Dental assistants are an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to overall oral health. Because oral surgeons and dentists have many responsibilities (oral surgery, hygiene, treatments and procedures, check-ups, and more), they need a skilled, trustworthy assistant to make sure other important matters are taken care of in the office.
Dental assistants can begin important processes, assist dentists during procedures, and complete several minor procedures on their own, freeing up the dentist’s time, expertise, and specialty for more serious or demanding cases.
What Do Dental Assistants Do?
Dental assistants take on a number of tasks with the position. A sample of what dental assistants do includes offering patient care, conducting x-rays, recordkeeping, and scheduling patient appointments. Their duties vary from state to state and also depend on the dentist office in which they work, but these tasks are typical of individuals in this role.
What Education is Needed?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many dental assistant positions do not require an individual to obtain a degree. Depending on the state in which a prospective dental assistant lives, he or she might be required to acquire a certificate from an accredited institution and pass a certification exam.
Likewise, dental offices have the authority to create their own requirements to which employees must comply. Many offices require that courses are taken and certificates are earned at an accredited institution.
Interested? Follow These Steps.
Those who believe this sounds like an interesting or otherwise promising environment in which to work should consider becoming a dental assistant. What are the steps toward becoming a dental assistant in South Florida? Follow Florida National University’s (FNU) guide:
Narrow Down a Program of Choice
It is very important for dental assistants to receive proper education, training, and experience before entering the workforce. When another person’s health is a factor, the more training and education obtained the better!
Students who are interested in this career path must consider what kind of information and experience they would like to acquire through a program, and accordingly are advised to find a program that meets their needs and expectations. Here are some important factors to look out for while narrowing down a program:
- Schedule Flexibility. FNU offers night classes, summer classes, and a rolling application deadline. That means that it is never the wrong and always the right time to apply and start learning!
- Fast Track Programs. Because this is a certificate program, general education classes are not required. Students must only attend classes that specialize in their subject, making it easy to focus on what is most important for their career path.
- Experienced Professors. Professors in FNU’s program are active in the dental field, making them an overwhelmingly helpful resource for information on this subject.
Get an Education
Now that students know what to look for, it is important to strive for it. Students must take the time to apply for a program. Upon acceptance into a particular program, it becomes the student’s responsibility to ensure that they learn to the best of their ability.
While in class, students need to ask questions, study hard, practice their skills when they are able, and gain experience through various avenues, such as an internship or the required Clinical Externship.
Learn About the Field
Before studying in a program, and throughout the completion of a program, students should invest time in learning about the field. Whether that means speaking to the professors who have years of experience in the industry or spending time to research from a number of sources, those interested in this career should remain focused on learning.
Because FNU hires professors who are active in the field, attending the program offers one of the best reasons for future dental assistants to begin networking with professionals. A student’s professors might be able to give certain recommendations or tips regarding networking, while also potentially directing them toward a particular company or practice.
Why South Florida?
Dental care is essential across the world and the nation—but especially in Florida, a state with emerging numbers of an aging population. Teaching others to care for teeth and gums and committing to assist in the dental care of these individuals is a building block toward a healthier mouth. This paves way to a healthier population, as a growing number of studies showcase the link between oral health and overall health.
About FNU’s Program
The purpose of FNU’s Dental Assistant program is to prepare students for entry-level employment as dental assistants and dental auxiliaries. Graduates of the program may apply to take the Certified Dental Assistant Examination given by the Dental Assisting National Board. Graduates are eligible for employment as dental assistants with expanded functions and radiography skills.
Courses for this program include, but are not limited to the following:
- DEA 106 — Dental Anatomy
- DEA 108 — Diet, Nutrition, and Oral Hygiene
- DEA 110 — Dental X-Ray
- DEA 112 — Front Office Procedures
- DEA 114 — Dental Office Emergencies
FNU offers a well-rounded program in which students learn how to handle a wide variety of situations they may encounter while working in the dental field.
FNU: Opening Doors to the Future
If you are interested in this program or another program offered by FNU, be sure to apply now! FNU is here to help you succeed; we would love to help open the doors to your future.