Dental Assistant Training Programs - Choose the Right One

Dental assisting can be a very rewarding career. In order to pursue a degree in this field, it is important to choose the right dental assistant training program. There are programs available in each state at both vocational and community colleges. In addition, there are several programs available online.


The first thing a person should look for when considering this type of program is accreditation. It is important to only attend a program that is accredited because these schools are regulated to meet certain educational standards. There are three main accreditation agencies for dental assistant training programs, which are the Dental Assisting National Board, the Commission on Dental Accreditation, and the American Dental Assistants Association. Attending a school that is accredited by one of these agencies can increase base salary and ensure certification.

Dental Assistant Courses

Top dental assistant training programs will consist of both classroom and laboratory experiences. In addition, a top program will also have an internship program where the student will work at a local dental office in order to gain practical work experience during their education. These internships will be essential when it comes to gaining employment after graduation, as the experience gained during this part of the program is invaluable.

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Onsite Programs

Most local community colleges and vocational schools offer dental assistant training programs. These courses are typically associate degree programs, requiring around two years to complete. There are some local colleges that offer certificate programs as well, which can be completed in eight to twelve months. These programs typically have flexible scheduling options, but a student choosing an onsite program must be prepared to attend classes each week at the same time.

Online Programs

For adults that are choosing to go back to school and need a more flexible option to obtain their dental assisting degree, online programs may be a better choice. Online programs allow an individual to work through the course at their own pace from the comfort of their own home. The required classes for an online program are usually the same as the required courses from onsite dental assistant training programs. However, some online schools have streamlined their courses so an individual will only take courses that are directly related to the field, which can speed up the process of obtaining their degree.

Choosing Your Program

Each state has different guidelines and requirements for dental assistants, so it is important to look at your state’s website before enrolling in any of these programs. The next step will be to decide which program will work best for your current situation. Do you need the flexibility of an online program or would you rather attend classes on campus? Using these guidelines, a student should be able to choose the proper program to meet their needs. In addition, choose a program that will meet your career goals. Degree programs offer the option for a broader education, while certificate programs will allow an individual to enter the workforce faster.

When it comes to choosing a dental assistant training program, consider all aspects of each program. Make a list of pros and cons of each school and determine which one will best meet your needs.

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