Becoming a Dental Assistant: Essential Steps to Take

Dental assisting can be an immensely rewarding carehands-on dental traininger that allows you to achieve your goals in a short amount of time. But what exactly is involved in becoming a dental assistant? Do you have to spend years in dental school before you can begin your professional endeavors? Do you have to complete live clinic training prior to becoming employed? And will the dental industry provide you with the opportunities you seek? Before you delve into the finer points of whether this job is the right one for you, you might want to find out a bit more about the process of becoming a dental assistant and what’s required of you. Below, you’ll find a few of the vital steps you’ll need to take before you can call yourself a dental assistant.

Pursue an Education

Interestingly, there aren’t formal education requirements pertaining to this particular career. While some dental assistants have only a high school diploma and receive hands-on dental training, others may have obtained higher education degrees with a combination of classroom training and clinic instruction. In other words, you don’t necessarily have to complete an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program in order to enter this field. You can, however, enroll in dental assistant training courses or a degree program at a local college, technical institute, or vocational school. You can also receive hands-on dental training with a dental professional and their staff. Some programs can be completed in a year or two, but there may also be part-time educational programs available or even accelerated training.

Obtain a License and/or Certification

Although educational background can vary among dental assistants working in the same areas, there are certain licenses and certifications that must be obtained within a given state. Some states may allow dental assistants to perform responsibilities without licensure or certifications, but others will require them in order for a dental assistant to work. In many cases, a written or practical exam will be involved in obtaining these licenses or certifications. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recognizes that the NANB CDA (Dental Assisting National Board Certified Dental Assistant) credential is widely recognized. And since 95% of individuals with this certification view dental assisting as their career, rather than just a job, achieving this milestone can show employers how serious you are about this professional endeavor. There are other options as well, including the National Entry Level Dental Assistant certification and licenses for more specialized areas of dental assisting.

Ensure Requirements Are Met

If you choose to take the CDA exam in an effort to attain this certification, you’ll need to ensure you:

  • Currently hold a CPR certification
  • Have enrolled in and graduated from an accredited dental assisting or dental hygiene program
  • Have a high school diploma (or equivalent) and completed 3,500+ of approved work experience OR have held CDA status in the past OR have graduated from an accredited DDS, DMD, or dental degree program abroad

Ultimately, there are several different options you can pursue in terms of your education, your certification, and your employment. But by prioritizing both classroom learning and hands-on dental training as part of this process, you’ll feel more prepared to embark on this professional journey. For more information on how we can help you succeed, please contact us today.

Why You Should Become A Dental Assistant

dental school clinicDental assistants play a key role in the operation of a dentist’s work. They assist patients in preparing for teeth cleaning, dental work and x-rays. It is a good job to start your career as a dental hygienist or a dentist.

Why Become A Dental Hygienist?

  1. It is a good job. Similar to other careers in the field of healthcare, work in a dental office offers a comfortable, temperature controlled environment where you get to work with others. As a dental assistant, you won’t be glued to a computer all day or sit in the same chair for hours on end. You’ll work with a dentist who works with his or her patients. You’ll perform additional duties as needed so that the dental office can meet the needs of its patients. Some of your duties as a dental assistant will include the sterilization of dental tools, taking a patient’s oral x-rays, assisting the hygienist and dentist in their duties, and scheduling a patient’s follow up visit. The dental school clinic will train you in the latest safety protocols, so that patients and dental workers will not be subjected to injury or diseases.
  2. You can gain real-world experience while you learn. Often, you’ll have the opportunity to work in a dental office, gaining experience, while you study at a dental school clinic. The combination of book learning and on-the-job experience will solidify your professional training. This is a people-centered job. You’ll have the opportunity to learn and work alongside fellow dental assistant students, teachers, dental hygienists, and dentists. You’ll also get to work with patients from across the community.
  3. You’ll have job security and mobility. Dental assistants work wherever dentists work, and that is in virtually every city. The dental industry is needed everywhere. In 2017, more than 127 million American adults saw a dentist in the United States. Additionally, you have the ability to work with and for orthodontists, oral surgeons, and endodontists. Dental professions are needed anywhere there are people. Dental health is vital to a person’s overall health, which is one of the reasons people visit dentists.
  4. Dental assisting is growing industry. According to Data USA, there were over 291,000 dental assistants in the U.S. in 2018. Projected job growth for the next 10 years is expected to be nearly 20%. The average salary is between $32,000 and $35,000. It is a career for both men and women, although women currently occupy 90% of dental assistant jobs.

In less than a year, you could earn a Certificate in Dental Assisting from a dental school clinic or dental college and be prepared to enter the workforce as a dental assistant. You’ll have a career that helps people, a career that is upwardly mobile, and a career that you can be proud of.

Dental School: Why You Should Consider It

employment at a dental practiceIf you want a better career and don’t know where to turn, then you may want to consider going to a vocational school. This type of schooling is usually shorter and often cheaper than going to traditional college or university, but with many of the perks of a more traditional training.

In particular, you may want to consider going into training at a dental school. Dental assistants in Arizona alone can make upwards of $39,000 a year, which means you can get into a great career in going to dental school at a vocational facility where you earn real-world experience while you learn.

Here are just a few reasons to consider going to dental school so you can get employment at a dental practice when you graduate. The time will be well-spent, and you can land a career you really enjoy.


You Invest Yourself in Quality Career Training

When you go to practical dental assistant training school, you invest your time and money into a career training program that will give you great results. You learn how to work with people in live clinic training sessions as well as absorb yourself into a career where you gain valuable patients who appreciate and value you.

When you do find yourself ready to go to dental college, prepare yourself by learning what colleges are best for your needs. The right dental school will be one that has lots of real-world experience training, such as live patient clinics, to help you learn with confidence and get the most out of your experience.


You Make Great Money in a Near-Guaranteed Field

One of the main concerns you have about going to school is this: you’re worried you won’t be able to find a job, or that you will, but you won’t be able to make a lot of money. Since it’s a big time and money investment to go to college in the first place, going to a vocational school can be your best bet. You can get employment at a dental practice rapidly once you are finished with school, and you’ll find the income you can make is impressive.

When you choose dental assistant programs or dental college in general, you end up putting yourself in a position to make lots of money in a near-guaranteed field. Dental practitioners, assistants, and hygienists are considered to be trusted and ethical professionals in their field of choice, so you can work with clients on the regular and know that you are on your way to a growing career that can pay very well after a shorter amount of training than you’d have to take with other careers.


You Get Into a Career Faster

Did you know that one of the perks of going to vocational school for dental assistant work is that you can train faster and get into a great career sooner? If you don’t want to wait years to make great money or you are having a hard time wondering how long you have to go to school to get a great career, consider going to a dental school instead of a traditional college.

You can get employment at a dental practice much sooner if you go to a great vocational school, one that has live patient training and allows you to work in a variety of situations prior to getting your certification. If you want to get done with vocational school as soon as possible, speak to your counselor about a fast-track program.

There are many dental assistance training programs you can take to help you become ready for your new career in the dental field. Whether you want to get into your new career more quickly or you are just ready to try something new, dental school is a great way to help you move forward with a great career you’ll love. Employment at a dental practice is just a few classes away.

All About the DANB Certification

live patient clinicsConsidering a career in dentistry? Back in 2017, there was an estimated over 7,000 dental assistants in the state of Arizona alone, according to an Occupational Employment Statistics program survey. There is no doubt that this path has led to a fulfilling and productive career for many.

If you are a dental assistant looking to get more from your job, consider working with the DANB to earn your certification today. 95% of certificants are able to view this occupation as a true career, rather than a weekly paycheck, and 89% have a high satisfaction level with their dental assistant job

It is time to get the peace of mind and contentment you deserve. Learn more about DANB today.

What is the DANB?

Now, many dental assistants received training from live patient clinics and have taken the appropriate dental assistant training courses necessary for doing a thorough and effective job. Yet, that does not mean more assistance will not eventually be required down the line. That’s where the DANB comes in.

DANB stands for Dental Assisting National Board, Inc., and it is a nonprofit organization that strives to provide dental assistants with further training and certifications necessary for doing the best job possible.

What are the Advantages of Holding a DANB Certification?

One major advantage of obtaining this certification? More pay. Survey results show that around 70% of DANB certification holders wind up getting a raise, with many earning more than $2 more per hour than those without a certification.

Along with this, DANB recipients experience a lower turnover rate, so you are more likely to stay in one place for multiple years. That means job security, along with a good opportunity for growth within one particular business.

Easier Career Advancement

Like we said, moving up in a company is a lot easier with a DANB certification in tow. This, combined with the training at your dental college and your experience at live patient clinics, will give you some great opportunities for advancement.

These certifications expand your knowledge, qualifying you to take on more duties and perform more tasks. Take your career to the next level by considering some DANB training today.

Providing Higher Quality Services

If you are in this field, the level of care and expertise you provide can make a big impact on overall customer satisfaction. You have the power to make someone’s dental experience more comfortable, ensuring they receive the highest level of care possible. If you want to excel, this is one way to do it.

Work With Us

If you want to experience training at live patient clinics at a dental school clinic in your area, work with our team today. We can provide you with everything necessary to get you the career you are hoping for.

Dental Assistant School: Your Frequently Asked Questions, Answered

dental assistant training coursesWhen you’re trying to decide if dental assistant school is right for you, you can have a lot of questions about your career outlook, tuition, and more. It’s understandable; choosing a new career is a big move.

To help you stay informed and make the right decision before you choose to jump into dental assistant school, we’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions students, and potential students, ask.

  • What can I expect to learn in dental assistant school? You’ll start your program with an introductory course on dentistry and dental anatomy before you move on to more advanced topics and courses. Over the course of your studies, you’ll learn how to take diagnostic X-rays, how to sterilize dental instruments, how to construct and place temporary tooth coverings, and more.
  • What are the benefits of becoming a dental assistant? Becoming a dental assistant offers you a lot of job opportunities. In fact, the projected job growth for dental assistants is 20% in the next 10 years. The average job growth for other employment opportunities is just 7%. Dental assistants can also expect great pay after their training period, a flexible schedule, and excellent benefits.
  • How much money do dental assistants make? During your entry-level dental assistant job, you can expect to make between $14 to $16 per hour. But once you become more experienced, you’ll be able to move your way up to positions that pay $30 per hour depending on the part of the country you practice in.
  • What are my potential career paths? Many folks assume that the role of a dental assistant is the only profession you can pursue once you’ve graduated. But that isn’t true. After you’ve finished dental assistant school, you have a variety of career paths open to you. These include the role of a dental assistant, dental assistant instructor, dental office business team administrator, dental sales representative, dental hygienist, dental consultant, and dentist.

Want to find out more about dental assistant training courses?

Dentistry is one of the top 10 most trusted and ethical professions in the U.S., which is a major boost for those considering dental assistant training courses. If you’re interested in going to dental school to become a dental assistant, the American Institute of Dental Assisting is the place for you.

To learn more about our hands-on dental training and how we provide real-world experience for practical dental assistant training, contact the American Institute of Dental Assisting today.

Top 5 Reasons to Become a Dental Assistant

dental industryHave you considered working as a dental assistant, but you just haven’t been quite ready to pull the trigger? Well, stop hesitating. Dental assisting is a fantastic career, with many benefits. You don’t need to go to college to become a dental assistant, either! Dental assistant training courses are offered at dental schools, and they are highly affordable and practical programs. In this article, our top 5 reasons for becoming a dental assistant will be revealed and you will be left wondering why you haven’t already begun your pursuit of a career in the dental industry!

1. Job Security

Job security is one of the most alluring benefits of becoming a dental assistant. In 2017, it is estimated that 127.6 million adults visited a dentist in the U.S. alone. The bottom line is, as long as people have teeth, people will need to visit the dentist. Dental offices need dental assistants that have undergone dental assistant training courses to run their business. So, employment at a dental practice is great because you know that your chosen career will continue to be an in-demand service!

2. Great Pay

Especially when the low cost of dental college is considered, being a dental assistant is a career that can really pay off. Dental assistants in Arizona make an average of $39,580 per year, which is a fantastic salary for someone who has attended college and has loans to pay off, let alone someone who has not! The dental industry not only offers fantastic job security, but it also pays extremely well.

3. Growth Opportunities

Being a dental assistant is a dynamic career in which no two days are quite the same. It is a fantastic way to get your feet wet in the dental industry, and gain real-world experience working in a dentist’s office. Working as a dental assistant will mean understanding all that it takes to run a dental practice, from front desk duties to patient care. Many dental assistants use their positions as a starting point for other careers. With further training, experience, and education, many dental assistants go on to become dental office managers, insurance professionals, and dental hygienists. These fields offer higher salaries and even greater benefits!

4. Fantastic Work Environment

Dental office environments provide a fantastic place to work. The vibe of a dental office is fast-paced but not rushed, dynamic, and fun! A dental office runs only as well as its employees, so dental teams take pride in their work and teamwork is a huge part of the job. Furthermore, as a dental assistant, you will have the opportunity to observe dental hygienists and dentists, which are careers you may pursue down the line.

5. Rewarding Work

Being a dental assistant is no run-of-the-mill career. With this position, you will have the opportunity to positively affect the lives of the patients who come into the office. Many people have a negative association with the dentist’s office, so you will be able to brighten their day by making them feel listened to and comfortable. By putting the patients first, you gain a satisfying sense of making a positive difference in their lives. Dental assisting is an act of service, and it just happens to come alongside the many benefits listed in this article!

Dental Assistant Vs. Dental Hygienist: Understanding the Key Differences

dental schoolIf you’re considering a career in the dental industry, you’ll have several options to choose from. But what exactly differentiates these professional paths? In today’s post, we’ll be talking about two positions that are often mistaken for each other: dental assistants and dental hygienists. Although both dental assistants and dental hygienists enjoy employment at a dental practice, the two jobs entail very different qualifications and daily obligations. With the knowledge you’ll obtain here, you can make a more informed decision about what kind of career might be best for you.

Dental Assistant

  • Variety of Duties: In 2017, there were 7,030 dental assistants employed in the state of Arizona alone. One reason why this career path is so appealing is the opportunity it provides to handle a variety of job duties. While dental hygienists may also handle some prep or even administrative obligations, dental assistants get more of a chance to get involved in several different aspects of a dental practice. You’ll get a chance to interact with patients during every phase of their visit, prepare and sterilize equipment, take X-rays and teeth impressions, and perform basic office management tasks. You’ll get a taste of everything, which is ideal for those who want to build a variety of skills and can’t see themselves in a mundane field.
  • Rapid Education: Although both dental assistants and dental hygienists need to complete some kind of dental school education, there’s a noticeable difference in how quickly you can transform your dental assistant training courses into real on-the-job experiences. When you undergo practical dental assistant training, much of it will be on-site. Rather than having to spend years in a dental school classroom, you’ll have the opportunity to apply what you’ve learned and become accustomed to what being part of this industry is really like. Not only can this allow you to move up more quickly in the ranks, but it can also allow you to make a living from your chosen career path far sooner.

Dental Hygienist

  • In-Depth Duties: Dental hygienists may sometimes be tasked with certain administrative duties, but the bulk of their responsibilities will lie in patient treatment. A dental hygienist will typically be tasked with more in-depth tasks, such as removing plaque from a patient’s teeth or even administering local anesthetics. If you’re more interested in detailed medical duties rather than learning about a variety of jobs within the office, you may want to consider going to dental school to become a hygienist.
  • Longer Commitment: As we mentioned above, becoming a dental hygienist requires a more advanced degree. Therefore, you’ll need to spend far longer in dental school prior to being able to work in the field. That can be seen as a benefit by some people, depending on their career goals. But you can’t expect to learn how to become a dental hygienist in a matter of weeks or months. You’ll typically need to spend at least two years on education alone, which can be a financial burden and a colossal time commitment. If your aim is to get real-world experience and start working as soon as possible, you won’t be able to achieve those goals if you’re set on becoming a dental hygienist.

Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong answer here. Both dental assistants and dental hygienists have a positive job outlook and can provide both career satisfaction and financial security. But understanding the key differences between these two occupations can allow you to make the correct decision for your future. To learn more about enrolling in school to become a dental assistant, please contact us today.

Dental Assistant Job Market in Arizona

dental assistant job market in Arizona
The dental assistant job market in Arizona is on the rise

Job security is one of the most important factors to consider when entering a new career. Your time and money are valuable. You want to know that the job you choose can be a long-term career. Luckily for you, dental assisting is the place to be. The dental assistant job market in Arizona is booming right now. And forecasts predict that this trend will keep rising.

Dental Assistant Job Market in Arizona

dental assisting job growth in arizonaThe dental assistant job market in Arizona is growing, and it’s growing fast! In fact, compared to the rest of the nation, Arizona is the place to be. Did you know that Phoenix is the most highly populated state capital in the entire nation? Phoenix has over 1 million residents, which is actually the only state capital to reach over 1 million residents in the entire United States. Working in a highly populated area can create nearly unlimited job potential.

The dental assistant job market in Arizona is so great that dental assistants are making more money than the national wage average. According to the Dental Assistants National Board, certified dental assistants in Arizona average $22.25 per hour. And the best part is that you can get through school fast and into your new career right away. Flexible hours with great pay, yes please! 13 weeks is all you need to get started in your new dream career.

For more information on a career in dental assisting and to explore whether AIDA dental assistant classes are right for you, fill out our form or call 480-209-1392.

Dental Assistant Job Market Growth

The dental assistant industry is trending upward. Between the years 2016 – 2026, it is predicted to grow 19%. That’s more than double the growth that other industries are seeing. In fact, apart from other healthcare support occupations, every other industry is predicted to have an increase of only 7%. Dental assisting is in the top 25 fastest growing occupations in the United States  This gives dental assistants a huge advantage when it comes to the job market.

What is prompting such large growth in the industry? Well, all those baby boomers from the 1960’s are now growing up. Which means that a huge portion of the population is getting older all at the same time. And since people today are keeping more of their permanent teeth than in the past there are more teeth to care for. Which in turn means that all of these baby boomers are placing an increased demand on dental care.

With this increased demand being placed on the dental industry, now is the perfect time to enter the field. As dental practices grow, more dental assistants will be needed. Which means more opportunities to work in a long-term, flexible career with a great salary! The national average for dental assistants wages is $18.09 per hours. Experienced dental assistants can make up to $25 or more per hour.







7 Reasons to Consider Becoming A Dental Assistant

live clinic trainingIf you are looking for a career, there are a lot of options out there today. According to the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), about 95% of people who have received their CDA certification say their view being a dental assistant as having a career, not a job. If you are looking to get into the business you do have to get the right education and do all of the live clinic training hours required of you but it is a great career. Here are some reasons to consider this career path:

    1. Every day is a new and different adventure. You will get your first taste of this when you are doing your live clinic training hours. When you work in the field of dentistry, every day is different. There are new challenges to meet and deal with every day. If you like dealing with the public, this a great profession for you. When you are still enrolled in school and are taking dental assistant training courses, your live clinic training will show you if you like this kind of work.
    2. Your work environment is pleasant. There are a lot of professions out there where the work is interesting but the workplace is sketchy. That cannot be said of employment at a dental practice. In some medical fields, the work environment is not as pleasant as in dentistry. Private medical and dental practices are quieter and less hectic than other areas such as hospitals or urgent care centers. For the most part, dental offices are calm and quiet.Your schedule can be flexible. Most dental practices have both full and part-time assistants on staff. That way you can decide what kind of hours you want to work.
    3. The training does not take years of your life. Training to become a dental assistant means you have to take classes and complete your live clinic training. For people who are looking to change their career after working for a while, this can be a great option. This is also a good career path for people who are just starting out. You do not need a four-year college degree. Only a high school diploma is needed for this kind of work. The programs are not as long as a dental school by any stretch.
    4. There are a lot of benefits and not so many drawbacks. Every job has good and bad parts of it. Dental assistants have said that they have more good days than bad. Dental assistants get to help people, the hours are great, and you can work with a number of different people.
    5. There are lots of opportunities to advance in your career. There are people who are very happy working as a dental assistant and do it for decades. Other people like working in the dental industry enough to use the dental assistant position as a stepping stone to other opportunities. Some people go back to school to become a dental hygienist.
    6. You can make good money as a dental assistant. The salary you get will depend a lot on where you live, the kind of clinic or surgery center you work in, and the number of hours you put in every week at work. The bottom line is that you can make a good living working as a dental assistant. The more experience you get in this field, the more money you will take home.
    7. You have a chance to network with a lot of people. This is not a job where you are stuck in a cubicle, locked away from the world. This kind of job allows you to meet and work with a wide array of people. You will meet other people who work in your industry and that can help you take advantages of better opportunities.


There are a lot of benefits to going into the dental industry. Becoming a dental assistant can open yourself up to a lot more opportunities and options than you might get elsewhere. The live clinic training you receive when you are on the path to becoming a dental assistant can transfer to a number of other industries and positions.


Dental Assistant vs Dental Hygienist

What is a Dental Assistant vs Dental Hygienist?
What is a Dental Assistant vs Dental Hygienist?

Have you been to the dentist recently? The American Dental Association recommends that people visit the dentist frequently. These visits should be individualized by your dentist. Some people may need to be seen by their dentist yearly. Others may benefit from 6 months or less. An individualized approach is best when it comes to oral health. At your last dental visit you may have noticed several people busy around the office. There was probably a receptionist and, of course, a dentist. But there were also a few others that helped out during your visit; a dental assistant and a dental hygienist. So what is a dental assistant vs dental hygienist? Let’s take a closer look.

Dental Assistant vs Dental Hygienist

Dental assistants and dental hygienists have a few things in common. They both work closely with a dentist. They both help care for peoples teeth. They also help educate patients about oral health. They may appear similar, but there are actually many differences. A dental assistants main job is to assist the dentist. They can also help with a variety of office jobs. The main job of a dental hygienist is to clean teeth. They work directly with the patient while an assistant works more closely with the dentist. Let’s take an even closer look at a dental assistant vs dental hygienist.

Dental Assistant Responsibilities

dental assistant vs dental hygienist
Dental assistants work closely with the dentist

A dental assistant can have many jobs in the office. Their work often starts before you even enter the office. A dental assistant will prepare the room before you arrive. This includes sterilizing all dental instruments and laying them out for the dentist. They are usually the first person to greet you once you are seated in a chair. They will take and develop x-rays before you see the dentist. They can also take impressions. During your appointment they will assist the dentist and pass instruments to him. The assistant will also prepare anesthetics, cement, and impression materials. The dental assistant can also help maintain dental records and patient health history. At the end of your appointment they can help with front office tasks like scheduling appointments and taking payments. Even after you have left the office a dental assistant is still busy. They will clean the room and prepare it for the next patient. They will also prepare any lab work and can help order dental supplies. In some states dental assistants can have advanced duties such as applying sealants and fluoride, topical anesthetic and coronal polishing. A dental assistants work is never done. They are always busy doing the many jobs it takes to keep a dental office running.

Dental Hygienist Responsibilities

dental assistant vs dental hygienist
Dental hygienists work directly with the patient

The responsibilities of a dental assistant vs dental hygienist are actually very different. While the dental assistant can have many jobs around the office, the dental hygienist has one main job. They focus on cleaning your teeth. A dental hygienist works one-on-one with you during a teeth cleaning. First they will review your dental and medical history. They will perform an exam of your mouth. Then they will work to clean your teeth. There are many techniques that can be used to clean teeth. They will use one or more of these to remove any deposits from your teeth. They will also clean off any plaque or tartar that has developed. Then they will polish and floss your teeth. Finally they will apply any fluoride treatments that are needed. Once your cleaning is finished the dentist will come in for his exam and evaluation.

Each person in a dental office has an important job. Dental assistants can help out the dentist and office wherever it is needed, while a dental hygienist focuses mainly on cleaning the patients teeth. Schooling for a dental hygienist can be lengthy while a dental assistants schooling is much shorter. The American Institute of Dental Assisting offers a unique, hands on experience. In just 13 weeks you can be fully trained to be a dental assistant. Check out what students love about our school!