You’ve studied hard, listened attentively and even attended a few tutoring sessions to reinforce the material. You’re so close to being a professional dental assistant, ready to take on the world of oral hygiene and work hands-on alongside dentists. Now, as you near the end of your career at an Arizona dental assistant school, you’re starting to ask yourself, “what comes next?”
Have no fear. In this article, we’ll discuss what comes after finishing dental assistant school and what you can expect in this exciting stage of your career.
Most accredited Arizona dental assistant schools will have an externship program to give students the real world and hands-on experience they need to envision what the day-to-day work life is of a dental assistant.
These externships come after all course and lab work is completed, typically lasting anywhere from four to eight weeks. A lot of times externships can be found directly through the school you’re attending, career services and/or local partnerships.
Dental assistants need to be certified to perform all kinds of day-to-day procedures, such as processing patient X-rays and being aware of proper infection control protocol. If you’re planning on staying in Arizona to work as a dental assistant, you’re required to get certified by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), for which you can apply to take on their website, or through your accredited school.
Depending on your school, you may be able to complete your certifications along with your coursework. For example, Arizona dental assistant schools like Arizona College let students test for both their Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) certification and their Infection Control Certification (ICE) after they’ve completed their respective classes in Radiation and Infection.
Once you’ve paid your fees and submitted your exam application, it usually takes about three to four weeks for the application to be processed. You’ll then receive a notice by mail to sign up at a local testing center. Again, check out the Dental Assisting National Board website for pertinent study outlines and examination materials. Once you’ve taken the exam, it takes another three to four weeks to get your results back.
Here’s a breakdown of the fees below:
- RHS/ICE Exams are $250 if taken together
- Each of the above exams are $175 if taken separately
- The main General Chairside exam is $200
If you’re planning on looking for dental assistant jobs around the country, take a look at this website for each state’s specific certification requirements.
Target Your Ideal Work Environment
Dental assistants have the option of working in a variety of work environments and maneuvering between administrative and clinical duties. Here’s a brief overview of some of the work environments you can end up in:
- Pediatric dental practices
- Cosmetic dental practices
- General dental practices
- Orthodontic practices
- Oral and maxillofacial surgical practices
Enjoy Your Career
Now that you know what to do following your Arizona dental assistant school coursework, you can progress to the next phase of your journey to an exciting new career!