How to Become an Expanded Functions Dental Assistant

What does it mean to be an expanded functions dental assistant? In short, it allows you to do more types of work. Many DAs go on to pursue expanded functions because it allows them to do more tasks and duties around the office. Look at it as advancing in your career, you will be able to do new types of work and make more. But how exactly do you become an expanded functions dental assistant? Although the tasks and job title can differ from state to state, most of the time the process will be quite similar. Continue Reading

The Definitive Dental Assistant FAQ

The Definitive Dental Assistant FAQ

This is THE definitive dental assistant FAQ that is meant to help address the most frequently asked questions people have. If you are interested in dental assisting and want your questions answered as concisely as possible, you might want to browse this resource.

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How Does Experience Affect Dental Assistant Salary?

How Does Experience Affect Dental Assistant Salary

Experience is an influential factor on how much a dental assistant can potentially make. Evidently more experience will correlate to a higher salary, because the employee that knows more about their business than the others will be more valuable to the office in the long run. The difference between an entry level dental assistant’s annual salary and a more experienced one can be as much as $20,000! That’s a major difference and obviously a detail that can’t be overlooked for new employees entering the dental assisting field. When just starting off an entry level assistant can usually expect an hourly wage ranging from $11 to $15, which amounts roughly to an annual salary between $22,750 and $31,200. This however varies largely to location, amount of duties, and overall training. But how can a DA earn more after that? The answer is to become an indispensable part of the dental team. Continue Reading

Certified Dental Assistant

Certified Dental Assistant

A certified dental assistant is a step up from a registered dental assistant although both are quite similar. Whereas a registered dental assistant is a recognized DA in their own state a certified dental assistant is nationally recognized. This means becoming certified yields the highest status for a DA and come with added benefits. Not only will you be recognized anywhere in the US you will also gain a higher salary and increased functions.

So how do you become a certified dental assistant? It’s quite simple if you are already registered in your state. This will also guide you through the process but we will provide a shortened version here. Continue Reading

Registered Dental Assistant

How To Become Registered Dental Assistant

A registered dental assistant has a higher status than just a regular dental assistant. To be a registered dental assistant means that you are recognized as a qualified dental assistant in your state (often requiring completion of a CODA approved course from a community college, dental assistant school, or university) whereas a regular dental assistant often has no formal training. Not all states have a position of registered dental assistant so be sure to check your state’s requirements first. The job title of registered dental assistant can also vary from state to state, but will allow for different functions depending on where you reside. Some states even have registered dental assistant in extended functions which gives a DA expanded capabilities. California for example offers two different applications, one for registered status and one for registered with extended functions status.

So what benefits do you get from becoming registered? Being recognized as a dental assistant in your state allows for numerous advantages and will pay off in the long term. Continue Reading

How to Become a Certified Dental Assistant

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.

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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.

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