How To Become a Dental Assistant

By now you’re probably excited about starting a career in one of the fastest growing fields in the US. With a growth rate of 31% between 2010-2020 what’s not to love? Not only are chances of getting hired easier but it is one of the most stable job markets out there (closely related to medical assisting and certified nurse assisting). But you probably want to know exactly how to become a dental assistant right? Well it can be difficult not knowing where to start but we will explain the entire process here. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

How To Become a Dental Assistant

There are a couple of routes you can take on how to become a dental assistant. In most states there are no formal requirements to become an assistant besides having a high school diploma or GED. But even if there are no requirements many people that want to become dental assistants decide to get formal training in order to have a better chance of getting hired and staying hired. So you have two options: either find a job that offers on the job training or attend formal training to receive a degree/certificate. We’ll explain what you need to do for either option. But you should check your state’s requirements first.

Campus Explorer Banner


On the Job Training

1. Earn your high school diploma or GED. This is an obvious step when applying for almost any job. A diploma or GED are mandatory on how to become a dental assistant.

2. Check your state’s requirements for dental assisting. As we’ve discussed many states do not have formal requirements but some do. Check the DANB for what your state requires.

3. Find a job that offers on the job training. Once you’re ready you can start looking around for jobs. Jobs that offer on the job training are harder to find nowadays but they are out there. Check out our site’s job search for assistance and contact offices to find out whether or not they offer it. If you need some interview tips you can check out this article.

Formal Dental Assistant Training

1. Earn your high school diploma or GED. Again this is a basic requirement for most jobs.

2. Check your state’s requirements. Not all states have the same requirements. Some have different standards to be met by state law.

3. Find the right dental assisting program. Some programs run for 9 months to a year and graduates receive a certificate upon completion. Other programs run for about two years and are offered by trade schools and community colleges. Graduates receive a degree upon completion. Make sure the program is ADA approved.

4. Start looking for a job. Once you have all your requirements met the final step is to look for a job. Armed with your new certificate/degree you will have a better chance of getting hired over your other competitors. Look here to learn how to write your resume and dental assistant cover letter.

  Campus Explorer Banner

And that’s all there is to it on how to become a dental assistant. It’s pretty straightforward for the most part. For an even better advantage in the field (including a higher salary and more benefits) you can look into getting certified.