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How to become a Dental Assistant

To work as a dental assistant, the following may be required of you:

  1. Complete an academic program in a community or technical school. This will give you a huge advantage when it is time to get a job.
  2. Complete an externship where you can refine your skills in the different areas of dentistry, such as dental pathology, chairside assisting and oral anatomy.
  3. Earn a state certification through the state dental board where you want to work. You are required to pass the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination given by the Dental Assistant National Board (DANB).
  4. Get other certification and licensure by passing the DANB's National Entry Level Dental Assistant test.
  5. Get an entry-level job in your area of focus to get on-the-job experience.
How to become: Orthodontic Assistant · Dental Receptionist · Dental Technician · Treatment Coordinator · Assistant
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What skills help Dental Assistants find jobs?

  • Accounts receivable
  • Bilingual
  • Chairside assisting
  • Communication skills
  • Computer literacy
  • Computer skills
  • Customer service
  • Dental assisting
  • Dental office experience
  • Dental receptionist
  • Dentrix
  • Documentation review
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Career progression for Dental Assistant

Education levels for Dental Assistants

Based on the requirements of Dental Assistant job openings on Indeed in the United States within the last three years.
required level of educationpercent of job openings
High school diploma or GED68.2%
Associate's degree20.1%
Bachelor's degree9.3%
Doctoral degree1.1%
Master's degree1.1%
Middle school education0.2%
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Expected salary by experience

Based on resume data from Indeed users who reported working as a Dental Assistant in the United States within the last three years.
Years of experienceAnnual salary in USD
0 - 4$28,900
4 - 8$31,100
8 - 12$32,900
12 - 16$34,900
16 - 20$35,500
20 - 24$36,300
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Common qualifications for Dental Assistants

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Common questions about career advices for a Dental Assistant

How long does it take to become a dental assistant?

Depending on the state, it can take approximately one month to four years to become a dental assistant. Some states require a high school diploma and on-the-job training. Other states require dental assistants to pass an exam and receive their dental assistant certification.

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What's the job outlook for dental assistants?

Dental assistants continue to remain in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook of dental assistants will grow 11% between 2018 and 2028.

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Is being a dental assistant a good career?

Working as a dental assistant is exciting in a growth allied health field, and it's a career that can offer career progression for those with the right qualifications and interests.

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Are there any career growth opportunities for dental assistants?

Is a degree needed to become a dental assistant?

What benefits do dental assistants get?

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