum standard is met. Accredited schools can offer students access to government student aid programs and their courses can be transferred to other institutions.

The qualification of the faculty or course instructors is very important when looking for a dental assistant program. Most schools provide a biography of their teaching staff, complete with academic credentials. Review the level of expertise and recent experience. It is very important for the teaching staff to be familiar with the techniques and requirements currently used in the work environment.

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Review the total program cost and compare at least three different schools. If one program is more expensive than the others, look at the course offerings in detail. Determine if the program is using the latest technology, or has a longer work term. Both these options can justify a higher program cost. Review the details and select the program that meets your requirements.

All post-secondary education institutes collect graduate employment statistics. The purpose of this information is to determine the types of roles, salary and positions that graduates are able to secure, three, six and 12 months after graduation. These reports provide valuable insight into the jobs available and the salary range that graduates can expect.

People who report the highest satisfaction as a dental assistant enjoy helping others, are naturally outgoing, and enjoy working in a health related field. After several years, dental assistant program graduates often look for opportunities to enhance their careers. This can be achieved through further education to become a dental hygienist or dental office manager.

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