What is the difference between a clinical and administrative dental assistant?
While both roles are important components of the dental staff, an administrative dental assistant focuses more on the office's administrative tasks, such as greeting patients, collecting patient information, filling out medical forms, organizing office records, and other clerical tasks. On the other hand, a clinical dental assistant helps dentists and dental hygienists with treatment procedures, sterilization and disinfection of dental tools, patient charting, taking vital signs, processing quality radiographs (x-rays), and more.
Can I work in a dental office without certification?
Upon successful completion of this course, you will have the skills needed to work in a dental office, but regulations for the practice of dental assisting vary by state. To find out about the laws in your state, consult the Dental Practice Act, available through the Board of Dentistry. Passing the Anatomy, Morphology and Physiology, Radiation Health and Safety, and Infection Control components of the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) Certification and the Radiation Health and Safety and Infection Control components of the DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) Certification may enable dental assistants to meet requirements for performing certain expanded duties in many states. Depending on state laws and regulations, a dental assistant certified by DANB can often perform a larger set of expanded duties.
All students are encouraged to pursue certification. Completion of this online course will help entry-level students gain employment to fulfill the required work experience. A minimum of 300 hours of work experience accrued over a two month to four-year period as a dental assistant is needed to qualify for the DANB NELDA certification and a minimum of 3,500 hours accrued over a two-to-four-year period before taking the General Chairside (not included) component of the DANB CDA certification. Certified Dental Assistant, National Entry Level Dental Assistant, CDA, NELDA, and DANB are trademarks of the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc (DANB). This course is not reviewed or endorsed by DANB.
What is a National Entry-Level Dental Assistant?
National Entry Level Dental Assistants have passed the three components (Anatomy, Morphology and Physiology, Radiation Health and Safety, and Infection Control) of the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Certification Exam and have met the necessary work experience requirements. Students must accrue a minimum of 300 hours of work experience over a two-month to four-year period as a dental assistant to qualify for the DANB NELDA certification. While regulations vary by state, National Entry Level Dental Assistants often take on more responsibility than those who are not certified. All students are encouraged to pursue certification.
What is a Certified Dental Assistant?
Certified Dental Assistants have passed the three components (General Chairside Assisting, Radiation Health and Safety, and Infection Control) of the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Certification Exam and have met the necessary work experience requirements. While regulations vary by state, Certified Dental Assistants often take on more responsibility than those who are not certified. All students are encouraged to pursue certification. Please note: The General Chairside Assisting component of the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Certification Exam is not included in this course, and you must obtain a minimum of 3,500 hours accrued over a two-to-four-year period of work experience to meet eligibility requirements.
What will I do as a clinical dental assistant?
You will have a wide range of important duties as a clinical dental assistant. Your job will vary based on the dental office you work for and the state your work in. Some typical duties include preparing patients for treatment, sterilizing tools, instructing patients on proper dental hygiene, passing instruments to the dentist during procedures, keeping records of treatments, scheduling appointments, processing x-rays, and working with patients on billing and payments. In a few states, dental assistants may be able to polish teeth, apply sealants and fluoride, and give topical anesthetics.
What education do I need to become a clinical dental assistant?
In many states, there is no specific type of training required of a dental assistant other than a high school diploma. A great way to set yourself apart and set yourself up for success in a career as a dental assistant is to complete an online training course like the Clinical Dental Assistant course from ed2go. After completing your online training course, it is a good idea to sit for your Certified Dental Assistant certification to further show your commitment to the profession.
What is the average salary of a clinical dental assistant?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average median salary of a clinical dental assistant is currently just over $40,000 per year. This salary can vary widely depending on your experience level, education, and location in the United States.
Are clinical dental assistants in demand?
Yes, clinical dental assistants are in demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for dental assistants is very good. Employment is projected to grow by 11% through 2030, which is considered much faster than average. Ongoing research linking good dental health with good overall health is driving this growth as demand for preventative services continues to increase.
What kind of hours do clinical dental assistants work?
Most dental assistants work a full-time schedule of 40 hours per week; however, some dental assistants work part-time. Traditionally, a large percentage of the hours you will work is during the day, but you may be asked to work some evenings or weekends, depending on your dental office.
Where do clinical dental assistants work?
Almost all clinical dental assistants work in dental offices under the supervision of dentists, though some may find employment with the government or in physicians' offices. Dental assistants work very closely with dental hygienists. In this position, you will need to wear surgical masks, safety goggles, gloves, and protective clothing to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. You will have the opportunity to sit, but you will also need to be on your feet for large portions of the day.
What qualities should a good clinical dental assistant have?
To be a good clinical dental assistant, you should be detail-oriented and good at working with your hands. You will need to follow precise protocols and work with your hands in tight spaces. You should also be a good communicator as well as a good listener. You will work directly with patients daily, so a calm, friendly demeanor is necessary. It is important to have great organizational skills as well.
Is a clinical dental assistant the same as a dental hygienist?
No, a dental assistant and a dental hygienist are not the same. A dental assistant directly supports a dentist with small, supervised jobs performed on patients' teeth and administrative tasks in the office. A dental hygienist will work one-on-one with patients with less supervision. A dental assistant can practice after earning a dental assistant training certificate, while a dental hygienist must obtain an associate degree in dental hygiene at a minimum.
Can a dental assistant become a dental hygienist?
Yes, a dental assistant can become a dental hygienist by earning an associate or bachelor's degree in dental hygiene and passing the appropriate state-mandated licensing exams. If you are considering a future career as a dental hygienist, becoming a dental assistant is a great way to get into the industry and gain some experience while you earn your degree. Do not wait to get started in a career you love.
Will I be responsible for cleaning teeth as a dental assistant?
No. Dental assistants are not responsible for cleaning a patient's teeth. Only a licensed dentist or dental hygienist is allowed to clean teeth or remove dental calculus.
Does this course prepare for a certification?
Yes, you will be prepared for the Anatomy, Morphology and Physiology (AMP), Infection Control (ICE), and Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) portions of the Dental Assisting National Board examinations – NELDA or CDA. Once you have gained clinical experience and in-person hours, you will be prepared for the general assisting exam.
When can I start this course?
This course is open enrollment, so you can register and start the course whenever you are ready. Access to your course can take 24-48 business hours.
How long does it take to complete this course?
After you register, you will receive 12 months to complete the course. The time allotted for completion has been calculated based on the number of course hours.
What if I don't have enough time to complete the course within the time frame provided?
The time allotted for course completion has been calculated based on the number of course hours. However, if you are unable to complete the course, contact the student advising team to see what options you may have available to work out a suitable completion date. Please note that an extension fee may be charged.
What kind of support will I receive?
Our courses are designed to accommodate various learning preferences. Depending on the course structure, you may get different forms of support. Self-paced courses are designed to be user-friendly and independent, minimizing the need for external support. In courses with instructors, our direct platform support feature includes opportunities for questions, discussions, and remediation, with email and phone support available for select courses. Our student advising team is available to guide you on program requirements and administrative requests, but they do not provide assistance with course content. Our goal is to provide you with the necessary support for success, whether it's through self-paced exploration, direct communication, or guidance from our advising team.
What happens when I complete the course?
Upon successfully passing the final exam, you will be awarded a certificate of completion from the school or organization that you registered through.
Am I guaranteed a job?
ed2go courses will help you gain the skills you need to obtain an entry-level position in most cases. However, you should always research the job market in your area before enrolling.
Can I get financial assistance?
ed2go courses are non-credit, so they do not qualify for federal aid, FAFSA, and Pell Grant. In some states, vocational rehab or workforce development boards may provide funding to take our courses. Additionally, you may qualify for financial assistance if you meet certain requirements. Learn more about financial assistance.
How can I get more information about this course?
If you have questions that are not answered on our website, representatives are available via LIVE chat. You can also call us at 1-877-221-5151 during regular business hours to have your questions promptly answered. If you are visiting us during non-business hours, please send us a question using the "Contact Us" form.