Would you feel fulfilled knowing you helped soothe someone’s discomfort or pain?
Do you enjoy helping people in need?
If you answered “yes” to either or both questions, then a career as a dental assistant may be the best path for you.
Many who are attracted to the healthcare industry, but do not want to put in years of education, opt to be dental assistants, who still allow them to put a smile on their patient’s faces.
An online dental assistant training program can help prepare you for the medical industry and set you up for a lifetime of success.
Before you whip out your credit card, keep reading to learn more about online dental assistant training programs and how they can help you!
Article Table of Contents
- 1 What Courses are in an Online Dental Assistant Training Program?
- 2 Can you Earn a Dental Assistant Certification Completely Online?
- 3 How Long Does It Take to Earn a Dental Assistant Certification Online?
- 4 How Much Does an Online Dental Assistant Certification Cost?
- 5 Types of Dental Assistant Certifications
- 6 Benefits of Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
- 7 Drawbacks of Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
- 8 Benefits and Drawbacks of Online Dental Assistant Training Programs – Summary Table
- 9 Four Self-Study Tips for Dental Assistant Online Students
- 10 Schools Offering Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
- 11 Summary
- 12 Sources
- 13 Frequently Asked Questions
What Courses are in an Online Dental Assistant Training Program?
While the course names will vary based on the school, the course content follows the same curriculum to be properly certified as a dental assistant.
The most common courses include:
- Dental charting, anatomy, and terminology
- Dental front office
- Dental materials and medications
- Dental specialties
- Ethics and preventative dentistry
- Infection control and dental emergencies
- Introduction to dental assistant
- Professional opportunities and management software
- Radiology and OSHA
Can you Earn a Dental Assistant Certification Completely Online?
Yes, certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees can all be earned online.
How Long Does It Take to Earn a Dental Assistant Certification Online?
The average dental assistant online certification program takes between five and 11 months to complete, depending on the speed at which you work.
Most programs have 10 courses with 16 exams, equating to 27.4 continuing education units.
How Much Does an Online Dental Assistant Certification Cost?
Online dental assistant programs can be taken at a community college, dental school, technical school, vocational school, or university, and the costs vary greatly.
Pricing can range from $2,600 for a certificate from a technical or vocational school to up to $47,000 for an associate degree from a university.
The longer the program, the more comprehensive the coursework, and the more expensive the tuition.
Types of Dental Assistant Certifications
Five dental assistant certifications exist, including:
National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA)
The NELDA certification is for entry-level candidates who do not yet qualify for the CFA credential.
To earn this certification, applicants must pass three written exams and meet all other eligibility requirements.
Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)
The CDA certificate proves candidates can perform routine laboratory tasks like cleaning and organizing dental hardware, aiding the dentist during procedures, preparing patients for dental treatments, gathering patient dental and medical records, and updating them, working with x-ray imaging, and teaching patients how to maintain proper oral hygiene.
Applicants are required to pass three exams to become certified.
Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA)
COA is an intermediate-level dental professional credential with a specialty in orthodontics.
COAs have the applied skill level and knowledge to conduct all tasks related to orthodontic assistants.
Applicants must pass two written exams and meet a combination of experience, education, and other prerequisite requirements.
Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA)
The CPFDA certification is for dental hygienists or dental assistants who highlight the skills and knowledge in topical fluoride, sealants, and coronal polish.
Applicants must pass three written exams and meet all other eligibility requirements.
Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant (CRFDA)
The CRFDA is an intermedia-level certification for dental assistants that trains them to perform complicated tasks like polishing and filling amalgams, removing partial dentures, making final impressions for bridges and crowns, and filling restorations.
Applicants must pass four written exams and hold an updated CPR certificate.
Benefits of Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
In addition to helping others during their time of need, numerous benefits exist in signing up for an online dental assistant training program, including:
Develop Extensive Knowledge
Regardless of the fact whether your training program is online or in-person, you are required to learn the same material.
Therefore, an online dental assistant training program will teach you exactly what is needed to earn your certificate and enter the field.
Dental assistants are highly underrated in that they must be skilled, and efficient to be successful.
Enter the Workforce Quickly
Since most online dental assistant training programs are only one year, you will be qualified to be practicing once your certification is complete.
That means you do not need years of intensive coursework and hefty qualifications to get started being a dental assistant.
Instead, you can go down a career path that helps you start working quickly but with a lot of knowledge about your new craft.
Enjoy Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance is now more important than ever.
When taking an online dental assistant training program, you can study around your schedule, instead of having to be in a physical classroom at a specific time.
This grants you more time to spend with family, friends, and pets, while still learning the same content as an in-person class.
Experience More Individual Attention
Surprisingly, online courses offer more individual attention since you have a direct pipeline to the instructor via email.
Many students feel uncomfortable asking questions during class for the fear of sounding stupid.
The Internet removes that fear and allows students to ask questions only to the professor.
Also, there are many instances when you think of a question while studying or after class.
Instead of trying to remember it for the next class, you can email the instructor.
The greatest foe of online dental assistant training programs is procrastination.
Most put off things we need to do until the last minute, which is the worst possible time in education.
Taking an online dental assistant training program will force you to quickly learn the importance of completing tasks and assignments on time.
Since nobody is over your shoulder telling you to study, you must enforce an elevated level of self-discipline.
For those that do not have this skill, it will be improved by taking an online course.
Offers an Introduction to More Opportunities
Many select an online dental assistant training program as an introduction to the medical community and other opportunities.
When you have entered the oral care world, countless other professions can be explored, including a Dental Hygienist, or specializing in endodontic, pediatric dentistry, or orthodontics.
These multiple different career paths often begin with the student taking an online dental assistant course.
Drawbacks of Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
While there are many benefits of taking an online dental assistant training program, several drawbacks exist that you should be aware of, including:
Easy to Procrastinate
In the same manner, there is a dark side to the Force in Star Wars, there is a dark side to online dental assistant training programs, which is procrastination.
If you procrastinate with any online course, it will chop you into bits.
There is nobody around to hound you to log in or study or any reminders of upcoming exams and assignments.
One of the greatest areas where online students fail is procrastinating assignments and schoolwork.
Before you know it, several weeks have passed and you have fallen behind.
Need to Find your Learning Path
In-person instructors can be lighthouses of knowledge, immediately available to answer questions or assist with difficult material.
With an online dental assistant training program, the instructor will not be immediately available, so you must find the learning path that works for you, which can be extremely difficult for some students.
Require Excellent Time Management Skills
An Internet-based dental assistant training program demands you to develop time management skills.
As in life, if you do not effectively manage your time, you will become buried under a pile of coursework, and it can be difficult to get caught up.
Online courses require the self-discipline to manage chunks of time to study and complete assignments.
This is also a positive aspect of taking an online dental assistant training program in that if you do not possess this skill, you will be forced to learn it.
You Must be an Active Learner
Online courses are a sink or swim scenario, so you must become an independent, active learner, or you cannot make it to the finish line.
An active learner is someone who takes the initiative to engage in the course material to learn the skills necessary to become a dental assistant.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Online Dental Assistant Training Programs – Summary Table
|Benefits of Online Dental Assistant Training Programs||Drawbacks of Online Dental Assistant Training Programs|
|Develop Extensive Knowledge||Easy to Procrastinate|
|Enter the Workforce Quickly||Need to Find your Learning Path|
|Enjoy Work-Life Balance||Require Excellent Time Management Skills|
|Experience More Individual Attention||You Must be an Active Learner|
|Offers an Introduction to More Opportunities|
Four Self-Study Tips for Dental Assistant Online Students
Historically, earning an online college degree meant physically sitting in a classroom to learn from an instructor, which posed challenges for those with complicated schedules.
Online learning eliminates this issue and grants students the flexibility to learn from anywhere at any time.
However, maintaining the discipline to learn without a physical instructor can be challenging to some.
There are several self-study tips for online dental assistant students that could help, including:
Determine How You Learn Best
Every student learns and retains information differently and works best at various times.
If you are a morning person then study first thing.
If you are more of a night owl then set aside a few hours after dinner to review the material.
If you have children and they require your attention in the morning and evening, then create study sessions in the middle of the day.
Do whatever you need to do to get down to business.
Designate a Specific Study Area
To effectively learn the material, you must separate your schoolwork from your home life.
To do so, you must have a study area that is conducive to learning.
Make sure your study area has a comfortable chair and desk to avoid discomfort and sufficient lighting to reduce eye strain.
Select a space that is quiet with no distractions to eliminate the chance of being interrupted.
If you are in an area that has some distractions, remove them.
From social media to Netflix to dishes in the sink, you may be subjected to numerous distractions when trying to learn your dental assistant materials from home.
The best-performing students know how to lessen or eliminate these distractions to focus on schoolwork priorities.
Regardless of your study space, turn off your cell phone to avoid notifications, and download a website blocker if you have the temptation to surf the web or check emails.
Schedule Regular Breaks
When studying for length periods, it is unhealthy and counterproductive not to take regular breaks.
While you may lose a little time when taking study breaks, it will help improve your concentration on the required material.
Always try to engage in soft physical activity, like going for a walk, which can help you return to studying with more focus and energy.
If you cannot get outside due to inclement weather, take your breaks away from the study area and try to not look at screens during these breaks.
Since you are likely staring at a screen while studying, looking at screens while on your break will further strain your eyes, thus making you more tired.
Schools Offering Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
|Penn Foster||925 Oak Street Scranton, PA 18515|
|Weston Distance Learning||2001 Lowe Street, Fort Collins, CO 80525|
|Borough of Manhattan Community College||199 Chambers Street New York, NY 10007|
|SDSU Global Campus||5250 Campanile Drive San Diego, CA 92182-1920|
|Monroe Community College||1000 East Henrietta Road Rochester, New York 14623|
|Rutgers Division of Continuing Studies||3 Rutgers Plaza New Brunswick, NJ 08901|
|University of Houston-Downtown||One Main Street Houston, TX 77002|
|Texarkana College||2500 North Robison Road Texarkana, Texas 75599|
|Texas Academy of General Dentistry||1016 La Posada Dr. Suite 210, Austin, TX 78752|
|Technical College of the Lowcountry||921 Ribaut Road, Beaufort, SC, 29902|
|SF State Downtown Campus||160 Spear Street, Suite 1220 San Francisco, California 94105|
|Kennesaw State University||3333 Busbee Drive, #3301 Kennesaw, Georgia 30144|
|Hudson Valley Community College||80 Vandenburgh Avenue, Troy, NY 12180|
|Lake Area Technical College||1201 Arrow Ave. Watertown, SD 57201|
|International Career Institute||8721 Santa Monica Blvd #905 Los Angeles CA 90069-4507|
|Lehman College||250 Bedford Park Boulevard West Bronx, NY 10468|
|Western Nevada College||2201 West College Parkway, Carson City, NV 89703|
With excellent average pay and a bright future career outlook with many advancement opportunities, becoming a dental assistant is a great entry into the medical field.
With so many benefits that outweigh the drawbacks, those looking to help people during their time of need can have a fulfilling career as a dental assistant or in the oral healthcare industry.
Your new career path starts with an online dental health certification program!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some of the essential skills needed to become a dental assistant?
The best dental assistants possess interpersonal, communication, listening, strong organization, dexterity, administrative, and technical skills.
You must have a detail-oriented personality and act with professionalism while holding basic computer knowledge and the ability to follow strict instructions.
Ther skills include excellent multitasking, being a quick problem-solver, maintaining a positive attitude, and being a team player.
How much does a dental assistant make?
The dental assistant national median salary is around $62,000 per year.
The more experience and education a dental assistant has, the higher the pay.
What is the projected growth of the field?
Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental assistant career growth is expected to increase by a whopping 11% by 2030, which is faster than average for most other occupations.
Aside from salary, what are the professional benefits of being a dental assistant?
Dental assistants have good hours, excellent job stability, can help others, and have a prominent level of career advancement opportunities.
You can continue your education and gain enough experience to move into other related fields like a dentist, dental hygienist, dental technician, research associate, office manager, or dental sales representative.