Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Is A Dental Assistant Certificate Required?


There are two levels of dental assistant and you don't need to be certified in order to be able to get hired for the first level. However, for the second level you do need a dental assistant certificate. The same for the case of specialized dental assistants.

If you wonder what are the specific requirements in order to get your dental assistant license, the regulations are different from state to state. You need to therefore check locally. To note, in certain states there are also special regulations for taking x-rays.

Leaving aside the differences among the various states, in order to get certified, in principle you will need to get the education needed to build the knowledge level required. A local community college or trade school can give you more details. Usually the duration of the courses is 9 months, but there are a variety of options you can choose from, in order to suit your needs.


In case you would rather start working immediately, you can search for a level one dental assistant job, that doesn't require certification. Of course, having a certification makes it easier for you to find a better job. On the positive side though, there are dentists that actually prefer to get fresh assistants and train them from the scratch themselves. So the searching process can take a bit longer in this case, but it is definitely possible to find a job like this.

A related but different career you may consider is the one of dental hygienist. The study period in order to become a hygienist is longer, i.e. up to two years. But the pay is also significantly higher. The only watch-out is that the dental hygienists don't receive benefits such as insurance, vacation and so on. Therefore, make sure you take this into account if you compare the earning potential with the one of a dental assistant position. 

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