Dental Office Manager Certification Programs and Certificates
Dental office manager training programs are usually available as certificate programs; however, there are associate degrees available in the closely related field of dental assisting. Regardless of the level of the award, these programs are usually labeled as dental assisting programs, which prepare students to assist the dental medical professionals as well cover the day-to-day necessities of running the dental office.
Certificate in Dental Assisting
Vocational schools, community colleges and some 4-year universities offer year-long certificate programs in dental assisting, which prepare students for entry-level careers as dental office managers. In addition to learning about '4-handed dentistry,' in which the dental assistant literally provides an extra set of hands for the dental hygienist or dentist, dental assisting programs' courses in office management cover effective customer service, scheduling and bookkeeping, telephone etiquette and insurance procedures. After graduating, students must pass a national dental assisting examination in order to practice.
Most community colleges with dental assisting and dental office management certificate programs usually only require prospective students to have a high school diploma. Some schools may require certificate candidates to submit a statement of interest and proof of immunizations as a requirement for admission.
Depending on the particular college's emphasis, some dental assisting programs may focus more on patient care than others. Whether the focus is on clinical care of dental patients or administrative skills, most programs will generally have classes similar to the following.
- Database and spreadsheet management
- Keyboard skills
- Dental insurance and procedures
- Customer service
- Dental materials
- Oral anatomy and physiology
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of certificate programs in dental assisting and dental office management frequently go on to occupy entry-level positions in the front offices of dental practices. However, many colleges offer associate degree programs in dental assisting and accept certificate coursework towards the greater degree program requirements.
The field's only national professional credential, the Dental Practice Management Administrator certification, was discontinued in 2008 in order to update the credential's requirements. If employers prefer that job candidates receive certification in dental assisting, certificates are available through the Dental Assisting National Board. Dental office managers who would like to pursue this type of certification may find study and exam information at www.danb.org.
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