Steps to Becoming a Dental Assistant

Becoming a dental assistant can be an excellent opportunity to kick-start a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As a dental assistant, you will have the chance to work closely with dentists and dental hygienists, helping to provide patients with the best possible care. With a growing demand for dental services, the job outlook for dental assistants is exceptional, and there are many opportunities for career advancement.

Steps to Becoming a Dental Assistant in Less Than 10 Months

Are you interested in a career in the dental field but don’t want to spend years in school? Becoming a dental assistant may be the right choice for you. Dental assistants work closely with dentists and help them with various tasks, including patient care, office management, and laboratory duties. If you’re interested in pursuing this career path, here are the steps to becoming a dental assistant in as little as 10 months.

Research Dental Assistant Programs

The first step in becoming a dental assistant is to research dental assistant programs in your area. Look for programs that are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), as this ensures that the program meets certain standards of education and training. Additionally, consider factors such as program length, cost, and schedule to determine which program is the best fit for you.

Enroll in a Dental Assistant Program

Once you’ve identified a dental assistant program that meets your needs, it’s time to enroll. Most dental assistant programs take between 9 and 11 months to complete, so you can be on your way to a new career in less than a year. During your program, you’ll learn about dental anatomy and terminology, infection control, radiography, and other essential skills that you’ll need as a dental assistant.

Complete a Dental Assistant Externship

Many dental assistant programs require students to complete an externship before graduating. This is an opportunity to gain real-world experience in a dental office and put your new skills to the test. During your externship, you’ll work alongside dental professionals and learn how to assist with procedures, take x-rays, and manage patient records.

Pass the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Exam

After completing your dental assistant program and externship, you’ll need to pass the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) exam to become a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA). The DANB exam is a comprehensive test that covers topics such as general chairside assisting, infection control, and radiation health and safety. By passing the DANB exam, you demonstrate that you have the knowledge and skills necessary to work as a dental assistant.

Apply for Dental Assistant Jobs

With your dental assistant education and certification in hand, you’re ready to start applying for dental assistant jobs. Look for job openings in dental offices, clinics, and hospitals in your area. You can also reach out to dental staffing agencies, which can help connect you with temporary or permanent dental assistant positions.


Becoming a dental assistant is a great option for those who want to work in the dental field but don’t want to spend years in school. By completing a dental assistant program, gaining real-world experience through an externship, passing the DANB exam, and applying for jobs, you can become a dental assistant in as little as 10 months. With the right education and training, you can have a fulfilling career helping dentists and improving the oral health of patients.


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