How Can I Get My Dental Assistant Certification?
As you are looking into a new career in dental assisting, dental assistant certification can be somewhat of a confusing topic. You may have questions about what certification entails, how it benefits you, and whether or not it is even needed. Below, we’ll take a look at each of these questions.
What is Certification for Dental Assistants?
By now, you’re probably aware that you’ll need both education and experience in dental assisting in order to move forward in that career path. Dental assisting programs can range in length, but 10-12 weeks is common. At the end of the training, you will be ready to begin working as a dental assistant, continuing to build on your experience. Certification comes as a culmination in your training, and like a high school or college diploma, is a recognizable standard of achievement.
When is Certification Needed?
Being certified is not required to work as a dental assistant in many states. Here in Utah, for example, dental assistants can perform basic supportive assisting duties under the supervision of a licensed dentist. The only certification required to perform dental assisting duties in this state is CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) or BCLS (Basic Cardiac Life Support) certification. Dental assisting certification, then, is needed to perform more specialized skills, such as operating dental x-ray equipment.
How Do I Get My Dental Assistant Certification?
There are many different certifications you can receive through the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), each with their own requirements. To become certified in the state of Utah, you will most likely be following the NELDA pathway for certification requirements. This means you’ll need to complete the following:
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Graduate from an approved post-secondary dental assisting program
- Current hands-on CPR training from a DANB-approved provider. BLS (Basic Life Support) or ACLS (Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support) are also acceptable.
- Apply for and pass the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) exams, which include:
- Anatomy, Morphology and Physiology (AMP)
- Infection Control (ICE)
- Radiation Health and Safety (RHS)
What Are the Benefits of Becoming Certified?
Beyond the personal satisfaction of earning this distinction, there are many measurable benefits to becoming certified as a dental assistant. According to DANB, certificants report earning $2 more per hour than their counterparts who are not certified. They also rank higher with job satisfaction and are more likely to receive benefits such as paid vacation and retirement plans. Different certifications also unlock a wider range of possible skills and opportunities, such as performing x-rays or creating models.
Dental Fundamentals School of Dental Assisting Can Help You On Your Path to Certification
Whether you decide to pursue receiving your dental assistant certification or not, Dental Fundamentals School of Dental Assisting Salt Lake City Utah is here to help you gain all the necessary education and experience you need. Our flexible schedules and onsite dentists set us apart, helping you become an exemplary dental assistant. We provide service to students from West Valley City, Layton, Salt Lake City, Murray, and all the surrounding areas. Give us a call at (801)-419-7311 or contact us online to schedule a tour today!