Working as a Dental Assistant in Canada can be a rewarding long-term career, but getting started can feel like a challenge. How do you land your first job if you don’t have previous experience?

Don’t worry—the solution isn’t as tough as you might think. The training we provide at Risio can help you become a successful dental assistant and connect you to important opportunities for work experience and professional networking along the way.

Below, we walk you through everything you need to have before you can land that all-important first job. Let’s get started.

Get Educated & Certified

This isn’t the only requirement, but it’s arguably the most important. To work as a dental assistant in Canada, you’ll need to:

  • Complete a training program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC). The Alberta location of Risio’s Dental Assisting Diploma Program is fully accredited.
  • Pass the National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) examination.
  • Become registered or licensed in the province or territory where you plan to work.

Other specific requirements vary by province and territory. Read our Guide to Dental Assistant Jobs Across Canada to learn more.

Build Work or Volunteer Experience

This typically feels like the most difficult part of the process for dental assistants who are just starting out—who will hire you when you haven’t worked anywhere else? But the solution is actually very straightforward: just go through a training program that has work experience built into the curriculum.

At Risio, we designed our diploma program to include a Work Integrated Learning component. This means all students gain at least 14 hours per week of real-world work or volunteer experience while enrolled in the program and can add it to their resumes before graduating.

Dental assistants and dental professionals talking at networking event

Grow Your Network

Once you have enough training and work experience under your belt, you’ll need to find opportunities to put them to use—and having the right industry contacts will be an essential part of your search.

Professional references aren’t the only ones who can vouch for your skills and character, though—you can also collect testimonials from instructors in your training program, along with other alumni who have successfully made their way into the industry. At Risio, we regularly provide references for recent graduates to help them get their feet in the door after completing our programs.

Craft Your Resume

Of course, you’ll need to make sure your resume is strong and properly formatted before you actually start applying for dental assistant jobs. A good resume shouldn’t just list your qualifications—it should also tell the story of what makes you unique and what you’ll bring to your next practice.

We have lots of advice for creating a dental assistant resume that stands out. Explore the following articles to learn more (and get a free resume template, too!):

Prepare for Interviews

Once you’ve sent out enough resumes, chances are you’ll be invited to attend at least a few interviews at different practices. The way you handle these will determine what kinds of job opportunities you land, so properly preparing is essential.

Check out the following articles to learn more about the interview process for dental assistants and how to make sure you’re ready for it. You’ll also want to make sure you highlight the skills interviewers are looking for—and remember, soft skills can be just as important in this role as clinical knowledge and experience!

Dental assistant taking online course to continue building skills

Keep Learning for Life

Once you’ve landed that first job as a dental assistant, you might be tempted to rest on your laurels for a while—but while congratulations are certainly in order, it’s vital to remember that your career has just begun.

Dental assisting can be a gateway to lots of other careers in a dental practice, depending on the skills you build while you’re in the role. Continuing to learn is the key to moving forward in your healthcare career instead of stagnating, so make sure you keep an eye out for opportunities that can make you more valuable.

Risio’s Ortho Program is an excellent way for dental assistants to gain the skills required to support essential orthodontic procedures—and successfully completing it earns you a certification that can open up exciting new career opportunities. Learn more about our Orthodontic Module here.

Your First Dental Assistant Job Awaits

Using this guide, you can build up the skills, qualifications, experience, and connections you need to start your career in dental assisting on the right foot. And when you need training and career development, Risio is ready to help.

Apply to the Risio program of your choice today and one of our intake liaisons will be in touch as soon as possible to discuss next steps. With us, you’ll be able to take the first steps in your new career with complete and total confidence.