How Long Does it Take to Become a Dental Assistant?

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The amount of time it takes to become a dental assistant varies from State to State.  In many States, you can be hired with absolutely no experience as long as you will be working under the supervision of a licensed Dentist.  Other States may require you to have received a certification from an accredited dental assisting program.  These formal programs can take anywhere from 6 months up to one year. To find out the requirements in your State, make sure you visit out guide to the State by State Dental Assistant training requirements.  We have compiled a comprehensive list of all of the different levels of dental assistants in each State, as well as the training and certification requirements for each level.  To get information directly from Dental Assisting schools in your area, just enter your zip code in the box below to get a list of schools near you.

 Becoming a Dental Assistant – Where to Start

dental assistant school lengthThe process of becoming a dental assistant varies from state to state.  In states where no formal training is required, it is really as simple as finding a dental office that is hiring and applying for the job!  Of course there are other factors to consider like the training and qualifications of the other applicants.  The current job market is becoming more and more competitive and any additional training you have over the competition will give you an advantage when it comes time to hire someone.  At a bare minimum you should already have your CPR certification which can be obtained through a Red Cross training class.  Classes are offered everywhere, you can find more information here. For states that require specific dental assistant training or certification, the best place to start is to contact a few of the schools in your area and find out what they have to offer.  Here is a short list of information you’ll want to ask about when you contact the schools:

  • How long does the training program take?
  • How much does the program cost?
  • Is there tuition assistance available?
  • Are there online classes available?
  • Does the school offer job placement or assistance?
  • What Accreditations does the school possess?

None of these should be deal breakers, but you need to make sure that you find a school that will best help you reach your personal goals.

DANB National Certification – Become a Certified Dental Assistant

The Dental Assisting National Board’s exams and certifications are recognized or required by 38 States as well as the District of Columbia, the U.S. Air Force, and Department of Veterans Affairs.  In addition to offering Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certificates, the DANB also offers certificates as Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA), Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA), and Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant (CRFDA).

Certified Dental Assistanthow long does it take to be dental assistant

In order to be eligible to become a CDA, there are three component exams that must be passed, these are:

  • Radiation Health and Safety
  • Infection Control
  • General Chairside

Once you have met these requirements you are eligible to sit for the CDA certification exam.  For more detailed information about the DANB and the CDA exam program, visit their site HERE.

So How Long Will it Take to Become a Dental Assistant?

As you can see, it”s not easy to answer that question because every individual situation is different.  Personal career goals, state of residence, available money to spend on training, etc. are all factors that will determine how long it will take you to start working as a Dental Assistant.  The quickest way to find an accurate answer to the question is to contact a few schools and tell them what your goals are.  They will be able to advise you and help you come up with a plan to help you get your career started.  Enter your zip code in the box below and you will be shown a list of schools near you.