A traditional four-year college isn’t right for everyone, despite the push in the United States to send everyone to that sort of institution. For some people, a vocational school, where one can learn hands-on, applicable, practical skills is the right way to go and they can gain some real-world experience to see if it’s the best fit. In some cases, single mothers or new mothers might need training that’s done in the most efficient and impactful way, so they can get to work. From being an air traffic controller, a cosmetologist, chef, electrician, or dental assistant, vocational schools play an important role in keeping us and the things we rely on every day safe, running smoothly, and healthy. One potential profession to look into is that of a dental assistant. Society will always need dentists and dental college is a great way to get the training, job experience, and connections you need to start.
Why Go to Dental College?
No matter which path you pursue in the field of dentistry, you’ll need to be certified and show that you have qualifications to be practicing. For someone who wants to ultimately become a dentist, they’ll need a DDS or DMD degree and be certified in a specialty. They’ll also need to complete the licensure exam for their state. Dental college can assist them with completing these steps and attaining the knowledge and experience necessary to become a dentist.
Dental colleges may also offer dental assistant training courses as well, which offers hands-on dental training and prepares students for employment at a dental practice after graduation. These programs usually take under a year (anywhere from nine to eleven months) to complete and certification from the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) have a higher salary on average, as well as other employment benefits.
Indeed, almost 90% of those who hold a DANB certificate say they have a high level of job satisfaction and 70% received a raise in their current job. They also have a high level of pride in their work, with 95% saying that they saw dental assisting as a career, not just a job. So there are many reasons getting certified from the DANB can be a smart career choice!
Though perhaps you hear a lot of grumbles about going to the dentist, dentistry is actually in the top 10 for the most trusted and ethical professions in the United States. There will also always be a need for dentists, orthodontists, dental assistants, and hygienists. In 2017, over 125 million adults in the United States went to the dentist.
In addition to being a respected field, dentistry also offers a good salary, and contribute positively to the health and well-being of their community. Their work can also be flexible and no matter what your job is, you work collaboratively with a team to find the best strategies and practices for keeping your patients healthy.
What Do I Need to Enroll at Dental School?
For dental assistants, there are actually no educational requirements you need to fulfill. A high school diploma can be all you need and your expertise will come from on-the-job training. If you already have a degree, postsecondary programs can offer more comprehensive training. You’ll be focused on technical training during this program, though sometimes a two-year associate degree is also available.
At the dental school, you’ll start the steps for the appropriate licensure and certification required by your state. It’s often common for dental assistants to continue their education at various intervals at their career, to ensure that they’re staying up to date on the latest methods, techniques, and knowledge in the field.
To practice as a dental assistant, you need to have graduated from a dental assistant or hygiene program, have the equivalent of a high school diploma, and a minimum of 3,500 hours of approved work experience. It can be a wonderful new start for those who need a new career path, are interested in dentistry, and are looking to start a career, not just a job.