A dental assistance career can be rewarding, but you may be wondering about the training involved, how to become certified, and whether or not this is the right path for you.
Is Dental Assisting Certification Necessary?
If you’ve already attended school to become a dental assistant, you may be asking this question. Though not every state requires certification, many do, and others recognize its value. The Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. (DANB), the major certification agency for dental assistants, has conducted surveys and found that assistants who are certified generally receive a higher hourly wage than those who are not. Certification may also help open doors to more job opportunities, as some job recruiters will look for certified assistants to fill positions. Networking is also enhanced since DANB partners exclusively with the job board Dentalworkers.
It’s important to check your state requirements regarding certification. Some states require that you have certification in order to be able to do certain tasks in the dental office, such as performing procedures involving radiology.
What’s Required to Become Certified?
Anyone who wants to take DANB’s certification exam must have a high school diploma or GED, have graduated from an accredited dental school program and finished at least 3500 hours of dental related work. DANB certification is renewable annually. There are various options, including online courses, to help you keep abreast of changing information and technology in the field.
How Do I Get Ready for a Certification Exam?
The components of the exam vary depending on what specific certification you’re seeking. DANB provides tests for those seeking to be a Certified Dental Assistant, a Certified Orthodontic Assistant, a Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant and a Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant. Once you know which exam you plan to take, you can obtain one of the association’s exam blueprints which will let you know what topics the test will cover. You may have a lot of training in some areas, but not much in others, so having the spectrum of covered topics will allow you to know the best way to prepare. There are books and online classes that can also help you to prepare to do your very best on the exam.