Becoming a dental assistant is a fairly easy process. In fact, it is the equivalent to becoming a certified nursing assistant, or becoming what used to be known as an "operating room assistant." All of these "assistant" jobs require minimal training in their respective fields since most of the work involves handing instruments to the doctor or doing the grunt work licensed nurses will not do. Some dental assistant training programs promise that you can become an assistant in ten days, twenty days, or on the weekends. Here is how that works:
Dentists Do Not Keep Weekend Hours, So...
Almost all dentists do not keep weekend hours, which begs the question, "How to train for this career when dental offices are not open?" Actually, it is rather simple. Your instructors are dentists, but your patients are usually family and friends who volunteer or you practice on your classmates. If you decide to take dental assistant schooling on the weekends, that is how that works. Additionally, if you work a full-time job during the week, then you do not have to worry about taking time off from work to complete your dental assistant training.
If you were to get certified as a dental assistant via a vocational school or technical college, your program may go as long as six weeks or as short as three. You would spend about six to eight hours a day, in classrooms, studying, practicing, and training. Shorter, "fast track" programs have you complete the education and training in half the time, but you would still have to be available during the week and all day.
Some dentists offer you the opportunity to become a dental assistant in about ten days. You have to do all of the book work and class tests on your own time, but then you complete all of the hands-on training in the office with the dentist during normal business hours. It is a lot to remember and do, but then you are practically guaranteed a job in that dentist's office when your training is complete.
An expected number of hours are required. You will have to faithfully record the hours on a time sheet in the office, and on a separate sheet for the book work and tests. Then turn it in when you have completed everything to the dentist. He or she signs off on everything and files your documents with the state's certification board. If you are offered a job there, you can accept it and begin working as soon as you receive your certificate from the state.
Contact a company like New Mexico Institute of Dental Assisting for more information and assistance.