How to Become a Dental Assistant – Complete Guide
In 2022, the dental industry in Canada is worth $17.7 billion. The growing elderly population is stimulating the need for dental support in the country. That’s one of the reasons why dentists and dental assistants are popular career choices.
Becoming a dental assistant is a major step toward turning into a demanded player in the dental industry. However, it requires in-depth learning and certification. Let’s take a closer look at how to become a dental assistant in Canada.
Reasons To Become a Dental Assistant
A dental assistant plays an important role in dental care. These professionals are essential to high-quality dental treatment and services. Dental assistants are the people behind the patients’ comfort and convenience.
The top reasons to become a dental assistant are:
Dental assistant – an In-Demand Career
One of the most important reasons why Canadians are wondering how to become a dental assistant is in high demand. Since more and more people are looking for dental services, new dental offices are opening up across the country.
A dental office can’t function without a certified dental assistant. That’s why new professionals are likely to find a job quickly.
The average salary of a dental assistant in Canada is around $44,850 per year or $23 per hour. The highest annual dental assistant salary is in Alberta ($53,284) and the lowest is in Quebec ($38,022).
That’s a decent salary for the majority of cities in Canada. It’s worth noting that dentists make about three times as much. While you work as a dental assistant, you can gain valuable experience that can be used to get further education in the industry.
A Dental Assistant Has Several Career Opportunities
The working environment in dental clinics is usually fast-paced. Dental assistants have an excellent opportunity to learn new skills. While they are gaining valuable experience and learning from the best, dental assistants can consider career growth.
In many cases, dental assistants choose to climb the career ladder and continue their education. They learn how to be a good dental assistant and go further to become hygienists, office managers, and dentists. The salaries at these positions are much higher.
The first thing people ask about when exploring how to become a certified dental assistant is how long it takes. The dental assisting program usually takes less than a year to complete. You can finish training and start earning a decent salary in just eight to twelve months.
The dental industry in Canada is steadily growing. As long as there is a demand for dentists, there will be a demand for dental assistants.
By becoming a certified dental assistant, you are obtaining job security. You can grow and develop your skills within the industry without being worried about sudden layoffs. Even if the dental clinic of your choice will be going through hard times, you shouldn’t have a problem getting a new job.
How do you become a dental assistant? Here is where you should start
How to Become a Dental Assistant – Key Steps
The first step to becoming a dental assistant is to finish secondary education. If you already have a secondary school diploma, you need to find a dental assistant training program that suits your needs.
Training and Education
High-quality training and education are integral to becoming a demanded dental assistant. Programs vary in quality and duration. In some schools, you can finish training in just eight months. In others, you have to study for over a year.
When choosing a school for dental assistants, you need to consider the following factors:
- Level of preparation for the exam you will need to pass with the National Dental Assisting Examining board.
- The duration of education and training and how it fits in with your studying and working plans.
- The cost of education.
- The proximity to your home.
- Reviews from other people who completed the program.
- Whether the school is accredited. You can find an accredited program here.
If you already have dental education that you received abroad, you don’t need to go through the training again. You can go directly to stage two and take the certification exam.
Once you complete your training, you need to pass certification by the National Dental Assisting Examining Board. The exception to this certification is valid only if you live in Quebec. The goal of the exam is to evaluate your skills and certify your ability to provide dental assistance.
There are two parts to the National Dental Assisting Examining Board’s exam: written and clinical practice. Clinical practice is only necessary if you completed your training in a non-accredited school or out of the country. The board offers all potential dental assistants a useful handbook to help them prepare for the exam.
If you don’t achieve a passing score, which is generally in the 60s, you get an opportunity to retake the written exam. Once you pass, you become a certified dental assistant.
The certification is a one-time procedure that doesn’t require annual confirmation or renewal.
Finding a Job as a Dental Assistant
Once you complete your training and pass the exam, you can start looking for a job as a dental assistant.
Since dental assistants are in high demand in Canada, you shouldn’t have trouble finding your first job. Consider searching for job postings in the Job Bank and Glassdoor. If you have a specific town or area in mind, you can look for local job listings.
In Canada, regardless of the province, you have a great opportunity to find a job in the area you prefer. Remember that the salaries of dental assistants can differ from province to province and even from city to city.
Keep in mind that if you pass your exam in one province but decide to move to another to get a job, you have to notify Canadian Dental Assisting Regulatory Authorities. This can help you avoid problems with the hiring process in another province.
Many people who want to work in the dental industry wonder, “How do I become a dental assistant?” In Canada, it takes less than a year to complete your training and obtain the necessary license.
To become a dental assistant, you need to finish your secondary education and get a secondary school diploma. Next, you would need to complete a training program and pass a certification exam. The entire process can take between eight and 12 months.
Dental assistants are in high demand in Canada. That’s an excellent career choice for people who want to climb the career ladder in the dental industry.
Are you interested in going to career college to become a dental assistant?
Contact KLC College today for more information about our program.