Dental assistant training is a required step for anyone who wants to enter or expand their dental assistant career. If you are currently employed as a dental assistant and all you’ve got under your belt is on-the-job training, you may be setting yourself up for failure. Even if you are happy with your current position, what are your career growth opportunities without additional training?
No one wants to think about losing their job, but the best defense against this is to be prepared. By continuing your dental assistant training, even while you are currently employed in the field, you’ll essentially be taking out an insurance policy to protect yourself against changes in the economy. This is especially true if you are currently employed with a smaller dental office, or an older dentist who may retire one day and choose to close his practice.
Other benefits to continuing your dental assistant training include the following:
Become an Expanded Duties Dental Assistant
An expanded duties dental assistant, or licensed dental assistant, is able to perform more procedures in a dental office than a regular dental assistant can. As a result, these dental assistants command higher salary and have more career opportunities. According to PayScale.com, the average expanded duties dental assistant earns between $12 and $23 per hour.
To become an expanded duties assistant extra education is needed, along with experience. Expanded duties dental assistants require credentials that are determined by your state. The credentials can include a CDA (Certified Dental Assistant), a CDPA (Certified Dental Preventive Assistant), a CDPMA (Certified Dental Practice Management Administrator, or a Bachelors Degree in this field.
Each certification will require a state exam, which is designed to measure how competent you are in the duties you will be performing. Some of the expanded duties you will be able to perform as an expanded duties dental assistant include coronal polishing, topical anesthetic, sealants, and topical fluoride treatments.
State Requirements Can Be Confusing
While it would be much easier for dental assistants if the requirements, exams, and duties were the same across the board for every state, this is not the case. Each state has its own rules and certification requirements. If you are planning on working in more than one state, you need to be sure you’ve completed all the requirements and exams for each state you plan to practice in.
Many states do not acknowledge higher education in dental assisting unless the program has been accredited by the Commission of Dental Accreditation. For this reason, it is important to check your state requirements before you begin your education.
You can locate information about your state’s requirements by visiting the Dental Assisting National Board website and clicking on your state’s link. This will allow you to find out what you can expect on your exams, what type of education you’ll need to perform expanded duties, and how much experience as a dental assistant you must have before you can be licensed.
Whether you are interested in furthering your dental assistant career or securing your future just in case something happens, you may want to consider taking some dental assistant training courses. You will have a better job outlook, the opportunity to earn higher pay, and be more valuable in your dental assistant career.