Requirements for Dental Assistant Certification

Dental assistants can become certified by passing an examination that evaluates their knowledge. Most dental assistants who choose to become nationally certified take the Dental Assisting National Board’s (DANB) Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination.

Types of Certifications

Certified Dental Assistant Credential

The CDA or Certified Dental Assistant credential is offered through the Dental Assisting National Board and is required in 37 states to meet dental assistant certification requirements.

To qualify to take the CDA credential examination, an individual must first graduate from an accredited dental assistant program, have four years of part-time work experience or two years of full-time work experience. Additionally, students must be certified in CPR. The CDA must be renewed annually through continuing education courses.

Certified Preventive Dental Assistant

The CPDA (Certified Preventive Dental Assistant) offers dental assistants certification in four different areas. These areas include the coronal polish, sealants, topical anesthetic, and topical fluoride. And the examination consists of four different parts, each one focusing on a specific area.

A competency certificate is earned for each portion of the examination that is passed, and CPDA certification is given for passing each part and meeting the requirements for eligibility. Currently, 35 states allow dental assistants to perform all of the duties outlined in the CPDA examination.

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Dental Assistant Requirements

The educational requirements will vary for each state, with most states without a concrete standard.

Educational Requirements

The educational requirements for dental assistants will vary with each state as well. However, most states have no formal educational need, but most employers prefer to hire someone with a certificate or degree in the field.

For this reason, a dental assistant training school is recommended to have a better chance of obtaining a job. These programs are offered through both trade and vocational schools as well as through most community colleges.

State Laws

Each state has its own set of laws that determine the specific duties a dental assistant can perform. To know the particular requirements of a state, contact the proper governing board. Some states require dental assistant certification to perform specific functions or radiological procedures at a dentist’s office.

Other states allow a dental assistant to perform any duty as directed to them by a dentist. Also, many states will require a continuing education curriculum to maintain dental assistant certification.

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