Dental Assistant Certifications
Getting a dental assistant certification can provide several benefits, including increased job opportunities, higher earning potential, professional recognition, continuing education, and career advancement. It can help you stand out in a competitive job market and demonstrate your skills and expertise in the field.
What are the Benefits of getting a Dental Assistant Certification?
There are several benefits to obtaining a dental assistant certification, including:
Increased Job Opportunities
Obtaining a certification can make you stand out in the job market and increase your chances of being hired by a dental practice. Some employers may even require certification as a prerequisite for employment.
Certified dental assistants typically earn higher salaries than non-certified assistants. This is because certification demonstrates that you have the knowledge and skills necessary to provide high-quality dental care, making you more valuable to potential employers.
Increased Opportunities for Career Advancement
Certification can open up opportunities for career advancement, such as taking on more specialized roles within a dental practice or becoming a dental office manager. These roles typically come with higher salaries and increased responsibility.
Certification demonstrates to employers and patients that you are committed to providing high-quality dental care and have the necessary knowledge and skills to do so. This can lead to greater respect from colleagues and patients, as well as improved job satisfaction.
Expanded job duties
Dental assistants who obtain certification may be able to take on expanded job duties, such as performing certain dental procedures or assisting with complex dental treatments.
In many cases, dental assistant certification is recognized across state lines, allowing you to take your skills and knowledge with you if you move or relocate. This can make it easier to find employment in a new location or expand your job opportunities.
What is the Dental Assistant Certification Process?
Meet eligibility requirements
To be eligible for certification, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent and have completed an accredited dental assisting program or have two years of on-the-job training as a dental assistant.
Choose a certification program
There are several organizations that offer dental assistant certification programs, including the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) and the American Dental Association’s Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) program. Choose a program that is accredited and recognized by employers in your area.
Apply for certification
Once you have chosen a certification program, you will need to submit an application and pay a fee to take the certification exam.
Prepare for the certification exam
Prepare for the certification exam by studying the content areas covered in the exam, which may include infection control, chairside assisting, dental materials, radiography, and dental specialties.
Take and pass the exam
The certification exam typically consists of multiple-choice questions and may also include a hands-on component, such as a skills demonstration. You will need to pass the exam to obtain certification.
In order to maintain your certification, you will need to complete continuing education courses on a regular basis. The specific requirements for maintaining certification vary by program.
What Are The Best Dental Assistant Certifications?
Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) from the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB)
The CDA certification is recognized nationally and requires passing three DANB exams: Radiation Health and Safety (RHS), Infection Control (ICE), and General Chairside (GC). The certification is valid for one year and can be renewed through continuing education.
Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA) from the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB)
The COA certification is for dental assistants who work in orthodontic practices and requires passing an exam covering orthodontic procedures, instruments, and terminology. The certification is valid for two years and can be renewed through continuing education.
Expanded Functions Dental Assistant (EFDA) from the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)
The EFDA certification is for dental assistants who have completed additional training in specific clinical procedures, such as placing fillings or sealants. Requirements for the certification vary by state.
National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) from the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB)
The NELDA certification is for dental assistants who are new to the field and requires passing the Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) and Infection Control (ICE) exams. The certification is valid for one year and can be renewed through continuing education.
Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant (CRFDA) from the American Dental Association (ADA)
The CRFDA certification is for dental assistants who have completed additional training in specific clinical procedures, such as placing fillings or temporary crowns. Requirements for the certification vary by state.
The specific requirements and benefits of each certification may vary depending on the organization and program. Be sure to research the different options and speak with dental professionals in your area to determine which certification program is the best fit for your career goals.
How Can I Prepare For the Dental Assistant Certification Exam?
Preparing for the dental assistant certification exam requires a combination of studying and practice. Here are some steps you can take to prepare for the exam:
Review the exam content outline: The certification exam typically covers content areas such as infection control, chairside assisting, dental materials, radiography, and dental specialties. Review the content areas and make note of any areas where you may need additional study.
Study relevant course materials: Many certification programs offer study materials, such as study guides or practice exams, to help you prepare for the certification exam. Take advantage of these resources to ensure you are fully prepared for the exam.
Attend review courses: Some certification programs may offer review courses or workshops to help you prepare for the exam. Consider attending one of these courses if it is available to you.
Study with a partner or group: Studying with a partner or group can be a helpful way to review the material and prepare for the exam. You can quiz each other on the content areas and work together to ensure you are fully prepared.
Practice with hands-on materials: Depending on the certification program, the exam may include a hands-on component, such as a skills demonstration. Practice with hands-on materials, such as dental models or instruments, to ensure you are comfortable with the procedures and techniques.
Take care of yourself: Preparing for a certification exam can be stressful, so it’s important to take care of yourself during the studying process. Get plenty of rest, eat well, exercise, and take breaks when needed to avoid burnout.
Stay motivated: Preparing for a certification exam can be a long and challenging process, so it’s important to stay motivated and focused on your goal. Keep reminding yourself of why you want to get certified and the benefits it can bring to your career.
Remember to give yourself plenty of time to prepare for the exam and don’t wait until the last minute to start studying. By following these tips and putting in the time and effort to prepare, you can increase your chances of passing the dental assistant certification exam and obtaining your certification.
Dental Assistant Professional Associations
There are several professional associations for dental assistants, including:
American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA): The ADAA is the oldest and largest professional association for dental assistants, representing over 20,000 members across the United States. The organization offers continuing education, advocacy, and networking opportunities for dental assistants.
National Association of Dental Assistants (NADA): The NADA is a professional association for dental assistants that offers education, certification, and networking opportunities. The organization also advocates for the dental assisting profession and promotes ethical and professional standards.
Dental Assisting National Board (DANB): The DANB is a certification board for dental assistants that offers certification exams and continuing education. The organization also provides resources and support for dental assistants seeking to advance their careers.
American Association of Dental Office Management (AADOM): While not specifically for dental assistants, the AADOM is a professional association for dental office managers that offers education, certification, and networking opportunities. Dental assistants may find the organization’s resources and events helpful for advancing their careers.
By joining a professional association, pharmacy technicians can stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices, network with other professionals in the field, and advocate for the profession.