How To Become A Certified Dental Assistant

According to Dental Assisting National Board, Inc., dental assisting is among the top 25 fastest-growing jobs in the United States. This growth is said to be one of the positive outcomes of the booming health care industry across the US.

If you have already decided to take this career route, here are a few things that you need to go through in order to become a certified dental assistant.

Enroll and complete the education requirements

Though not all states require earning a formal dental education first before starting a dental assistant career if you want to get certified and enjoy better opportunities in the field, think about enrolling and completing a dental hygienist or assistant academic program.

Academic dental assisting programs last for nine or eleven months to two years depending on whether you are pursuing a certificate, diploma or associate degree.

Dental Program

You can look for community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes, universities or dental schools in your locality that offer CODA-accredited dental assisting programs and seek specific details.  

Complete an externship

Doing and completing an externship is one great way to learn the ins and outs of a dental assistant career. It can help you get exposed to your work environment and gain more experiences, allowing you better growth opportunities.

For those who have not enrolled or completed a formal dental assisting education, doing an on the job training will also help them learn more about their duties as a  dental assistant, as well as about the other essential information pertaining to dentistry like the dental terminology, the proper ways of completing daily tasks, how to run the dental office smoothly, proper way of interacting with patients, and the different dental instruments, among others.

Become a certified and licensed dental assistant

In order for you to become a Certified Dental Assistant, you need to pass the Dental Assisting National Board's (DANB) Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination. This exam is designed to evaluate your knowledge about dental assisting. Passing the exam generally means that you are competent enough to provide dental care.

In order to be eligible for the exam, you need to finish a dental assisting program from a Commission on Dental Accreditation or CODA accredited community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes, universities or dental school.

For those who have completed a non-accredited dental assisting program or those who have been trained through an externship or on the job who want to take the national certification examination, you need to work full time as a dental assistant first for at least two years.

Please note, though, that certification and licensure requirements vary per state. Some states also require additional requirements on top of this national certification program. You may refer to your local state dental board to double check. You can also check it via the official website of the Dental Assistant National Board.


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