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4 Important Steps to Become a Dental Assistant

Follow your passion for a career in healthcare and make a difference.


Hands_On_Learning_inset Hands-on instruction prepares you for work in the field.

Oral health is one of the most important pieces of our overall health and dental assistants play a big part in working with patients to correct issues and get their mouths back in tip-top shape.

Dental Assistants are a key member of any dental office. Offering chairside support to dentists, dental assistants help perform procedures like fillings, extractions, even crowns. In addition, dental assistants also often handle administrative items like scheduling and billing. If this sounds intriguing to you – you might consider a career as a dental assistant. Before you head out to put in an application at a local office, there are a few important steps to take before you can officially begin your career.

First things first, you need a high school diploma or GED. Once you have completed that important step you can start on your path toward a rewarding career helping people. At Pima Medical Institute, you can complete your dental assistant program in as little as nine months and be working in your field in less than a year. That means before your friends have even gotten halfway through a traditional college program, you will already be starting your career!

At Pima Medical, you will be surrounded by respected faculty who will provide hands-on experience in real-world lab classrooms. You will learn everything from how to prepare patients for examination and treatment, to preparing tray setups for dental procedure, sterilizing and disinfecting instruments and equipment and everything in between.

One of the things you will learn in the dental assistant program is the proper preparation and sterilization of equipment.

tray_of_equipment_insetAs a requirement of the dental assistant program, you will need to complete a clinical externship. During that externship, you will work side-by-side with professionals in the industry. You help real patients with their individual needs, just as you would once employed. Clinical externships typically last a few weeks at a time and Pima Medical chooses the location.

Once you have completed your externship, it is time to complete required state certification or licensing tests. In the United States, the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) handles all certifications. Because requirements for dental assistants vary based on state, it is important for you to know the requirements. At Pima Medical, you will be guided step-by-step from enrollment to graduation and beyond. Our faculty and staff, including student services teams, are dedicated to your success.

Once you pass your certification tests, it is time to get to work! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the dental assistant career field is continuing to grow. Employment of dental assistants is projected to grow seven percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. The aging population and ongoing research linking oral health and general health will lead to continued increases in the demand for preventive dental services.

Now that you know what is needed to get started, what are you waiting for? Take the first step toward a career you can be proud of.


March 8, 2021

Pima Medical Blog

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