How Long Does it Take to Become a Dental Assistant?
With the new year approaching, it’s time for a fresh start- why not do the same for your career and make a new career your resolution? Perhaps you’ve decided that you want to pursue a career in dental care- great! You’ve chosen a career that will blend health care and service to assist dentists both in the examining room and in essential administrative tasks that keep clinics running.
But how long will it take to get your certification, and what steps do you need to take to get there? The short answer is, approximately one year, for your program, and then you will need to complete your final exam with the governing body that regulates all dental assistants in Canada.
No need to worry, this Toronto-based college offers a comprehensive program that will have you ready to start your new career in no time! Keep reading to find out how to become a dental assistant, and just how long it will take.
Getting Your Education
To become a dental assistant, you will first need to complete your Intra-Oral Level 1 & 2 certification. This year-long program will introduce you to basic dental functions, patient care, and office procedures. The course will be broken down into work in class, at home in private study, and in an internship to ensure you have the most comprehensive education.
You will spend approximately 30 hours a week, with 25 in-class, for a total course time of 1245 hours over 52 weeks(internship included). Don’t let this intimidate you, though! Your time will be divided over 19 courses that cover topics such as Dental Materials Safety, Preventative Dentistry, and Patient Care, as well as internship/practicum periods and three theoretical and practical exams to ensure you are well prepared for your new career and your license.
Your class time will be broken up into lectures, seminars, independent study time, and lab experience depending on the course you are taking. Each class varies from 25-100 hours in time depending on the topic. Certain topics will also be broken up into multiple courses, such as Principles of Dental Assisting, to ensure adequate time is given to relevant sub-topics. While this may seem overwhelming, your instructors will be here to help throughout your course to keep you on track!
Your program will also include two practicum periods of 60 hours each in the latter half of your degree so that you can gain real hands-on experience with experienced professionals in the field on real patients. During these times, you will be under the supervision of a registered dentist and dental team to cement what you’ve learned in the classroom. This will give you a key advantage over other candidates when you enter the job field, and help you gain valuable connections for when you enter the workforce.
Finally, there will be three exams throughout your course to monitor your progress and prepare you for your final exam with the National Dental Assisting Examination Board (NDAEB) to be registered to practice in Canada. You will complete a mid-term theory exam, and once your first practicum period is finished, you will perform your Level 1 Comprehensive Practical and Theory exam. At the end of your course, you will complete one more final comprehensive theory exam to ensure you are prepared for your final certification. Theory exams take approximately five hours to complete, whereas your practical and theoretical Level 1 exam will take 25 hours.
Don’t forget there are also essential skills that you can hone both in and outside of the classroom, such as interpersonal skills and time management. These will help carry you through patient care and ensure that you are providing the best care, both with your dental practice and service!
Together, your classes, exams, and internship will take approximately one year if you complete your course through Cestar College. From there, the only step between you and your new career is your professional licensing exam, which can be completed in one day!
Taking Your Exam
To become a fully licensed dental assistant in Canada (excepting the province of Quebec), you will need to receive the National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) certificate. Once you complete your program at Cestar college, you can mail a copy of your transcript to their office in Ottawa, along with your application and the related fee, to cement your place in the next test date.
Your license can be obtained through a one-day test held approximately four times a year at various locations across the country. The exam itself is broken down into eight sections and will cover all of the topics covered during your program at Cestar, including patient care and laboratory procedures.
Once the certificate is obtained, it will serve as a blanket assurance that you have met the requirements to practice as a dental assistant in Canada and doesn’t need to be renewed annually like with other professions. The good news is, you are now ready to be a practicing dental assistant in Canada! You’ll be able to choose from a variety of careers, such as in private practice, military service, or public health programs, depending on your career and salary goals.
Preparing for Your Future with Cestar
When beginning a new career, you want to ensure you get off on the right foot with your education, especially when it requires a licensing exam. Luckily, Cestar College offers a comprehensive one-year program that will cover all the necessary topics to obtain your Level 1 and 2 dental assisting certification and pass your NDAEB exam to become a fully licensed dental assistant. They also ensure you gain real-world experience with two practicum periods for a total of 120 hours. With a mix of hands-on and theoretical education, you will be fully prepared to start your new career for a new year!
Contact Cestar College today to learn more about the program, admission, and financial aid opportunities. Why not enroll for your February 2020 start to becoming a dental assistant today?