If you’re interested in going the route of becoming an orthodontic assistant, the first thing you should know is how much schooling and other certification you’ll need – both of which take time. It can take up to two years, because in addition to a high school diploma or a GED, most employers require completion of a training program in orthodontics. The Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) also offers certifications for orthodontic assistants.
Meanwhile, you should also take into account various other factors that may impact how long it will take you to reach your goal of becoming an orthodontic assistant. Some states have more stringent certification guidelines which means more time spent in classrooms, for example. Other potential considerations include:
- Finances: Unless you’re independently wealthy, you’ll need to figure out your day-to-day finances in addition to working out how you will pay for the training you need to become an orthodontic assistant. If you need to train part time and work full time, this means a longer timeline from starting your training to becoming certified.
- Work Schedule: Whether you work a 9-to-5 job or have untraditional working hours, you’ll need to find an orthodontic assistant training program that corresponds to your work schedule.
- Personal Life: If you have kids or other personal responsibilities, it’s important to find the right balance between your personal life and your career training program to become an orthodontic assistant.
What to expect in orthodontic assistant school
As you prepare for orthodontic assistant school, make sure you know what you’re getting in to (you’ve done your research, right?). It’s better not to have any surprises when you start your training program! A typical orthodontic assistant program focuses on the following topics:
- Preparing teeth for bonding
- Removing orthodontic brackets and attachments
- Sizing, fitting and cementing orthodontic bands
- Removing orthodontic bands and excess cement
- Placing and managing archwire
You’ll learn skills around these topics in both classroom and hands-on lessons. This ensures you can gain the insights you need to thrive in any orthodontic practice, at any time. You’ll get valuable experience practicing on typodonts as well as live patients under direct supervision.
What to expect during an orthodontic assistant permit course
An orthodontic assistant permit course opens new career opportunities for dental assistants. At the same time, the course requires hard work and patience. But dental assistant students who understand what to expect during the course are well-equipped to successfully complete it.
A typical orthodontic assistant permit course is taught by an expert instructor who possesses comprehensive dental industry experience. This ensures you can ask questions and receive real world insights from an industry professional.
An orthodontic assistant permit course involves both classroom and practical training to give you a comprehensive set of skills ad insights for your work in a dental office. Completing this course is an important step to becoming fully prepared for the day-to-day activities of working as an orthodontic assistant.
What to look for in an orthodontic assistant permit course
Not all courses are created equal. If you spend some time reviewing the orthodontic assistant permit courses at your disposal, you’ll get a better idea of what they prioritize and make an informed decision to help you achieve your career goals.
While searching for the right orthodontic assistant permit course for you, you should consider:
- Prerequisites: Courses usually require you to have at least six months of experience working as a dental assistant. They may list other prerequisites that you’ll want to be aware of before attempting to enroll.
- Course Dates and Location: Find out the exact dates of the course, as well as where each class is held. Then, you can determine if you’ll be able to attend the class based on your schedule.
- Program Information: The ideal course offers classroom and hands-on tutorials, ensuring you learn exactly what it takes to perform orthodontic assistant duties in a dental office.
- Instructors: Your course should feature instructors who have worked as an orthodontic assistant or held various dental industry roles – and are happy to share their expertise with students.
There is no shortage of orthodontic assistant permit courses available nationwide, but the best classes empower students to thrive in the dental field. If you allocate time and resources to find the right course based on your career goals, you can accelerate your career growth.
How to obtain an orthodontic assistant permit in California
We get a lot of questions about the process for becoming an orthodontic assistant in California because of our central location in San Diego. California is a good example of a state that requires several layers of certification, all which will take additional time. We’ve rounded up the requirements here to save you time when you’re already wondering how long the process might take!
The Dental Board of California (DBC). requires you to complete the following steps to obtain an orthodontic assistant permit in the Golden State:
- Work as a dental assistant for a minimum of 12 months.
- Complete a DBC-approved course in the Dental Practice Act and a DBC-approved course in infection control.
- Complete a DBC-approved basic life support (BLS) course taught by an instructor approved by the American Red Cross or American Heart Association.
- Complete a DBC-approved orthodontic assistant course; an individual can complete this course after he or she has worked as a dental assistant for at least six months.
- Pass a DBC written examination; this examination can be completed after an individual meets the aforementioned requirements.
After this process is completed, you’ll receive a pocket ID card and wall certificate.
Why should you choose Howard Healthcare Academy’s orthodontic assistant permit course?
Howard Healthcare Academy provides an OAP course that helps dental assistant students become successful orthodontic assistants. In fact, there are many reasons why dental assistant students choose our OAP course, including:
- Experienced Instructors: Each OAP class is taught by an instructor who understands the ins and outs of working as an OAP. Plus, our class instructors are ready to respond to students’ concerns or questions.
- Extensive Training: Thanks to our use of classroom and hands-on lessons, our OAP course empowers dental assistant students with the training they need to succeed as OAPs.
- Flexible Class Schedules: We offer OAP classes at different days and times during the week. By doing so, we make it simple for dental assistant students to sign up for an OAP class without having to rework their everyday schedules.