Taking Dental Assistant Classes Online

take dental assistant classes online

Online education is a way to get quality career training more affordably and flexibly than you could in a physical classroom. However, this is not the perfect option for all students or all career paths. Read on to decide if you should take your dental assistant classes online.

Are There Dental Assistant Classes Online?

There are a number of dental assistant education and training options now available online. However, the size of the online component varies:

all online
All Online–These programs are entirely online and do not offer or require you to meet in-person at anytime.

mostly online
Mostly Online–These programs combine online classrooms with in-person training and hands-on clinical experience.

partially online
Partially Online–These hybrid programs are properly classified as “in-person,” but they may offer some learning resources or course materials through an online portal.

What are the Enrollment Requirements of Online Dental Assistant Classes?

Typically you only need to have a high-school diploma to enroll. But you must also have regular access to a computer and a high-speed Internet connection. Trying to rely on a borrowed computer or a public WI-FI network can make your education more stressful than it needs to be.

How Long Do Online Dental Assistant Classes Take?

That all depends on the program. Some take as little as a few months to complete, but they offer only a brief introduction to the field. Others take closer to a year, and the best programs take around two years and award an associate’s degree credential. Getting started in a new job sooner is obviously a priority, but the less training you have the less likely you are to advance in your career.

What Do You Learn in Online Dental Assistant Classes?

Dental assistants take on many different roles and get involved with both administration and care. Here are some examples of common classes:

  • Dental Terminology and Anatomy
  • Dental Law and Ethics
  • Preventative Dentistry and Nutrition
  • Dental Materials and Equipment
  • Infection Control
  • Communication in a Dental Setting
  • Dental Practice Management

How Do You Select Online Dental Assistant Classes?

There are a few factors to focus on before you decide on a program. Here are some things to consider:

Cost

The cost of online programs varies widely. Compare similar programs to get a better understanding of competitive tuition prices and available financial aids options.

Commitment

If you plan to juggle commitments to work, school, and family, find out how demanding and fast-paced a program will be before enrolling.

Resources

Some programs offer you just an education, while others offer job placement or professional networking assistance. Investigate what you get beyond the classroom.

Licensure

The required standards for working as a dental assistant are different in every state. Determine exactly what you will need to do after graduating in order to work legally wherever you live.

Should You Take Online Dental Assistant Classes? The Pros.

Dental assisting is learned largely on the job. In many states you can get your first job with only a basic amount of training. And in some states you’re allowed to start working in any dental office that will hire you. Online dental assistant classes prepare you for the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). This introductory credential is enough to get you hired in many dental practices to start building a career while earning a paycheck at the same time. Online dental assistant classes are a relatively easy, affordable, quick, and accessible way to get the most basic training your new career requires.

Should You Take Online Dental Assistant Classes? The Cons.

Hands-on training is obviously important for anyone working directly with patients. That is why the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) only accredits programs that are offered largely in-person and include a clinical component. You must complete one of these CODA-accredited programs in order to earn the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) credential from the DANB. And while this credential is not strictly required in all states, it is one that most dental assistants earn in order to move into jobs with higher-pay and greater responsibilities. Online programs offer an entry point, but they will always require additional education and examination down the road. In-person programs offer a better foundation in which to build a sustainable and successful career.

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