Some assistants have said they’ve always dreamt of working in dentistry, diving right into a dental assisting education program as soon as they could. But others say they found dental assisting after first exploring a few different career or educational paths. What makes dental assisting such a unique profession is that it is open to all with the right attitude and initiative. Here, we’ll share a few different routes that led some of you to your passion of becoming a dental assistant.

Service Oriented

Some dental assistants spent a few years in a customer service role, like Kalisha W., who worked in customer service at an airport before becoming a dental assistant. Although she liked her job and enjoyed helped people, she was looking for a role in healthcare — and that’s where dental assisting came in.

Driven to Succeed

For some, the road to dental assisting could be taken literally. Nathan G. worked as a truck driver before realizing that his passion lay elsewhere. He decided to go back to school and found that the dental assisting program in his area could put him on the fast track to a career in dentistry.

Focused on Food

Many dental assistants we spoke with had a background in the restaurant industry; some worked as servers, while others worked in coffee shops or other similar settings. Carol L. used waitressing as a way to support herself while she attended dental assisting courses. Today, she is a full-time dental assistant.

Military Minded

Some dental assistants find their path while they are serving in the military. Such was the case for Travis D., who served in the U.S. Navy for many years. He received training as a dental assistant during his service and “fell in love with it.” Now that Travis is not on active duty, he has continued his dental assisting career and is planning to pursue expanded functions certificates.

From Books to a Busy Office

Starting an educational program is sometimes a gamble — it’s not always guaranteed that you’ll enjoy doing what you’re learning about. For example, Melissa G. realized after studying literature that she didn’t want to spend all day sitting at a desk. She also recalled pleasant childhood experiences she had in the dental office. Ultimately, she decided she wanted to bring her knowledge there instead. Melissa made the switch and is now happily working as a dental assistant, with the flexibility and variety she craves.

How did your past experiences prepare you for assisting?