2 states approve dental assisting apprenticeship program

Dental assisting training and apprenticeship programs have been approved at the state level in Montana and Utah to help combat workforce shortages.

In 2018, there were 5,700 first-year dental assisting students. In 2023, there were 4,500 — a decrease of 21%. Nearly 90% of dentists are facing problems recruiting enough staff, according to a Nov. 3 news release from the American Dental Association. 

The dental assisting apprenticeship program created by Charter Apprenticeships includes around 2,000 hours of on-the-job training, which is 1,500 less than the 3,500 hours required by the Dental Assisting National Board. 

The program also has 400 hours of curriculum and allows apprentices to achieve competency in five main areas: front office and scheduling; patient interaction; procedures and chairside assisting; sterilization, cleaning and stocking; and radiography.

Once the program is approved by three states, the U.S. Department of Labor will consider national approval, the release said.

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