How to Become a Certified Dental Assistant
Once you become a dental assistant you might wonder ‘What now?’ A step that will help in the long haul is to become certified by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). Certified dental assistants have the potential to make more money than regular dental assistants as they become more appealing to employers, proving that they have the skills needed to be an efficient dental assistant. As you may already know not all states require dental assistants to be certified. It varies from state to state and some states even offer registration and licensing.
Benefits of Becoming Certified
- Earn more with a higher salary
- Gain more trust from employers, staff, and patients
- Hired more often than non-certified dental assistants
- Gain more experience and better prepared in dental assisting
- Given more responsibility and functions
A higher salary and numerous benefits are reason enough to become certified. The reasons far outweigh the effort needed to become certified.
The Step by Step Process
The process of becoming certified requires that you pass an examination to evaluate your knowledge. The DANB administers the exam and becoming a certified dental assistant assures that you are more than capable in providing dental care. You can become certified even if you are registered or not. Some choose to get certified right after dental assistant school.
1. You will be able to take the CDA exam once you have completed a dental assisting program recognized by the Commission on Dental Accreditation OR have had at least two years/3500 hrs. of on-the-job training as a dental assistant. There are over 300 dental programs accredited by CODA in the US.
2. Become certified for CPR by a DANB-accepted CPR provider.
3. Apply for the CDA exam offered by the DANB. You must first check your eligibility and then fill out the CDA application packet and pay the applicable fees. Within four weeks you will receive instructions on how to schedule for the test. Simply schedule for the exam and pass and you will become a certified dental assistant!
The CDA exam consists of 320 questions broken up into three main sections. It is approximately 4 hours long and between a scale of 100-900 you must score at least 400 to become certified.The 3 sections are:
- General Chairside Test – 120 questions
- Radiation Health and Safety – 100 questions
- Infection Control Test – 100 questions
Passing the CDA exam will signify that you are more than capable of doing your job as a dental assistant and that you have met the highest level of competency in your field.
If you’re interested in getting certified you can learn about certified dental assistant salary.