It’s well known: Dental Assisting is a fast-growing field with lots of possibilities. Many people see it as a great opportunity to find a challenging and rewarding career, instead of just looking for another low-paying dead-end job.
If you’re interested in a career as a Dental Assistant, you may be tempted by one of the many online dental assisting programs available. But are they a good investment? Let’s look at the pros and cons of completing Dental Assistant school online.
(Pro) Flexible scheduling and self-paced instruction
The Truth: Read the fine print. There’s nearly always some in-person class time required.
With online Dental Assisting programs, your coursework, homework, and even exams can (in theory) be completed at your own pace, outside of your daily working hours. Video lectures and other online learning tools can make it easy to fit your studies around your job and other life responsibilities.
Here’s the catch: Completing Dental Assistant school online usually requires in-person campus visits for projects and courses. Before committing to any program, find out what’s required of you and make sure you understand all the details.
In addition, some students who have never attempted an online program before will find they’re not capable of managing their workload and setting the pace of their own education. You may find yourself more comfortable in a more structured and directed course of study.
(Con) Hands-on learning can’t be beat
There’s no way to become a Dental Assistant without working with real patients in a clinical environment. You just won’t get the same level of hands-on learning with any online Dental Assisting program. These programs may require a clinical internship with a local dental practice. But often these programs provide minimal assistance in helping you secure your internship.
This just isn’t the case at Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School in Vancouver. Every student enrolled in our Dental Assisting program completes their 32-hour practicum at our on-site and affiliated dental program. In your internship, you will develop essential skills including how to:
- Sterilize a treatment room
- Perform mouth rinses
- Take and develop dental x-rays
- Create a temporary crown
- Make custom mouth-guards and tooth-whitening trays for patients
- Assist dental staff with advanced procedures, including root canals, oral surgeries, and denture placements
Your internship is hands-on, fast-paced, and designed to prepare you to hit the ground running in your first position as a Dental Assistant. None of this is possible through online learning.
Melanie Naylor says,
I’ve worked in dentistry for nearly 40 years and love helping students discover their passion for this challenging and oh-so-rewarding field.
I’d love to see you in class at Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School. If you have questions about whether you should attend Dental Assistant school online, let’s talk!
I’m always here to help.
(Pro) Lower cost (sometimes)
Many online Dental Assisting programs boast about lower tuition and fees. But remember, your education is an investment and you get what you pay for. Will an online program’s instructor be available to answer questions? Will you have access to the resources you need to be ready to join the workforce. Will the materials be up-to-date?
Some programs will make use of streaming video, phone apps, and other modern technologies. You may need high-speed internet at home or a newer “smart” phone in order to take full advantage of the materials provided or even just to get by. These costs will be paid out of your own pocket and can really add up.
Remember: caveat emptor — buyer beware.
Career-changer? Is Dental Assisting your calling?
The career outlook for Dental Assistants has never been brighter. What’s the appeal?
- Career opportunities are opening up every day with no signs of slowing.
- Predictable Monday-Friday scheduling usually without night or weekend work.
- Competitive salaries of $27,000 to $55,000.
- Opportunities for growth and advancement with additional training and education.
(Con) Online Dental Assisting programs don’t meet the needs of all learners
Everyone’s different and has a unique way of learning. Some people learn by watching, others by asking questions, and still others by doing. Most people fit into a few categories and learn best in a flexible learning environment like Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School.
Online programs don’t allow for collaboration between classmates and personalized instruction from expert instructors. At Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School, we insist upon small class sizes and plenty of opportunity for both 1:1 instruction and collaborative team-based learning.
(Con) Will you be ready to start work right away?
Every state has different requirements for Dental Assistants and you must be aware of what’s required before you commit to any program.
Let’s talk licensing. Here in the Pacific Northwest, graduates of Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School can start working right away because there are no licensing requirements for most entry-level dental assistant jobs in the state of Washington. However, if graduates plan on working in Oregon, they’ll have to first work for 1,000 hours in Washington or pass a series of Oregon licensing exams. The internship hours at Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School do count towards the 1,000 hours of work experience.
7 reasons to enroll at Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School
- Only 12 weeks of hands-on classroom training before starting your career
- 32-hour internship guaranteed at our on-site dental practice
- The most experienced dental assisting faculty in the Vancouver area
- Scholarship opportunities, payment plans, and financing options — not to mention low tuition
- Night and weekend class sessions with a low student to instructor ratio
- FREE dental treatments for students and family members (some restrictions, contact us for details)
- 5-star experience with hundreds of proud graduates — our professional network is unparalleled
Get started today!
Think twice before studying Dental Assisting online!
Our next course session is starting soon and classes are filling up fast. Start your application online or speak with our instructors. We’re happy to answer your questions and will even invite you out for a visit so we can show you around in person.
Find out for yourself why Radiance School of Dental Assisting is the #1 choice for aspiring Dental Assistants in Portland and Vancouver.