How to Become a Traveling Dental Assistant
If you have a passion for dentistry and a desire to explore new places, becoming a traveling dental assistant could be the perfect career path for you. A traveling dental assistant provides temporary assistance to dental offices in different locations, allowing them to fill in gaps in staffing and experience diverse dental practices. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to become a traveling dental assistant.
1. Obtain a high school diploma or GED: Like most healthcare professions, a high school diploma or GED is the first educational requirement for becoming a dental assistant.
2. Enroll in a dental assisting program: Look for an accredited dental assisting program in your area. These programs typically take 9-11 months to complete and provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to work as a dental assistant.
3. Complete the necessary certifications: After completing your dental assisting program, you will need to obtain the necessary certifications to work as a dental assistant. This usually includes passing the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) examination.
4. Gain work experience: It is important to gain some experience working as a dental assistant before venturing into a traveling position. Work in dental offices to familiarize yourself with different dental procedures and build your skills.
5. Research traveling dental agencies: There are several traveling dental agencies that connect dental assistants with dental offices in need of temporary assistance. Research these agencies to find one that suits your preferences and goals.
6. Create a resume: Prepare a professional resume that highlights your dental assisting experience and certifications. Be sure to include any additional skills or qualifications that may be relevant to the traveling dental assistant role.
7. Apply to traveling dental agencies: Submit your resume and application to the traveling dental agencies you have researched. Be prepared for interviews and provide references if requested.
8. Obtain necessary licenses and certifications: Depending on the state or country you plan to work in as a traveling dental assistant, you may need to obtain additional licenses or certifications. Research the requirements for each location and ensure you meet them.
9. Maintain your continuing education: As a dental assistant, it is crucial to stay updated on the latest advancements in dental practices. Take advantage of continuing education opportunities to enhance your skills and knowledge.
10. Be flexible and adaptable: As a traveling dental assistant, you will be working in different dental offices with varying procedures and protocols. Be flexible and adaptable to different work environments and be willing to learn new techniques.
11. Prepare to travel: Traveling dental assistants often need to relocate frequently. Make sure you have a reliable mode of transportation and are ready to adjust to new living arrangements.
12. Network with other dental professionals: Networking is essential in the dental industry. Attend dental conferences, join professional organizations, and build relationships with other dental professionals to expand your opportunities.
13. Stay organized and professional: As a traveling dental assistant, it is important to stay organized and maintain professionalism. Keep track of your assignments, maintain good communication with dental offices, and always deliver high-quality work.
Common Questions and Answers:
1. How much do traveling dental assistants make?
The salary of a traveling dental assistant can vary depending on the location, agency, and experience. On average, traveling dental assistants can earn between $20 to $30 per hour.
2. Are there any benefits for traveling dental assistants?
Some traveling dental agencies offer benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and travel reimbursement. It is important to inquire about the benefits package when applying to agencies.
3. Will I have a fixed schedule as a traveling dental assistant?
The schedule of a traveling dental assistant may vary. Some assignments may be short-term, while others can last several months. It is important to discuss your availability and preferences with the agency.
4. Do I need to have my own dental assisting equipment?
Most dental offices provide the necessary equipment and supplies for dental assistants. However, it is recommended to have your own basic tools such as scrubs, gloves, and safety glasses.
5. Can I choose the locations I want to work in?
While some agencies may allow you to express your preferences, the availability of assignments can vary. It is important to discuss your preferences with the agency and be open to different locations.
6. Can I bring my family along when I travel?
Bringing your family along while traveling as a dental assistant is possible, but it may require additional considerations such as finding suitable accommodations and schooling options for children.
7. Are there opportunities for career advancement as a traveling dental assistant?
Although the role of a traveling dental assistant does not typically offer direct career advancement, the experience gained from working in different dental offices can open doors to other opportunities within the dental field.
8. Are there any risks involved in traveling as a dental assistant?
Traveling dental assistants may encounter different infection control protocols and dental procedures. It is important to adhere to safety guidelines and protect yourself from potential risks.
9. Can I work as a traveling dental assistant part-time?
Some agencies may offer part-time assignments for traveling dental assistants. It is important to discuss your availability and preferences with the agency when applying.
10. Are there specific requirements for international travel as a dental assistant?
International travel as a dental assistant may require additional documentation, such as work permits or visas. Research the requirements of each country you plan to work in and ensure you meet them.
11. How long are the assignments for traveling dental assistants?
The length of assignments can vary. Some may last a few weeks, while others can extend up to several months. Discuss the assignment duration with the agency before accepting an assignment.
12. Can I choose to work only in specific dental specialties?
While some agencies may offer assignments in specific dental specialties, the availability can vary. It is important to discuss your preferences with the agency and be open to different specialties.
13. Is it possible to transition from a traveling dental assistant to a permanent position?
Yes, it is possible to transition from being a traveling dental assistant to a permanent position. The experience gained from working in different dental offices can be valuable when seeking permanent employment.
In conclusion, becoming a traveling dental assistant requires obtaining the necessary education, certifications, and experience. It also requires flexibility, adaptability, and a passion for dentistry. By following these steps and being prepared for the challenges and opportunities that come with the role, you can embark on an exciting and rewarding career as a traveling dental assistant.