Dental Assisting

A top growth career in the booming field of healthcare.

Dental assistants now play a key role in dental offices across the country. As the demand for dental services continues to grow, these professionals are being called on to handle a broader range of responsibilities. Working alongside a dentist, their patient care work includes:

  • Handling instruments and operating dental equipment
  • Sterilizing instruments and equipment
  • Taking dental x-rays and processing the film
  • Removing sutures
  • Applying topical anesthetics to gums or cavity-preventive agents to teeth
  • Placing rubber dams on the teeth to isolate them for individual treatment

In addition, these professionals can also be involved in office-related tasks such as scheduling and confirming appointments, maintaining treatment records, handling patient payments and ordering supplies and other materials.

A great opportunity in patient care and support.

Dental Assistants who work beside dentists must remain alert and focused while standing on their feet most of the day. They need to aid the dentist while also making sure the patients are calm and comfortable.

A career as a dental assistant would be right for you if you:

  • Are very precise and detail oriented
  • Enjoy helping others
  • Have strong visual/spatial abilities
  • Have good communication and people skills
  • Work well as part of a team
  • Are interested in teeth and promoting oral health

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What are the career opportunities in this field?

Dental Assisting Career Outlook

Dentists are expected to hire more assistants to perform routine tasks so that they may devote their own time to more complex procedures. In addition, numerous job openings will arise out of the need to replace assistants who transfer to other occupations, retire, or leave for other reasons.

Dental Assisting Career Paths

Dental assistants work closely with, and under the supervision of, dentists. For many, this entry-level occupation provides basic training and experience and serves as a steppingstone to more highly-skilled and higher paying jobs.

Some dental assistants become:

  • Chairside dental assistant
  • Dental front office staff
  • Dental office receptionist
  • Office managers
  • Dental assisting instructors
  • Dental product sales representatives
  • Insurance claims processors for dental insurance companies
  • Others go back to school to become dental hygienists

As a dental assistant, you will likely perform a variety of tasks including chairside assisting, patient education, taking radiographs, polishing teeth, taking impressions and much more. In addition, these professionals can also be involved in office-related tasks such as scheduling and confirming appointments, maintaining treatment records, handling patient payments and ordering supplies and other materials.

Dental Assisting Work Environment

Dental assistants work in a well-lit, clean environment. Their work area usually is near the dental chair so that they can arrange instruments, materials, and medication and hand them to the dentist when needed.

About half of all dental assistants have a 35- to 40-hour workweek. Most of the rest work part-time or have variable schedules. Depending on the hours of the dental office where they work, assistants may have to work on Saturdays or evenings. Some dental assistants hold multiple jobs by working at dental offices that are open on different days or scheduling their work at a second office around the hours they work at their primary office.

What certification/licensure does this program prepare you for?

To succeed in these growing career fields, Minnesota requires candidates to graduate from an accredited program.

  • Dental assisting graduates will be prepared to sit for the Minnesota Board of Dentistry Licensing Exam, Jurisprudence Exam, and the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA®) exam to become a Licensed Dental Assistant (LDA) in the State of Minnesota and earn the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA®) certification through the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

What is the program title, length, and content?

The Herzing University dental assisting programs prepare graduates for the wide range of work they will be handling as professionals. This includes both hands-on patient care as well as the equally important tasks related to office scheduling, patient payments and treatment records.

Dental Assisting Program Comparison Chart

Program availability varies by location.

Program Credits Months
Diploma in Dental Assisting 47 16
Associate of Applied Science in Dental Assisting 71 24
*Average number of months for students to complete program

PDF icon Disclosure Methodology

As a Dental Assistant, you will perform a variety of tasks including chairside assisting, patient education, taking radiographs, polishing teeth, taking impressions and much more. In addition, these professionals can also be involved in office-related tasks such as scheduling and confirming appointments, maintaining treatment records, handling patient payments and ordering supplies and other materials.

Diploma in Dental Assisting

These diploma programs prepare graduates to successfully perform chair-side assisting, laboratory procedures, administrative duties and other expanded functions. Download Program Course Sheet

Associate of Applied Science in Dental Assisting

In addition to mastering the dental assisting duties as listed for the diploma, graduates of this program also gain a well-rounded background with the degree-required general education courses. They are prepared to enter a bachelor’s degree program such as the Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management. Download Program Course Sheet

Ask about transferring your prior credits into a Herzing Dental Assisting program!

Which locations offer this program?

Akron Campus
Minneapolis Campus

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