How Long Does it Take to Become a Dental Assistant

Dental assisting is a popular career choice for many reasons, including job stability, quick entry into the workforce, and the ability to help others.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Dental Assistant

If you have a high school diploma or GED, you can become a dental assistant in nine to 11 months. It may take longer if you choose to pursue advanced certification.

Dental assistant training programs are often offered at:

1. Community college

2. Dental school

3. Vocational school

4. Technical school

5. University

These programs take nine months to two years to complete depending on the school and type of program (full-time, part-time, accelerated, or online).

Training programs at community college programs, for example, typically last nine to 12 months while an associate’s degree can take two years to complete.

Who is a Dental Assistant?

Dental assistants support dentists with several responsibilities that help them complete operations and keep the office running efficiently while working under the direction of dentists.

However, they also help dentists out by setting up the work environment, giving them the tools they need, and suctioning patients’ mouths.

Depending on the state, they may be permitted to perform different operations on patients.

For instance, taking x-rays or coronal polishing may only be performed by registered or certified dental assistants in several states.

Steps to Become a Dental 

You must fulfil several prerequisites before you may work as a dental assistant after making the decision.

Furthermore, here is a step-by-step tutorial for training to be a dental assistant is provided in the section below.

1. Select the Most Effective Educational Path

A community college or technical school is often where students finish their dental assistant programs.

Depending on whether a student is pursuing a certificate, diploma, or associate degree, programs are frequently completed in one to two years.

2. Undertake an Externship

Externships are another opportunity for aspiring dental assistants to get experience and differentiate themselves from the competition.

Externships are available as an optional part of many academic programs, offering priceless chances for real-world training.

For instance, they can specialize in many different areas of oral care. In addition to general dentistry, other areas open to experienced and educated dental assistants include:

Pediatric dentistry



Maxillofacial surgery


Dentofacial orthodontics

3. Complete State Certification

State-specific certification and licensing criteria can be found on the websites of the Dental Assistant National Board or by contacting the state dental board in question.

Students commonly pass the DANB’s Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam in states where certification is required.

4. Obtain Additional Certifications or Licenses

Students have the option of taking the National Entry Level Dental Assistant test in addition to the CDA exam, which is also given by the DANB.

Students interested in working in speciality dental assisting can pursue further credentials, such as:

Orthodontic Dentistry

Preventive Functions Dental Assistant

Restorative Functions Dental Assistant

How to Become a Certified Dental Assistant

How Long Does it Take to Become a Dental Assistant

1. You must complete a training course to become a qualified dental assistant.

2. A professional externship that you can use as experience on your CV is included once you complete your courses to give you practical training in the field of dental care.

3. You will have the opportunity to work with and observe the dentist and staff during the 120 hours of physical training that are spent in a dental office.

4. You will be able to start working as a dental assistant once your training and externship are complete.

Dental Salary

Dental assistants made an average annual pay of $41,180 as of May 2020, with those in the 90th percentile earning $58,390, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Although geographic location and amount of expertise have an impact on salaries, working as a dental assistant can be both financially and professionally beneficial.

The states offering the highest compensation are frequently those that also demand the highest levels of training, so prospective dental assistants should be aware of this.

FAQs on How Long Does It Take To Become A Dental Assistant

Some faqs on dental assistant.

1. What is the role of the dental assistant?

Assisting with dental procedures such as fillings, crowns, and extractions.

Taking & pouring dental impressions (molds of the mouth) Preparing patients for surgery. Operating equipment and monitors.

2. What is the highest pay for a dental assistant?

Dental Assistants made a median salary of $41,180 in 2020. The best-paid 25 percent made $49,810 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $34,470.

3. How long does it take to become a dental assistant in Canada?

To be a dental assistant in Canada, you need training and education, along with registration and licensing in your province.

In every province except for Quebec, beginner dental assistants need to be certified through the National Dental Assisting Examining Board.

4. How long does it take to become a dental assistant?

Becoming a dental assistant can take anywhere from nine months to two years, depending on the dental assisting career path you pursue.

Certificate programs generally last nine to eleven months, while associate degree programs take about two years to complete.

5. How much do dental assistants make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Dental Assistants earn an average salary of about $40,000 per year, and an average hourly wage of $19.00 per hour.

These rates can vary depending on your employer, experience, and location.

6. How long does it take to become a dentist?

It generally takes eight years to become a dentist: four years to earn a bachelor’s degree as an undergraduate and four years to earn a DDS or DMD in dental school.

If you’re interested in specializing, you’ll also need to complete a dental residency (more on that below).

7. How much do medical assistants make?

 The average salary for a Medical Assistant is $19.98 per hour in United States.

8. Where do dental hygienists get paid the most?

Alaska — $115,050.

California — $109,970.

Washington — $95,450.

Nevada — $89,360.

New Jersey — $88,150.

9. How long does it take to become a dental hygienist?

It will typically take between two and four years to become a dental hygienist, depending on the level of education in the industry you pursue.

To work as a dental hygienist, you will need to be licensed with your state and with the American Dental Association.

10. How do you become a dental technician?

High-school diploma or a GED.

Certification from an accredited, two-year dental laboratory technician program.

Optional Bachelor’s Degree in Dental Technology.

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CSN Team.

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