Top 3 Dental Assistant Schools

By on May 27, 2013
Top 3 Dental Assistant Schools

The Dental Assistant Career

A dental assistant, also known as a CDA (certified dental assistant), helps the dental operator work more efficiently by doing preparative work before all of the actual procedures begin. Dental assistants generally help with sterilizing instruments, passing and organizing instruments while the procedure is going on, holding devices such as a suction vacuum, exposing dental radiographs, taking impressions of the patient’s teeth, as well as fabricating provisional crowns.

A dental assistant is very important to a dentist because without their help, their job would be much more difficult. There are a lot of opportunities for dental assistant careers out there right now. Dental care is a booming industry and it is high-profit. If you would be interested in helping a dental operator focus more on their procedures while you get to learn first-hand how their work goes, then being a dental assistant may be a good career choice for you to start out with.

Do You Need Schooling?

In some cases, you can land a job as a dental assistant without any special schooling, training, or certification. This is the case only in some states, though. Other states require dental assistants to receive extra training and obtain a license or a registration to start working in the field.

Continued education is the way to go if you are looking to succeed in your career. While other dental assistants are fighting to meet the minimum requirements to become certified, you will soar above them and be considered for whichever job you would like, for higher pay.

There are over 200 specific programs that are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. They are an agency who is responsible for accrediting dental assisting school programs.

If you would like to become a Certified Dental Assistant, then you will have to take the Dental Assisting National Board CDA Examination after you complete an accredited dental assisting program at one of the schools on their list. In place of the schooling, you could have spent two years with a dental assistant job and undergone training while you were working.

You will find that the lengths of the programs vary, some are 10-12 weeks and others are 10 or more months. The shorter programs are often non-conventional and are taken as an in-office course. Some dentists are willing to pay for their assistant’s training if they can see that they have a good attitude and work ethic.

Top 3 Dental Assistant Schools

  1. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
  2. University of North Carolina - Chapel HillUniversity of North Carolina – Chapel Hill has a great program for prospective students who are interested in becoming dental assistants. Their School of Dentistry is committed to delivering dental education at all levels including undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and postdoctoral.

    Their academic environment breeds the pursuit of knowledge in basic, behavioral, and clinical sciences which is great for those who are independent thinkers and interested in a life of learning. UNC’s dental assistant program is great for those who want to maintain strict, high standards in their education as well as maintain personal ethics and technical excellence.

    UNC will prepare you to enter into the general practice of dentistry and dental specialties by helping you gain the skills you need to enter into the job market. Many of the graduates who began their path in dental assisting went ahead to continue their education towards becoming a dental hygienist.

    UNC looks for applicants who are team oriented and show the ability to work with other people. Their training is quick (completed in under a year) but it is also very competitive. You must have good hand/eye coordination, show an interest in completing your training in a short period of time, and seek satisfaction in caring for other people.

  3. Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
  4. Indiana University – Purdue University IndianapolisIndiana University offers a dental assisting program in their Indianapolis based campus. The program is two semesters long which is one academic year. It is composed of 15 mandatory courses which end up including over 1,000 hours of lecture, laboratory, and clinical instruction.

    Their dental assistant program is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation. Students who complete either the traditional on-campus program or the distance learning program will receive a certificate in dental assisting and will be eligible to take the Dental Assisting National Board Examination to become a Certified Dental Assistant.

    Their distance-learning program gives you the ability to take the nonclinical courses online and allows you the opportunity to get your experience at a dental office in your local community.

  5. University of Alabama – Birmingham
  6. University of Alabama – BirminghamTo those who are committed to improving their academic foundation and have the desire to utilize their pleasing personality to offer patient care, University of Alabama – Birmingham offers a great program in Dental Assisting.

    The Dental Assisting Program at the UAB School of Dentistry was crafted to give students the proper educational background and training to become proficient in executing their duties as a dental assistant. Students are given the chance to assist with a number of different patient procedures by rotating through clinics and private dental offices.

    After completing the curriculum, students have over 500 hours of patient treatment experience under their belt. When you complete the program, you get a certificate of completion that is issued directly from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry. Their program is fully approved by the Board of Dental Examiners of Alabama.

Other Options

Dental assistant jobs are growing, and that means that there is also a market for educating those who want to become dental assistants. Many community colleges and local schools will offer dental assistant certification programs that will get you the education and skills that you need to get a job.

College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois is a good example of a community college that offers a program that will certify you to become a dental assistant. The course costs $2,999 (which includes all textbook fees and other material costs) and includes 120 course hours as well as an externship program to gain experience in the field.

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