You may have heard that Florida is a great place to become a dental assistant, with friendly smiles and plenty of fun to be had on the weekend. Professionals can vouch that building a career in the friendliest state on the East Coast can be among the most rewarding decisions you make in a lifetime. Finding work could be a dream come-true for the future-minded individual, but what are your options once you’ve decided to enter the field of healthcare and become a dental assistant?
The first step to becoming a dental assistant in Florida (or taking on any role in the workplace, for that matter) is to receive training. Entry-level dental assistants do not need to be certified in Florida to work in a dental office. However, they do need to become certified by a Florida Board of Dentistry-approved dental assisting school to legally operate x-ray equipment or perform other, more technical tasks that dentists delegate to assistants. The Academy for Dental Assistants offers high-class programs in the Tampa, St. Petersburg area to those who want to enter the workforce strong, show employers they mean business, and begin a satisfying career as a trained healthcare professional.
The Academy for Dental Assistants programs are designed to train individuals with the skills and methods that dentists and orthodontists want new employees to learn before working as full-fledged assistants. Courses feature a combination of web-study format as well as training with professionals in a real work environment to provide the best teaching methods for the most efficient way to train. No experience is required to begin, which means you can go from a prospective trainee to a professional assistant in as little as 12 weeks.
Following are a few programs offered by the Academy for Dental Assistants.
12 Week Dental Assistant Training Program
On-the-job training may provide a new dental assistant with the basic skills necessary to work in a dental office. However, more technical procedures require the employee to have graduated from a Florida Board of Dentistry-approved dental assisting school, such as the Academy for Dental Assistants. The additional skills you will learn from the academy are the extended functions that an Extended Functions Dental Assistant (EFDA) can perform. The use of x-ray equipment, which also requires certification, requires similar training.
But, don’t fret if that sounds complicated. The Academy for Dental Assistants hosts a 12-week training program for new or current dental assistants who wish to broaden their horizons. Students will learn these skills and more during the program. The class consists of online study sections with one in-class experience per week dedicated to hands-on training with professionals to solidify the at-home study. Following the 12-week program, students are required to complete a 200-hour internship before being awarded their state-approved EFDA and X-Ray Certification.
Don’t worry, though – you are free to complete the 200-hours in a dental office of your choosing. Many students find employers who are willing to offer them a paid internship!
6 Week Orthodontic Dental Assistant Training Course
The 6-week training course for Orthodontic Dental Assistants will prepare students to work as an entry-level assistant to an orthodontist. Orthodontists specialize in straightening teeth, whereas dentists specialize in oral and dental health. The course is well-suited for qualified dental assistants who wish to further expand their skills or new dental assistants who wish to begin work in an orthodontic office.
This course is also an online blended format where students study class materials, videos, and download handouts on their own schedule, then come to class one day per week for a 4-hour session in an actual work environment. That may sound long, but you can expect to be actively learning as you assist with dental procedures just as you would working part-time in a real dental office.
The online portion requires access to a computer and some independent study, but the time in class is all hands-on experience – no textbooks and no sitting through lectures. You can learn through participation, ask questions, and apply the knowledge you gained over the week. Day and evening classes are available, so you can schedule your training sessions when it is most convenient for you.
Depending on your employer, new applicants may still need to obtain EFDA Certification and Dental X-ray Certification before working as orthodontic and dental assistants.
Dental X-Ray Refresher Course
Dentists use digital x-ray equipment to take detailed images of patient’s teeth for examination. To save the dentist time and help them see more patients, dental assistants with certification in dental radiology often have this task delegated to them. The 12-Week Dental Assistant Training Program offers this training, as well as the X-Ray Certification, but on-the-job trained dental assistants or those moving to the state needing to recertify can take this 4-hour, hands-on course to retrain before taking the Dental Radiology Certification Course.
Take note – the Dental X-Ray Refresher Course is not a prerequisite to the Dental Radiology Certification Course if the individual can take dental radiographs and complete the certification. The refresher course is meant to strengthen a dental assistant’s skills with dental radiology equipment and prepare them for the X-Ray Certification Course. The refresher course does not provide a Certification in Dental Radiology.
EFDA & Dental X-ray Combo Course
This course is perfect for the experienced dental assistant who has worked with a licensed dentist or wishes to become quickly recertified after moving to the state. The EFDA & Dental X-Ray Combo Course verifies that the student can perform the expanded functions of an EFDA and are proficient in the use of dental radiology equipment.
The one-day course allows trained dental assistants to study the material beforehand and come to the Academy for Dental Assistants technical institution to show their skills in the hands-on portion. Students first study online lectures and take the Florida state test online at their own pace, then attend a 7-hour clinical lab in our facility to complete their certification.
After completing the program, students will be awarded their EFDA and X-Ray certification. The Academy for Dental Assistants program is an accredited, Florida Board-approved course that will certify graduates to work in a dental office as an Extended Functions Dental Assistant with the knowledge to legally operate x-ray equipment.
Certification courses are given monthly, so there is always a chance to sign up and start working soon. A minimum of three months experience in a dental office is required for applicants. Certification courses for EFDA and X-Ray are also available separately, though both will likely be necessary to become an established dental assistant in Florida.
Technical certification will see you through from padding your resume to making sure that you are confident in your ability to work as a dental assistant. Considering training and certification costs less than one semester of college tuition, it is a far more reliable first step towards building a career as a healthcare professional. The Academy for Dental Assistants provides better training, faster graduation, less time wasted in a classroom, as well as a brighter future. We are looking forward to expanding with our new, high-tech facility opening in 2018, but the academy is always open to new students, serving all of Florida.
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