RDA vs CDA?

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Katie in Clearwater, Minnesota

46 months ago

Can someone tell me what I need to do to become and RDA in Virginia. I am already an RDA in Minnesota. I called the board there and they weren't very helpful. I just need to know step by step what I need to do. Thank you

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Alexis in Ocala, FL

44 months ago

Hi-I'm fresh meat and have many questions...
Now I know the difference between RDA (state registered) and CDA (nationwide) and see that expanded functions help pay-wise. Do differences in continuing education exist between RDA/CDA? How often are the CEUs? Annually?

I have been volunteering at a local family dental office. I'm looking into a year long certification course (around $6,000 cost) and have been researching salary (I noticed RDAs earn more) and educational differences between CDA/RDA, if I have no rush for time except my scholarship, should I attend school for CDA now or try to find a dentist who will on the job train me? How long does it take to get certification in expanded functions? Is Exp. Func. only available through schools and if so, should I wait to see if a dental employer will fund that?

What is the right way to go about asking for on the job training? How soon is too soon? Should I show my interest in on the job training on my first visit to a new office? I think I'll have to find a specialty dental office to ask for on the job training.

Also, does anyone have another career outside of dental assisting? I plan on getting my Masters and above while working in business and/or at universities (I'm finishing BA). I hope to hear back soon!

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Lora in Portland, Oregon

44 months ago

Alexis in Ocala, FL said: Hi-I'm fresh meat and have many questions...
Now I know the difference between RDA (state registered) and CDA (nationwide) and see that expanded functions help pay-wise. Do differences in continuing education exist between RDA/CDA? I'm looking into a year long certification course (around $6,000 cost) and have been researching salary (I noticed RDAs earn more) and educational differences between CDA/RDA

First of all, not all states recognize RDAs. I think they have EFDAs in Florida. How to meet the requirements in order to be certified in Florida go to Dental Assistant National Board and check state specific requirements.
Good luck!

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Alexis in Ocala, FL

44 months ago

Thanks for your response, Lora :) Yes, I've only recently heard of RDAs during my research and in this forum, but they offer certifications here. I've read that two years worth of dental experience or the more traditional route of schooling makes one eligible to sit for the boards. I'm not sure how long it would take to get cert. in EF, but I know it would be preferred. It's been very helpful hearing other people's experiences :) How did you get into the field? Schooling or on the job training? How were your experiences as a beginner?

Look forward to response!

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Lora in Portland, Oregon

44 months ago

Alexis in Ocala, FL said: How did you get into the field? Schooling or on the job training? How were your experiences as a beginner?
Look forward to response!

I lived in CA at that time. I took a Dental Assisting program at a local community college. It lasted only 10 months and cost me approximately $1 000. While studying, we did internship at three dental officies. My second internship office offered me a part-time job. I was still at college. The starting salary was $15 an hour. By the time I finished the program, I had X-ray certificate, coronal polishing license, CPR card and was elligible to take the RDA exam. After I got RDA license, the doctor raised my salary to $18 an hour. Several years ago the economy was much better, so we had advantage. Nowadays only few students are able to find a job through internship.
If you take a dental assisting job without experience, X-ray certificate, coronal polishing license, it pays only $8-12 an hour in CA, which is very low.
Because I took an accredited program, it was much easier to me to get EFDA certificate when I mooved to Oregon. They don't recognize RDAs here.

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Lora in Portland, Oregon

44 months ago

Alexis in Ocala, FL said: Wow, that's interesting...and only $1,000! What is the duration of getting certified in expanded functions after you became a DA? Also, how often do you continue education or re-certify? I have spoken to one or two DA's in the field that aren't quite sure but they themselves haven't been required to, so they don't worry about it, but I want to know! :)

Community colleges in CA are cheap. The program itself cost $800, plus books, uniform etc. The RDA exam is held four times a year. In June I finished the program, in August I took the exams, in September got my RDA license.
In CA you have to renew a license every two years. In order to do that you have to take 25 CE units. Some of them are mandatory such as two hours of infection control and two hours of California dental ethic and law classes. There are other requirements also. It can be a problem if your doctor doesn't take you to dental conferences. Some classes you can take for free, but for others you have to pay by yourself. You have to renew a CPR card every two years as well.

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Alexis in Ocala, FL

44 months ago

Okay, I just learned that my dentist needs 30 CEU's every two years. How interesting...Did you have a hard time starting out in dental assisting? Did you get your first job through an externship during training? I have read so much that it all differs depending on each dentist and that one has to be completely prepared and confident during their interview to get good pay, but what can a newly graduated student say in that position since experience is always such a requirement? Did you see that the way you presented yourself made a difference in how the Dr. treated you as an employee? I've read some horror stories about how some dentists have treated their assistants horribly and I plan on doing some pre-screening in order to avoid this at all costs.

How did you discover dental assisting? I always wanted to be a dentist until I volunteered at a local office and saw that the dental assistant is performing the functions I would like to do...

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Rosita in Costa Mesa, California

40 months ago

Alexis in Ocala, FL said: Wow, that's interesting...and only $1,000! What is the duration of getting certified in expanded functions after you became a DA? Also, how often do you continue education or re-certify? I have spoken to one or two DA's in the field that aren't quite sure but they themselves haven't been required to, so they don't worry about it, but I want to know! :)

Honestly, having an RDA license is not worth it. Don't waist your time! I'm an RDA over 15 years and I'm not happy with my salary. You spend a lot of time studying and paying for classes every two years and your salary is the same.

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Wow in Phoenix, Arizona

40 months ago

I'm going to answer a few questions, but I quoted Alexis, because you seemed to have a few questions: (remember to consider assisting as a career and not a job - think outside the office!)
-There is a difference, which everyone seems to understand, between RDA and CDA. Just to brief, RDA = state recognition (varies) and CDA = national recognition.
-YES! You can do more with a CDA then just dental assist. While it does offer you opportunity to perform expanded function in your dental office, it can also offer you the opportunity to teach at a community college or career college that offers a dental assisting program. This can, depending on your area and demand, almost double your salary as a dental assistant. If it is an online or evening program, you could even do both!
-If you would like to find out what is takes to get an RDA in your state, the best way is to contact your state dental board. You can do this by searching online "[state name] board of dental examiners". If their website is difficult to navigate, call them! They will have the most up to date information on what it takes to become an RDA.
-While a CDA is not required in a large number of states, it does help you if you plan on relocating (think military folks or free spirits!) to several states in a short period of time. It is recognized in about 20 states. This may mean if you move to a new state, all you have to do is take a test on jurisprudence (laws) acknowledging you understand what they approve! Also, some states may have reciprocity (saying we'll approve your CDA/RDA in state X).
-The CE's are determined by your state, RDA, and by DANB, CDA. CDA is minimum 12/yr and increase with additional certifications you obtain. See the website for more info! There are several locations that offer FREE CE's.
-If you have more questions you can email me at kiddo824 at msn dot com. The field has so much potential for those who want it!

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UClass in Chickamauga, Georgia

39 months ago

Arin Pitera in Ringgold, Georgia said: Thanks for your positivity and reassurance. I know that my instructors, one in particular,(Mr. Don) has worked very hard and has been very positive in helping me to have the information and preparedness to get a job. I guess I should count my blessings and not look for trouble where I am bound to find it.I guess I question the system and wonder if I should be an advocate to question school standards and compromise myself for speaking out, or just let it go to keep myself in good standing with the school and let every student come to their own conclusions. I think I know the answer. As much as I hate politics and misguiding information, I can only deal with the circumstances which are in my control. I guess I have to stop trying to make everything right, because life will always be misleading in some way or another. Thanks again; I appreciate that you believe in me.

I was wondering if Chattanooga College is a good school, thinking of transferring there.

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Vanessa512 in Orlando, Florida

35 months ago

Hello, I am searching for a dental assisting school, and think I might of found a good match. I have been researching and now I am realizing there is CDA, RDA, and a license for dental assisting. So I want to make sure I am making the right choice of school. First off it's not an actual school it's an actual practicing dental office who offers Saturday classes. It's a 10 week program for $2595.00 in which you will "you’ll be qualified to get a job in any dental office either as a dental assistant or in a front office position." I spoke to an instructor who said for an additional $400.00 and 2 more weeks of school you can recieve your x-ray and expanded functions license. According to the website this is what it states about the certification, "In order to be certified for expanded duties and x-rays in Florida, you must have at least 6 months experience on the job. At that time, there are several weekend courses available where you can get your certification. We find a many times that your employer will pay for you to take this course. The title of Certified Dental Assistant or CDA is a gained by taking an examination. This is a national rather than a state organization. You are able to work in any dental office in Florida without any of these certifications." Does having a license make a differene in pay?I want to work as a dental assistant with expanded functions and radiology and later on move up to a dental hygienst. I do not plan on moving out of the state. Does this sound like a good place to get my education? Please help with your feedback! Thanks

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heather price in port matilda, Pennsylvania

35 months ago

Hello, I"m hoping someone is out there that can help me. I was a dental assistant with the certified dental x-ray under my belt. I had to leave my job for various reason and then moved a few times. I can not find my certificate for passing my x-ray exam. I was looking to reenter the dental assisting field. Can anyone help locate a copy of my certificate. I took the exam in Harrisburg, PA (Days Inn), July of 2003. Anyone with any ideas. Thanks

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Kristi in Tempe, Arizona

35 months ago

You can contact DANB and they can send you another copy of your certificate from them. There may be a charge for it.

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Silvia2012 in Fayetteville, North Carolina

32 months ago

Hi, I'm wanting to go to a 13week program to get my dental assistant here in Fayettville, NC but I would be moving to Oklahoma City, OK in a year. Would I be able to take my certificate to OK and work there? Im not sure what to look for in the state laws. Can someone help. Thanks.

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A Person in Virginia Beach, Virginia

32 months ago

Adri in Virginia Beach, Virginia said: Has anyone attended Practical Dental Assisting of VA Beach or heard of any good or bad reviews?

Thanks!

I have mixed feeling about Practical Dental Assisting of Virginia Beach. The training is inexpensive, and if you are lucky, you'll be able to find a job after you've 'graduated'. There isn't much hands-on training in the classroom that goes on - mostly textbook reading, so you will need to bust your butt finding a dental office that accepts externs (you are required to perform 160 hours) and that are willing to teach you DA duties vs. serving as the office housekeeper. It is not a CODA school (I didn't have $25,000 to spend on education/training at Centura) so you will need to follow the DANB #2 plan if you are wanting to become a CDA in the future.

I believe the owner is in the business strictly to collect tuition from the military program MyCAA. There wasn't much assistance provided in anything outside of the classroom. She offered 'study review' for the RHS test that you have to take through DANB but was charging $85 for the classes. Although things did work out for me with actually finding a job as a DA, there are lots of girls who are still trying to find a job after finishing the course work.

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antoinette mcgowan in newark, New Jersey

27 months ago

iris in Upland, California said: Just because your xray certified doesn't make you a CDA or RDA...it is part of becoming a DA...once you pass state test for RDA then your RDA and after two years of experience as an RDA then you BEcome a CDA

cda is frist..then rda

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antoinette mcgowan in newark, New Jersey

27 months ago

Katie in Clearwater, Minnesota said: Can someone tell me what I need to do to become and RDA in Virginia. I am already an RDA in Minnesota. I called the board there and they weren't very helpful. I just need to know step by step what I need to do. Thank you

rda in west va only

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RDA student in San Ramon, California

25 months ago

Here in California, there are a couple of major differences between RDAs and DAs.

First off, RDA is a one-year program teaching you a variety of skills. DA program is a 8-10 week program teaching you the minimum to practice.

If you are looking at pay, Hands down RDAs make better pay. Here, CDAs make about $13/hour while RDAs make between $18-$25/hour (this is in the Bay Area, I can't speak for all California areas on this one because it varies).

Here in California, RDA programs HAVE to be accredited by the Dental Board of California, DA programs do not need to be accredited by this board and have their own accreditation.

Last off, although both RDAs and DAs are highly in demand, RDAs are favored by employers.

For the most part, these statements are true in a lot of places but I would look up the specifics of your area to get area-specific facts.

Good luck!

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lei in San Jose, California

25 months ago

RDA student in San Ramon, California said: Here in California, there are a couple of major differences between RDAs and DAs.

First off, RDA is a one-year program teaching you a variety of skills. DA program is a 8-10 week program teaching you the minimum to practice.

If you are looking at pay, Hands down RDAs make better pay. Here, CDAs make about $13/hour while RDAs make between $18-$25/hour (this is in the Bay Area, I can't speak for all California areas on this one because it varies).

Here in California, RDA programs HAVE to be accredited by the Dental Board of California, DA programs do not need to be accredited by this board and have their own accreditation.

Last off, although both RDAs and DAs are highly in demand, RDAs are favored by employers.

For the most part, these statements are true in a lot of places but I would look up the specifics of your area to get area-specific facts.

Good luck!

Do you have an idea where you can get certified for the coronal polishing and x-rays? or just an idea where to start? Actually Im a Foreign Trained Dentist, I just got my green card. I want to work. Getting back to dental school is so expensive and a lot of exams I need to take and get accepted for DDS school programs. Any help you can extend is gladly appreciated.

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RDA student in Dublin, California

24 months ago

lei in San Jose, California said: Do you have an idea where you can get certified for the coronal polishing and x-rays? or just an idea where to start? Actually Im a Foreign Trained Dentist , I just got my green card. I want to work. Getting back to dental school is so expensive and a lot of exams I need to take and get accepted for DDS school programs. Any help you can extend is gladly appreciated.

Yes, you can check the California Dental board for coronal polishing and X-ray courses.

This link has it all: www.dbc.ca.gov/applicants/rda/courses.shtml

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BettyJane Sideco in Union, New Jersey

22 months ago

Gabbriana said: In Indiana,,,DANB!!!

Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)

The CDA examination focuses on General Chairside Assisting and is DANB's primary certification. In addition to a General Chairside component (GC), the CDA exam contains separate components covering Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) and Infection Control (ICE) topics. Many states are using the CDA examination or one of its components as part of dental assisting regulatory requirements.

So, I guess you have to pass GC,ICE & RHS Certifications to be
called a CDA..If you have your RHS..I guess you would call it..An x ray certified DA? Correct me if i'm wrong..

I'm sure it varies what state you live in too..Does this sound right?

Gabbriana!!

I'm going to study for my CDA but I'm going to take my RHS first. I need tutoring, do you have any tutors in Union, NJ?

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ChrisfromIowa in Iowa

11 months ago

I am a RDA and have been for 7 years and do not have expanded functions, however I would like to be certified in them. I know that I have the option in Iowa to take some coarses in expanded functions and then I can be considered RDA with Expanded Functions but I was wondering is it more beneficial to take the DANB tests or just get certified in expanded functions? I would like to be able to do more in assisting. Also with the DANB testing there are 3 exams.
1. general chairside,2. Radiation Health & Safety and 3. Infection Control. I have taken radiography and infection control along with jurisprudence exams in order to be considered an RDA. Do I need to take these again in the DANB boards?

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Dental Assistant Training Site in California

11 months ago

To receive your CDA certification you must take all three exams within 5 years, so if you took radiography and infection control within the past 5 years, you won't have to retake them. If it has been longer than that, you will. You need either 3500 hours of employment within the past 2-4 years or graduation from a CODA accredited program to qualify to take the chairside exam.

To qualify for expanded function training, a dental assistant must hold current DANB certification or have a minimum of two years of clinical dental assisting experience as an RDA. So basically if you have the two years experience already, you could just take your exam to become a CDA (maybe there is an opportunity for higher pay with this certification?) If you don't feel it will benefit your career much at this point, just go straight to the training for expanded functions.

Source: dentalassistanttrainingsite.com/dental-assistant-training-requirements-and-programs-iowa/

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Oswald in Ooltewah, Tennessee

9 months ago

Rachel in Dayton, Ohio said: Could someone please explain to me what the difference is between a Registered Dental Assistant & a Certified Dental Assistant ? THX!

This is probably the best explanation for it.
"Registered Dental Assistant" is a dental assistant who has successfully completed the state-level registration process with the SBDE. Dental Assistants who successful register and have been issued a Dental Assistant Registration Certificate by the SBDE may use the credential "Registered Dental Assistant" or "RDA".

"Certified Dental Assistant" is a dental assistant who meets the education and/or experience prerequisites established by the Dental Assistant National Board (DANB) and passes the DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) Examination (including Radiation Health and Safety (RSH), Infection Control (ICE) and national-level General Chairside (GC) component(s), is currently CPR-certified and continues to maintain the CDA credential by meeting DANB requirements. Dental Assistants who complete this process may use the credential "Certified Dental Assistant" or "CDA".

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