How Long it Takes to Become a Dental Assistant
The length of time it takes to become a dental assistant can vary depending on the education and training path chosen.
Education and Training
- Certificate programs: Dental assistant certificate programs typically take between 9 and 12 months to complete. These programs are often offered by vocational schools, community colleges, or dental schools, and typically provide students with the fundamental knowledge and skills needed to work as a dental assistant.
- Diploma programs: Dental assistant diploma programs may take up to 2 years to complete. These programs are typically offered by vocational schools or community colleges and provide students with a more comprehensive education that includes both classroom instruction and hands-on training in a clinical setting.
- Associate’s degree programs: Dental assistant associate’s degree programs typically take 2 years to complete. These programs are offered by community colleges and some universities and provide students with a broader education that includes general education courses in addition to dental assistant coursework.
It’s important to note that some dental assistant programs may offer accelerated options that allow students to complete the program more quickly, often by taking more courses per semester or attending classes during the summer. Additionally, part-time options may be available for students who need to balance their education with other commitments, which can lengthen the time it takes to complete the program.
Certification is not always required to work as a dental assistant, but it can enhance job opportunities and increase earning potential. Certification is offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) and typically involves passing one or more exams that assess knowledge and skills in dental assisting.
To be eligible for DANB certification, candidates must meet certain education and/or experience requirements, which can vary depending on the specific certification being sought. For example, the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification requires graduation from a dental assisting program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation or having at least 2 years of on-the-job experience as a dental assistant.
The length of time it takes to become certified through DANB can vary depending on the specific certification being sought and the candidate’s individual circumstances. Generally, candidates must pass one or more exams, which can take several months to prepare for and complete. Some candidates may choose to take preparatory courses or review materials to help them prepare for the exams, which can add additional time to the process.
The time it takes to become certified through DANB can vary, but the process typically involves meeting education and experience requirements and passing one or more exams. It’s important to research the specific requirements for the certification being sought and allow adequate time to prepare for the exams.