The Complete Guide to Becoming a Dental Assistant

Have you gained an interest in dentistry and wish to work in the industry? Then, becoming a dental assistant may be the perfect opportunity for you! Aside from stability and quick entry into the workforce, becoming a dental assistant is a popular career choice because of the fulfilling experience you immerse yourself in by helping patients.

Just read through the steps below so that you can become a dental assistant and have a successful career:

Get a High School Diploma

The first step to becoming a dental assistant begins with completing your high school education. A high school diploma increases your chances of being hired by a dental office—educational background in chemistry, biology, anatomy, and health sciences will prepare you for the training programs and actual work, making you a much more promising candidate.

Graduate From a Dental Assistant Program

Education is a crucial part of becoming a dental assistant, as you will need to learn about many things for you to be able to advance in this career path. If you’ve already graduated from high school, the next step is to enroll in an accredited dental assistant program.

To obtain dental assistant certification, you’ll need hands-on training, clinical experience, and industry support. Luckily, there are several colleges near Schaumburg offering dental assistant education and training.

If you’re concerned about the length of time it takes before you can become a qualified dental assistant, don’t worry! Unlike college programs that will take you at least four years to finish, you’ll get to pursue your career within eight months.

Complete Licensing Requirements and Get Certification

State regulations vary on certification requirements, as some states require dental assistants to be certified, while others don’t have any formal education requirements. However, whether your state requires dental assistant certification or not, we recommend getting one.

A certification can help you further in your career—with certification, you’ll be able to perform more advanced duties and show employers that you’re dedicated to providing a high standard of patient care.

If you want to become a nationally-certified dental assistant, we recommend taking the Dental Assisting National Board’s (DANB) Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination. Aside from offering the assurance of competent assistance, becoming a certified dental assistant will also help you advance in your career!

Get an Externship

Although accredited dental assistant programs already provide extensive training and education, you must gain more hands-on experience if you want to stand out and improve your abilities.

You can gain further dental training through externships, which offer real-world training. Although externships are voluntary, they are crucial to practicing your skills and building a stronger resume. If you aim to work in pediatric care, orthodontic care, or other specialized areas of industry, then you’ll have to learn as much as you can.

Apply for a Position

Once you’ve received training, get certified, and have completed your externship, you’re finally ready to apply as a dental assistant! Since the demand for dental assistants is high, you will most probably have a fairly easy time landing a job. If you wish to do so, you may choose to complete an advanced degree to become a dental hygienist or dentist in the future.


With the demand for dental assistants in the country, becoming a dental assistant is indeed a smart career choice! As long as you enroll in an accredited dental assistant program and follow our guide, you’ll surely be able to advance your career and fulfill your goals!

Are you planning to work in the dental field as a dental assistant? Then, enroll in our accredited dental assistant program at Northwest Suburban College to get started! Our Dental Assistant program provides hands-on training, clinical experience, and industry support. Connect with us today to learn more!

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