To work as a dental assistant in Florida, the state requires that you have formal training in both the basic chairside assisting functions of the dental assistant career, as well as in dental radiology. This makes it critical for all aspiring dental assistants to complete a dental assistant with expanded functions program in the state.
Comparing Dental Assistant Schools
As you begin looking at dental assistant schools, it’s important that you look for a school that will provide you with the best start to your career. Some features to look for include:
- Preparation for the national certification exam
- Small class sizes
- Comprehensive curriculum
- Hands-on learning focus
- Flexible class schedules
- Dental radiology training
To best prepare you for your dental assisting career in Florida, it’s also important to select a school that provides each student with a professional externship at an area dental office. These externships are an incredibly important part of the dental assisting curriculum, as they provide students with opportunities to apply their classroom knowledge in a real world, professional setting.
What to Expect from Dental Assistant School
Once you enroll in a program, you can expect to spend 1-2 years training for your dental assistant career. At the American College for Medical Careers, for example, full-time students can complete their studies in 45 weeks. Alternatively, part-time evening students will spend 64 weeks in the program.
The curriculum at dental assistant schools in Florida is designed to provide a well-rounded education in all aspects of the dental assisting career – from the administrative functions to the prevention of tooth decay. Specific coursework will likely include:
- Patient reception and telephone techniques
- Accounts receivables
- Records management
- The study of dental plaque
- Proper brushing methods
- The role of nutrition in dental health
- Anatomy and physiology of the oral cavity
- Infection control
- Chairside dental assisting
Towards the conclusion of your studies, you’ll spend ample time preparing students for the certification exam – the final step towards becoming a nationally certified dental assistant. Upon passing this exam, you’ll be eligible to begin your career in Florida, or elsewhere in the United States.