There are four things to consider when looking for the best dental assistant course: small class size, qualified instructors, accreditation, and hands-on learning. Dental assistant courses are available from a wide range of community and career colleges. A dental assistant works closely with the dentist, helping her to complete procedures, passing her equipment, and ensuring all the tools are properly sterilized.
People who enjoy becoming a dental assistant are naturally outgoing, want to help others, and like to work in a clean environment. This career is not suitable for people who prefer to work independently and do not enjoy teamwork. The dental assistant, hygienist, office manager, and dentist are all a team, and they must work together to meet patients' needs.
A dental assistant course teaches a combination of theory and practical skills. The lower the number of students in the class, the more individual attention the instructor can provide to each student. It is important to practice the techniques taught in these classes, as they will be used on actual patients after graduation. Common techniques include taking X-rays, head scans, assisting with fillings, and bridges.
Dental assistant courses should be taught by qualified instructors who are experts in their field. Most courses are taught by instructors who were originally trained as dentists or dental assistants. Take the time to ask about their background and work experience. Practical experience is much more important than academic credentials in this field, as many of the tasks have changed due to technological advance.
When reviewing the dental assistant class options, it is important to ensure that the school is accredited. An accredited school has been reviewed by an independent agency to ensure minimum standards are met. In addition, only courses from an accredited school can be used toward a dental assistant certificate.
The best dental assistant course will use dental dummies to allow students to practice their techniques. The best dental assistant course will be affiliated with a dental clinic. These clinics provide dental services at greatly reduced cost, allowing both dental and dental assistant students to practice with real patients. These placements may be unpaid, but the experience is well worth it.
People who complete dental assistant programs often return to school to upgrade their skills, on average five to seven years after graduation. The most common program career choice is to become a dental hygienist or dental office manager. The courses completed for the dental assistant program can be applied to both these programs, reducing the total number of courses.