Accredited Dental Assistant Programs

Dental assistants must keep abreast of advancements in the field of dental medicine. Beyond the progress in dental technology and techniques, it is also possible to add skills that will improve salary and other considerations. Once dental assistants have graduated from their dental assistant programs, there are a number of reasons for them to continue their training and education. When searching for a program to continue your education, you should find one that has been accredited by a state-approved association.

Accreditation is a process that programs and schools go through to prove their worth to potential students and to enhance the reputation of a degree received from them. Accrediting representatives determine whether students graduating from a given program have the knowledge they will need in their professional lives. They interview alumni to see if they have achieved success due to the instruction they received at their alma mater. They also compare a dental assistant programís curriculum with those of its competitors to see how it stacks up. Most employers will only hire dental assistants who have received their training from accredited schools.

Dental assistant programs must produce candidates who know the latest techniques in dentistry. Dental assistants are responsible for much of the care a patient receives at the dentistís office. Dental assistants must take courses in dental radiography, as one of their main responsibilities is taking x-rays of patientsí teeth. They help prepare patients for major procedures and often sit chair-side with the dentist to assist with tools and equipment as needed. Dental assistant must be versed in the vocabulary of dentistry. Finally, they must perform certain procedures on patients, such as flossing and cleaning teeth post-procedure. The best place to learn these skills is through dental assistant programs and their certificate courses.

One way that dental assistants keep current with trends in dentistry is through belonging to professional organizations of dental assistants and professors in the field that combine their efforts to help each other and improve the industry as a whole. One of their most important functions is to offer continuing education that dental assistants need to maintain their licenses and certifications. Most states have a certification process that only lasts for a couple of years before it is renewed. This is to ensure that dental professionals continually update their knowledge and techniques. Professional associations provide many of the classes needed so that working dental assistants need not return to dental assistant programs to maintain their skills. Some professional organizations offer classes onsite, online, or by way of lecture series by noted professionals. These classes are geared toward fulfilling state requirements.

Beyond offering continuing education, dental assistant professional organizations serve a variety of other functions. For example, some professional organizations offer liability insurance to their members. If a dental assistant were sued for damage caused during a procedure, the dental assistantís liability insurance would cover the cost of repairing the patientís teeth. Many states require dental practices to carry such insurance. Professional organizations can offer their members liability insurance at a discounted rate because they can bring a large group to insurers and wield enough power to receive below market rates. They also provide lobbying power with local, state, and federal legislators. When new government regulation comes up concerning the dental industry, professional organizations have lawyers and lobbyists to ensure their members are heard and can participate in the political process. Finally, professional organizations are venues in which members can network, finding new professional opportunities and meeting others in the field. Professional organizations help make it possible for dental assistants to move up in the field.

Last Updated: 05/22/2014