Your dental assisting degree, diploma or certificate will not only provide you with the knowledge and hands-on experience needed to excel as a dental assistant, but higher levels of education will also earn you a higher starting salary and allow you more options when searching for a job.
In addition, graduation from a dental assisting program accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA) gives students automatic eligibility to take the certification exam to become a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA). Certification can also lead to a higher salary, and is required in some states.
Dental assisting classes are available through a variety of sources, including vocational schools, community colleges and dental specialty schools. Find out more about dental assistant training or see what programs are available near you.
Dental Assisting Certificates and Diplomas
Students looking to complete their dental assisting education quickly or seeking to spend less money for their schooling should look into dental assisting certificate or diploma programs. These programs typically last from nine months to a year, and are thus cheaper than two-year programs. Some accelerated programs can be completed in an even shorter time. Check with your school to see if an accelerated track is an option. (see a list of recommended schools)
Dental Assisting Associate’s Degrees
Students who are willing to invest the time and money can earn a two-year associate’s degree in dental assisting — typically either an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) or an Associate in Occupational Studies (AOS).
The extra schooling over a one-year program maximizes students’ expertise, cutting down on the amount of on-the-job training needed and making them more desirable to potential employers. Also, if you choose to advance your education later in your career, the credits earned for your associate’s degree may count toward earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree.