dental assistant in california

Essential FAQs Answered for Aspiring Dental Assistants

You’ve graduated from high school or simply looking to switch careers and somehow landed on the option of a dental assistant. Maybe you heard it from someone? Maybe you found it on a blog like this? Either way, it’s important to familiarize yourself with this profession before you decide to make your career in it.  So, how do you familiarize yourself with the profession? How do you know which dental assisting schools in California to enroll for dental assistant certification?

The kind of salary you may draw after landing a job? How are dental assistants treated in general? Well, since we couldn’t find any comprehensive list of questions on the internet, we decided to create one to help you out. 

Addressing Common Concerns of Aspiring Dental Assistants:

1. Can anyone become a dental assistant in California?

In California, regular dental assistants don’t need to be certified to work at clinics, hospitals, or other such organizations. However, a dental assistant certification makes your resume more attractive to employers and turns you into a top applicant on LinkedIn. 

2. How long does it take to become a certified dental assistant? 

While anyone can start working as a dental assistant at a clinic, you need to complete certain requisites to become an RDA (Registered Dental Assistant). Think of higher pay and more opportunities. 

The dental assistant certificate course usually spans around 4 months or more and you need to supplement that with around a year’s worth of professional experience with a licensed dentist in the state or anywhere else in the US. 

3. What’s the salary of dental assistants?

According to Glassdoor, the average base pay of registered dental assistants in California is around $48,000 to $67,000. Unregistered dental assistants have lower pay and have limited scope of growth. 

Moreover, it’s important to note that this is just the base pay. Some clinics provide their dental assistants with additional cash compensation while others allow tips. With more progressive policies, some even have a profit-sharing model where you can boost your earning potential. That’s why enrolling in a dental assistant training program from a reputable school is worth the time, money, and effort you put in. 

4. Is it difficult to get a job as a dental assistant?

Every job has a lot of applicants and you’ll find competition anywhere you go. That’s why it’s important to look at concrete numbers. Fortunately, dental assistants have it in their favor. As a growing number of Americans pay more attention to their dental hygiene, the demand for dental assistants keeps growing. 

The US Department of Labor projects a growth rate of 7% for dental assistants within the next decade. Every year over 50,000 new dental assistant jobs are opening up. No wonder it landed on your radar. It’s simply the best time to make your career in this lucrative industry.  

5. How much does a dental assistant certification cost?

If you decide to become an RDA by going through a dental assistant certification course, it would cost you around $9000 at reputable dental assisting schools. This fee usually includes everything from tuition and instruments to uniforms and books. 

Armed with the course and the required months of practical experience working with a dentist, you can choose to take the California State Board Dental Assisting Examination (CDBA) which costs around $150 for every attempt. If you can pass it at the first attempt, you’ll be able to limit your spending and recover education costs quickly.   

6. What’s the work environment for a dental assistant? 

Most dental assistants have a typical work week of around 40 hours in different shifts. The work environment is usually very clean since dental offices, hospitals, and other such workplaces have to maintain strict hygiene standards. 

Apart from assisting dentists, you would also find yourself in administrative roles, arranging dental equipment, setting up exam rooms, and interacting with patients. It’s usually a fast-paced work environment with more flexibility for part-time roles. 

7. Is being a dental assistant stressful?

Like any other job, dental assistants have their fair share of challenges, from stubborn patients to workplace mishaps. However, like any other healthcare field, it comes with its rewarding moments where you get to see patients changing moods, from being anxious to relieved, all thanks to your assistance. 

 This career can bring you a handsome salary, bring you several growth opportunities, and allow you to make a real and positive impact in people’s lives through oral health. With a healthy balance of rewards and challenges, this profession may just be the fulfilling path you were looking for. 

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