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Antonelli College

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How to Become a Dental Assistant

You have decided that you want to become a dental assistant. Before you can begin applying for jobs in the dental field, you will need to complete an associate degree or diploma program in dental assisting. The purpose of these programs is to help you gain the skills that will be necessary when working under the supervision of a dentist. The programs and training received in an accredited college will help you develop the skills that you need to work in a variety of dental settings, whiling completing various dental assistant duties. The more education you have, the more duties you will be able to perform.Train to be a dental radiologist

Courses and Training

If you are enrolled in the associate degree program for dental assisting, it will typically take you 24 months to complete. The dental assistant diploma program at an accredited college generally takes 10 – 12 months to complete; this will vary from student-to-student, and college-to-college. The courses that you take in a dental assistant degree or diploma program will vary, but most colleges require you to take:

  • Biology
  • Anatomy
  • Chemistry
  • and more…

In addition to classroom studies, you will be required to complete training outside of the classroom. This includes laboratory work where students learn more about teeth, jaws, and gums, in addition to other areas of the mouth that dentist will work on. You will also learn more about the instruments that dentist use.


Depending on the state that you are practicing in, you may need to pass the Certified Dental Assistant exam (CDA). This examination can only be taken once you have satisfied all of the requirements pertaining to the dental assistant degree or diploma program that you have enrolled in. Before taking the CDA exam, you can download a copy of the exam and guide to study. Remember that the questions offered on the exam you download will not be the actual exam questions; these are similar questions that could help you prepare for the actual test. You will need to submit an application before you can take your exam; once your application has been received and processed, you will be prompted to schedule your CDA exam. The exam is taken on the computer, and it generally consists of three components:

  • General Chairside
  • Radiation Health and Safety
  • Infection Control

Job Outlook

Once you successfully complete your dental assistant degree or diploma program, you could apply for certification. After you have passed your exam, you could begin applying for positions as a dental assistant. The employment in the dental assisting industry is expected to grow by 25 percent over the next few years. The median annual salary for a dental assistant is $34,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Enroll in an accredited dental assistant degree or diploma program to work on obtaining the skills and knowledge necessary to work as a dental assistant.

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Dental Assistant vs. Dental Hygienist

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