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How To Become a Certified Dental Assistant

A career in dentistry is something that is becoming more and more popular in recent years as people continue to gain interest in their dental health. While most people who are interested in this field aspire to be dentists, there are also those who prefer to become certified dental assistants. Career opportunities for dental assistants are not at all scarce and it can actually be easy to land a job as a dental assistant even without going through years of training and formal education in dental health. However, if you have studied to become a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) and you have a legal certificate to prove it, you have a considerable advantage over other individuals who are seeking the same position.

Certified Dental Assistant Requirements
Before you are given the title of Certified Dental Assistant, not only will you have to go through years of schooling, you will also have to pass the CDA examination given by the Dental Assisting National Board. The CDA test is divided into three areas: General Chairside, which tests your knowledge of basic concepts in dental assisting; Infection Control, which tests you on the symptoms, prevention and treatment of dental diseases; and Health and Safety, which tests you on general dental information.

License and Exam
Licensure for dental assistants is not required by most states so you can get a dental assisting job even without taking and passing the CDA exam. However, once you do pass the CDA exam, you become qualified to perform more dental procedures and take on much bigger responsibilities. Employers are also willing to pay more money for a dental assistant who is certified. For these reasons, it is strongly recommended that you do take the CDA exam right after you finish your dental assisting program. You do have to pay a small fee in order to take the CDA exam but that is a small price to pay considering you will greatly improve your resume and your annual income should you pass. Don’t worry if you fail the exam; you are still qualified to practice as a regular dental assistant.

Each state holds a CDA exam on a regular basis, usually once a month. To find out what the CDA exam schedules are in your area, ask your course instructor, visit the website of the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc., or inquire with your State Dental Board.

Certified Dental Assistant Salary
According to recent DANB survey a CDAs earn a median salary of $18.60 per hour, which is $2.01 more per hour than non-certified assistants.