Online Dental Assistant Schools and Courses
It's important to note that dental assistant programs are only offered partially online, since clinical experience needs to be fulfilled in person at a dental office. Read about these hybrid certificate and associate's degree programs in dental assisting, review the common coursework, and get info on choosing a school for your dental assistant education.
What You Need to Know
In a dental assistant program, students learn the administrative duties of working in a dental office, as well as how to perform various dental procedures, such as taking dental X-rays. Many schools offer dental assistant certificate and associate's degree programs online, although clinical experience must be completed in person.
|Courses||May include dental office safety, charting, orthodontics, oral pathology, disease transmission, dental specialties procedures, introduction to oral anatomy, dental radiography and dental materials|
|Online||Many schools offer hybrid online/ in-person programs at the certificate and associate's degree levels|
|Schools||Students should look for schools that help them meet professional certification requirements|
What Online Dental Assistant Programs are Available to Me?
Several colleges and universities offer online dental assistant certificate and associate's degree programs. Both programs prepare you for entry-level positions at group dental practices, dental schools or dental insurance offices. Most certificate programs can take 9-18 months to complete, while associate's degree programs can take 2-3 years to finish.
Before you enroll in a dental assistant certificate program, you should decide if you want specialized or generalized dental training. Specialized certificates can focus on clinical dental assisting or administrative work while generalized programs tend to cover both subjects. Depending upon the school, once you complete the coursework you may qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, which is administered through the Dental Assistant National Board, Inc. (www.danb.org).
Associate's degree programs offer more detailed courses on the interpersonal and technical aspect of becoming a dental assistant as well as general education courses. Some schools require that you complete a dental assistant certificate program before you can begin taking associate's degree courses. These degree courses can prepare you to work at a specialty practice, including orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics and oral surgery.
Some schools with online programs include:
- Rio Salado College
- Monroe Community College
- University of North Dakota
- Penn Foster Career School
- U.S. Career Institute
What Topics Will I Study?
In a dental assisting program, you may find yourself learning administrative dental duties, such as taking patients' medical history and filing insurance claims. Courses may also cover clinical dental assistant duties, including how to prefit dental crowns and orthodontic bands, remove ligature ties and rubber dams, perform dental X-rays and demonstrate preventative care techniques to patients.
Other coursework can include:
- Disease transmission
- Oral anatomy
- Dental radiography
- Dental specialties procedures
- Dental materials
How Do I Choose a School?
Although you can take dental assisting courses online, you must complete 200-300 hours of clinical experience. Off-campus licensed dentists may be able to sponsor you and oversee your work on patients. Some schools may require that you attend their on-campus practicum or internship, which can take place over several days or weeks.