Get that Dental Assistant Job: Steps and Tips to Get Hired and Keep That Job


Everybody wants to get hired and though dental assistants have a promising future ahead of them, it still helps to be prepared and know what to do to get that job. Now that you have probably read all the important bits and pieces about being a dental assistant, it is high time to piece all those together and give you a plan of action – steps that you should take in order to get that job.

Read up on the proper course of action that you should take if you want to get hired as a dental assistant.

Study and Enroll in a Training Program

If you are a high school graduate considering to make a profession out of dental assisting, then the first thing you might want to do would be to enroll in an accredited training program. Educational and training programs usually range from a year to two years, by which you will be given a certificate or an associate’s degree.

Some might say that the first step should be applying for a job but it’s more important to do this first. Most dental assistant jobs only actually require a high school diploma but already being enrolled in a dental assisting training program will greatly boost your chances of getting hired compared with doing it straight from high school. This will let your employer know that you are serious about the profession and that you will learn more as you are being taught in school and practicing on the job at the same time.

Apply for an Entry Level Dental Assistant Position

Ideally, this should be the next step when you have already gained a few units in dental assisting. The fact that you’re currently enrolled in a program should give you the added advantage over other straight from high school applicants. However, don’t expect to get a high entry level salary as dental assistant positions offered to new graduates and people with no experience or background in the field is usually at $11 per hour while those with adequate experience and background could start at $13 to $15 an hour.

If you need the job first before you can enroll in any dental assisting programs, then make sure to get additional courses or short courses on chemistry, biology, office skills and management in advance. This will greatly improve your chances as employers would hire someone with a related background as a dental assistant.

Take the Certified Dental Assistant Exam

This is a must and couldn’t be stressed often enough. Certified Dental Assistants earn more, enjoy more benefits and have better chances at employment so getting certified is definitely a must. Plus, some states will not allow you to perform certain procedures if you don’t get the appropriate license or if you are not registered. The fact that you’re limited with what you can and cannot do will not only negatively affect your employment chances but your opportunities to advance in your career as well.

The Certified Dental Assistant exam is a 320 multiple-choice exam that you will have to take in four hours. It’s composed of General Chairside (GC), Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) and Infection Controle (ICE). The Certified Dental Assistant Exam is given all year round (but with certain deadlines and exam schedules) by the Dental Assisting National Board – the accrediting and qualifying body that is recognized in 36 states. The whole exam will cost you about $300 dollars but will definitely open up a lot of opportunities for you once you complete it and get certified.

Take Up Short Courses

Let me tell you the secret about promotion and any career advancement – it’s continuing education. Being part of the medical group, you will be faced with new techniques, new technology and new concept often. It is thus important to keep up with change and make sure that you are updated and well-versed in this.  The best thing to do would be to continuously study and keep abreast with the latest in technology and concepts in dental sciences.

Plus, most dental assisting programs are streamlined to pump as much information into you in the quickest time possible. It is then possible that you might have missed a couple of things or just glossed over other equally important skills. Remember, there are two aspects to a dental assistant’s job: one is clinical, while the other is more of clerical/administrative. If you want to lead a team of dental assistants or be given more administrative duties, then you must know about important office management practices. It will help if you take basic courses in accounting and bookkeeping, making inventories as well as time management.

The fact that you are continuously improving yourself will definitely bode well for you as employers view employees who seek to continuously become better positively.

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