How to become a Dental Assistant in British Columbia

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Have you ever considered a career in the healthcare industry but don’t want to spend years in school? If so, becoming a dental assistant might be the perfect fit for you.

 Dental assistants play a critical role in helping dentists provide high-quality patient care, and the demand for dental assistants is growing faster than the average for all occupations. But the question is, how to become a dental assistant, and what does the job entail?

 In this article, we’ll explore the steps you can take to become a dental assistant, from education and training to job duties and career opportunities. So, let’s get started!

What is dental assistant?

A dental assistant is a trained professional who works alongside dentists and helps them in performing various tasks related to patient care, treatment planning, and dental procedures. Dental assistants work in a variety of healthcare facilities including private dental practices, clinics, and hospitals.

Education required for dental assistant:

The education requirements for dental assistants can differ depending on the state and the employer. In some states, dental assistants are not required to have any formal education beyond a high school diploma or equivalent. However, many employers prefer to hire dental assistants who have completed a formal training program.

Formal training programs for dental assistants are available at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes, and dental schools. These programs can range from several months to one year in length and result in a certificate or diploma. Some programs may also offer an associate degree in dental assisting.

Coursework in a dental assistant training program includes dental anatomy and terminology, dental procedures, infection control, radiography, and patient communication. Hands-on clinical experience is also a significant component of dental assistant training programs.

In addition to completing a formal training program, some states may require dental assistants to obtain licensure or certification. Requirements for licensure or certification vary by state and can include passing an exam or meeting specific education and training requirements.

Duties of a dental assistant:

The duties of a dental assistant include:

  • Preparing patients for treatment: Dental assistants are responsible for preparing patients for dental procedures by taking their medical histories, explaining procedures, and answering any questions they may have.
  • Assisting the dentist during procedures: Dental assistants work closely with dentists during procedures by passing them instruments, operating suction devices, and preparing materials for use.
  • Taking and processing x-rays: Dental assistants may take x-rays of patients’ teeth and jaws, and they are responsible for processing and developing the x-rays.
  • Sterilizing instruments and equipment: Dental assistants are responsible for sterilizing dental instruments and equipment to ensure that they are clean and safe to use.
  • Performing administrative tasks: Dental assistants may be responsible for scheduling appointments, managing patient records, and processing insurance claims.
  • Educating patients on oral health and hygiene: Dental assistants may educate patients on proper oral hygiene practices and provide them with information on how to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
  • Ordering and maintaining supplies: Dental assistants may order and maintain supplies needed for the dental practice, such as dental materials, office supplies, and patient education materials.
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    Get the skills towards a career in Dental Assisting
    This program helps to prepare students to provide the services of a certified dental assistant as outlined in the BC College of Oral Health Professionals (BCCHOP)* Bylaws under the Health Professions Act of British Columbia.

Is studying dental assistant hard?

Studying to become a dental assistant can be challenging, but it is generally considered to be a manageable and fruitful education. Like any field, dental assisting requires a certain level of knowledge and skill, and students will need to work hard to acquire this knowledge and hone their skills. Some of the coursework in a dental assistant training program may be technical and require students to learn new terminology and procedures. However, many programs also include hands-on clinical experience, which can help students to develop practical skills and gain confidence in their abilities. With dedication and hard work, students can become competent dental assistants and enjoy a fulfilling career in this important healthcare field.

How to get dental assistant certificate online?

While it is possible to find some online dental assistant training programs, it is important to note that most states require hands-on clinical experience in addition to coursework. Therefore, it may not be possible to earn a dental assistant certificate entirely online.

However, there are some online dental assistant programs that offer a hybrid approach, combining online coursework with in-person clinical experience. These programs may be offered by community colleges, vocational schools, or other educational institutions. To find an online dental assistant program, you can search online for programs that are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).

Before enrolling in an online dental assistant program, it is important to research the program thoroughly to ensure that it meets your needs and the requirements of your state. You should also check that the program is accredited by CODA, as this ensures that the program meets established educational standards. Finally, you should verify that the program includes a clinical component that will provide you with the hands-on experience needed to become a competent dental assistant.

How to become a good dental assistant?

To become a good dental assistant, it is important to develop a combination of technical and soft skills that will allow you to provide high-quality patient care and support to the dental team. Here are some tips on how to become a good dental assistant:

  • Develop strong communication skills
  • Pay attention to detail
  • Practice good time management
  • Develop technical skills
  • Maintain a positive attitude
  • Keep up with industry trends

By developing these skills and traits, you can become a competent and effective dental assistant who contributes to the success of the dental practice and the well-being of patients.


In conclusion, becoming a dental assistant can be a great career path for those interested in healthcare. By completing the required education and training, developing the necessary skills and traits, and keeping up with industry trends, you can become a competent and effective dental assistant who contributes to the success of the dental practice and the well-being of patients.

 With a growing demand for dental assistants, there has never been a better time to start your journey towards a career in dental assisting. So why not take the first step today and explore the educational opportunities available to you?

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