Dental assistant on laptop doing online studies

How Putting Your Steritech Through a Dental Assistant Course Online in Ontario Benefits Your Practice

Carey-Ann Thurlow

January 30, 2024

Summary

  • When Dental Assistants need to take leaves of absence, it’s vital for practices to have staff members who can step up to cover their duties. The best way to do this is by training a steritech or dental administrator with the qualifications they need to work as a dental assistant.
  • Risio’s Dental Assisting Distance Diploma Program offers flexible online learning, allowing steritechs to gain new skills without leaving their job. The program includes a mix of online courses, a short in-person clinical component, and an in-office practicum that can be completed while working.
  • Training steritechs as dental assistants helps avoid the negative impacts of understaffing, such as compromised patient experience, lost revenue, and damaged business reputation. It ensures that there is always a qualified person to cover essential duties.
  • Risio’s program takes 20 months to complete, plus a three-week practicum that can be conducted at the student’s current workplace. This makes it easy for them to continue working at your practice while learning.
  • Investing in your staff is an investment in your practice itself. It ensures that patients are consistently cared for, keeping the business thriving and maintaining its reputation.

Running a busy dental practice in Ontario means ensuring business continuity, but you also have to take care of your staff. Without them, you can’t provide the kind of experience that your patients come to you for—so when your dental assistants need time off for maternity leave or emergencies, it’s important that they can take it. However, that also means making sure there’s still a dental assistant in your practice who can handle everyday duties like setting up trays and exam rooms—so what’s the answer?

Training a steritech with the qualifications they need to work as a dental assistant when necessary is the best way to minimize potential disruptions and ensure a consistent patient experience when your dental assistants need time off. Below, we show you how online dental assistant courses like ours make this kind of upscaling easy while allowing your steritech to keep working while they learn.

Smiling steritech in practice after training with Risio online to become qualified as dental assistant

Why Online Training Is Ideal for Upscaling Dental Staff

Sending a member of your team to school no longer takes them away from their regular duties at your practice. Online learning:

  • Makes it easy for a steritech or dental administrator to develop new skills without having to move away for training.
  • Provides enough control over their schedule that they can balance it with their work commitments.

Risio’s Approach to Flexible Online Learning

The courses in Risio’s Dental Assisting Distance Diploma Program are designed to maximize these benefits in the following ways:

  • The first and second terms of the program consist of 18 months of online courses. These courses are structured enough that students must meet certain deadlines, but flexible enough that they can choose to learn during times and days of the week that work with their schedule.
  • The in-person clinical component of the program takes place in term 3 and lasts only 18 days. This means staff members only need to be away from work for a few short weeks.
  • The fourth term of the program is an in-office practicum where students apply the skills they’ve learned with us in the real world. That means they can complete this portion of the program while working in your practice.
Empty exam room in dental practice to show risks of understaffing

How Practices Benefit from Training Staff in Dental Assisting

Many practices in Ontario only have a single dental assistant working for them—but this can have severe impacts on your business in the event of an emergency.

What Happens When Dental Practices Are Short-Staffed

Not having a qualified dental assistant on hand when you need one can hurt the following areas of your practice:

  • Patient Experience: Dental assistants are responsible for patient care, taking X-rays, and preparing exam rooms, among many other duties—not to mention many customer service and administrative duties. Patients who have booked appointments will be left in the lurch if your dental assistants are unavailable and no one can cover for them.
  • Revenue: Patients who can’t get the treatment they need also can’t pay you. A practice that has to go without dental assistants loses money during that period.
  • Business Reputation: Being unable to take care of your patients due to understaffing can create the impression that your practice lacks professionalism. This can make it difficult to retain patients or acquire new ones.

Learn More: The Best Ways for Dental Practices to Avoid Understaffing

Staffing Redundancy Improves Efficiency for Dental Practices

The risks listed above make it clear that an Ontario dental practice needs more than one person qualified to perform dental assistant duties. This allows you to:

  • Keep the practice running smoothly if an unexpected event prevents an RDA from coming to work.
  • Provide a consistent and reliable experience for patients, improving their satisfaction and maintaining your good reputation.

Costs vs. Benefits of Training a Steritech

Here’s a visualization of the costs vs. benefits of training a steritech to become a dental assistant in case your practice finds itself with an urgent need for one:

Chart representing costs vs. benefits of training steritech with dental assistant qualifications for Ontario practices

How to Read the Chart

  • The blue area (labelled “No Training”) represents the scenario where a steritech is not trained. It shows:
    • Low increased wage and training costs.
    • High risks and negative impacts on patient experience, revenue, and business reputation.
  • The red area (labelled “Training”) represents the scenario where a steritech is trained. This scenario has
    • Moderate increased wage and training costs.
    • Significantly lower risk of understaffing, and positive impacts on patient experience, revenue, and business reputation.
Smiling steritech after training to become dental assistant with online courses from Risio with dentist and patient in the background

Investing in Your Staff Is Investing in Your Practice

When you allocate resources to providing better training for your staff, you ensure that there’s always someone at your practice who can perform the necessary duties when unexpected things happen. This keeps your patients happy and your business thriving.

Learn more about Risio’s Dental Assisting Distance Diploma Program—then contact our team if you have any questions. We’ll be happy to show you the easiest way to keep your practice running smoothly.

Frequently Asked Questions about Risio’s Dental Assistant Courses

How much does Risio’s diploma program cost?

The costs of our diploma program break down as follows:

  • Tuition: $9000 ($6000 payable 10 months into the program)
  • Textbooks: $310
  • Online Exam Proctoring: $180

How long does Risio’s diploma program take?

Our Ontario program is designed to be completed in 20 months, plus a three-week practicum at the end.

Can the student’s practicum be completed at my dental practice?

Yes! We designed the program to provide maximum business continuity for dental practices and convenience for students by allowing them to complete the practicum at the practice where they already work.

Can the student keep working as a steritech or dental administrator while studying at Risio?

Yes! Work integrated learning is a key part of our program, which requires students to complete 14 hours per week in a real-world scenario as part of their studies. This makes it easy for them to keep working at your practice while they study to gain their new qualifications.

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