Steps to Get Started in Dental Assisting School

Before we get started, you probably want to know what role a Dental Assistant plays in a Dental Office.  Well-educated Dental Assistants help with dental procedures, work on administrative tasks within a dental office, and communicate with patients such as daily dental care.

More specifically, dental assistants typically work closely with patients and dentists.  Responsibilities usually include:

  • Scheduling appointments using technology such as Dentrix
  • Sanitize and prepare exam rooms
  • Sterilize equipment
  • Prepare patients for treatments
  • Assist dentists during procedures
  • Expose and develop X-rays
  • Take impressions

Basically, Dental Assistants ensure that operations run smoothly as the dentist treats patients.

Now that you’ve made the choice that Dental Assistant career is right for you, let’s get started with the steps you’ll likely take.

Selecting a Dental Assistant Program.
Do your homework.  Finding the right program for you takes a little investigation.

  1. Google each of the trade schools you’re considering.  Typically, past students will provide reviews of their experience and Google is the best place to see them.
  2. Take a tour and meet the instructors.  You’ll get a sense of the program when you’re able to observe the classroom setting and the labs you’ll be learning in.  If instructors aren’t teaching, you should be able to ask them questions about what you would experience in Dental Assisting School.
  3. Understand the curriculum and confirm that you’ll receive the training required to earn the state certification through the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). Also, consider the amount of real-world, hands-on training as opposed to textbook training.
  4. Understand what is included in the costs of the tuition.  Some schools include class material such as textbooks, scrubs, and exam fees to name a few, however, some items are your responsibility such as materials for note taking.

Determine Financing

There are many options for financing, here are a few things to consider.

  1. Cash payments. If you can pay cash some schools offer discounts.  These discounts can be substantial and helpful to reduce costs.
  2. Payment Plans may also be an option.  Typically, the payment plan requires a small deposit then the remaining will be divided throughout the program.  For example, if the program is 3 months long, then the remaining balance would be divided into 3 payments.
  3. Scholarships. While there may be some work you’ll need to complete, the payoff is worth it.  Scholarships can cover some of the programs to help reduce your costs.  These do not have to be repaid.
  4. Grants.  Depending on the organization, obtaining a grant can take up to 3 months for approval.  Well worth the wait and effort required as grants do not have to be repaid.
  5. Financing is also an option.

Now, it’s your time to select your course and start date.  Most Dental Assistant Programs have multiple class options to fit students’ busy schedules – morning, afternoon, evening, and hybrid.

To help you successfully complete the course, reputable schools recommend that students make a commitment to themselves to attend every class, arrive on time (if not early), and complete the coursework while not in the classroom.

Once you’ve completed the course, you should be able to pass the certification exam and get licensed.  Some Dental Assistant schools will accept returning to the classroom for additional coursework as you study before you take the exam.

Students who graduate from Altrain Assisting Academy have enjoyed employment with some of Arizona’s top dental offices with the assistance of the Career Placement benefit that’s offered.  In fact, in 2021 Altrain Assisting Academy boasted a 92% job placement rate.

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