Do You Need a Degree to Become a Dental Assistant?


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A career as a dental assistant provides the opportunity to work hands-on in the dental field and help the entire office run smoothly. It’s a great career option for anyone who enjoys working with people, is calm and detail-oriented, and is eager to learn. The person in this role is responsible for preparing the patient for their exam or cleaning, sterilizing equipment, and assisting the dentist with various tasks like x-rays. Many people get nervous visiting the dentist’s office, so it’s important for each employee in the office to be welcoming, professional, and knowledgeable, and the dental assistant is a big part of that. If making people smile is something that appeals to you, the process to begin may be easier than you think.


So, you might be wondering whether you need a college degree to become a dental assistant. Learn more below!

Do You Need a Degree to Become a Dental Assistant?

Becoming a dental assistant does NOT require a college degree, but it does require training. The requirements to become a dental assistant differ from state to state. A few states allow training on the job. Some equipment that dental assistants regularly use, like x-ray machines, requires special training and certification before it can be operated. The DANB website will provide you with the requirements for your state.


The fastest and most efficient way to become a Dental Assistant in any state is to seek training through an accredited program like UEI College's Dental Assistant Program. Earning your Dental Assistant Diploma will make you more competitive in the job market, while having quality training will give you the confidence to do the job well.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Dental Assistant?

One of the things that makes becoming a dental assistant so appealing is it can be achieved in less than a year. In as few as ten months, you can become a dental assistant, working hands-on with patients and dentists in a growing field. You’ll gain experience through labs with live equipment and an on-the-job externship working in an actual dental office. In a short amount of time, you can feel confident stepping into a new entry-level career in the dental field.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Dental Assistant?

There are several steps to becoming a dental assistant. While the actual requirements may vary from state to state, the process is generally the same:


Step #1: High School Diploma

Obtain your high school diploma or GED. A high school diploma or equivalent is required to enroll in UEI College's Dental Assistant Program.


Step #2: Training

Complete your training. In a few states, it may be acceptable to learn on the job, but most employers like to see employees with the certification before they will consider hiring. Some equipment, like dental X-ray machines, cannot be operated without training through an accredited program.


Step #3: Externship

Complete an externship. On-the-job training is where you put your skills to the test. At UEI College, we’ll help match you with a dental office where you can practice your skills and gain new ones before beginning your job search.


Step#4: Experience

You’ll be able to count your externship as job experience on your resume, so when you begin applying for open positions, you can hit the ground running with some experience to add to your resume.

Consider Enrolling at UEI College to Obtain Your Dental Assistant Diploma

If you’ve ever considered stepping into the dental field but didn’t know where to begin, we can help. The Dental Assistant Program at UEI College will give you all the training you need to earn your dental assistant diploma in as few as ten months. We offer ongoing enrollment with new courses beginning each month.


Our courses include a combination of online learning and hands-on in-person labs. Students can attend lectures and complete assignments from anywhere through our online learning system and then practice their skills in person twice a week in either morning or evening classes. At the end of your courses, we’ll help you find a 170-hour externship in a real dental office to complete your training, working alongside those doing the job.


UEI College's Dental Assistant program will teach you clinical, radiographic, and preventative dentistry procedures. Our courses cover topics that include medical emergencies, chairside assisting, dental materials, dental specialties, and prosthodontics.


Learn How to Become a Dental Assistant!