Dental Assistant Degree Vs Certificate

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What Are The Benefits Of Having A Danb Certification

Dental Assisting and DANB Certification

Having a DANB certification can have many benefits, both professional and personal. It will give you an edge in your field, which will make it easier to find better jobs. This certification will also open more doors for career advancement, such as paid vacation, holidays, and even retirement. Youll have better salary prospects and a better resume. A DANB-certified assistant can also work in a more complex environment.

The CDA exam tests dental assistants for certification in four areas: Radiation Health and Safety, Infection Control, Topical Anesthetic, and Flouride. These are all components of the major dental certifications, and DANB has exam questions to test all of them.

Once certified, certification lasts one year. For it to remain current, candidates must take a DANB-accepted CPR course, complete 12 hours of continuing dental education, and pay an annual fee.

The CDA exam has evolved over the years. The first component of this exam was developed in 1982. This exam was administered in 1983 and incorporated into the CDA exam in 1985. It is administered year-round, and candidates may schedule the exam as conveniently as possible. Candidates must bring their Test Admission Notice and a valid photo ID with their signature. Reference materials, including a textbook, will not be permitted at the testing center.

What Are The Educational Qualifications For A Dental Assistant

The educational qualification requirements for DAs will vary according to state and employer. While some dental health employers don’t require formal qualifications for the DA position, others will want candidates to have at least a high school diploma. The work training in such cases will be on-the-job. You are likely to benefit more career-wise, however, from getting a certification, diploma, or associate degree in dental assisting. The dental assistant program at Concorde is eight months and includes externship training.

In some states DAs need to get a legal license before they can practice. It is not mandatory everywhere, however. You should check with the American Dental Association to find out the licensing regulations in your state.

To find work as a DA, it will help to put together a detailed resume that highlights your educational qualifications as well as any other job-relevant skills. For instance, if you know multiple languages, are proficient in software programs, and have strong communication abilities, you need to mention that in your DA resume.

What Can I Expect To Learn In An Online Bachelors In Medical And Dental Assisting Program

Since many students come into online dental or medical assistant programs with an associate degree, additional hands-on experience may not be necessary. However, some bachelors programs do require further supervised experience in dental hygiene in order to graduate. Before enrolling, its important to make sure of what the on-campus requirements might be.

Typical duration: Four years to complete however, many students enter with an associate degree, and so may only spend two years in the bachelors program.

Typical coursework:

The bachelors program takes students more in-depth with dental courses such as anatomy or pharmacology. They can also help to provide a well-rounded liberal arts education.

Students in medical assisting programs might take mathematics, psychology, management and the like. Many programs require students to choose a concentration, such as health management, education or research.

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Featured Online Dental Programs

Our Methodology

Here at, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That’s why we’ve developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators as collected by the federal government for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you’re getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Online Enrollment

Education Options For Dental Assistants

Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. Achievement Edition Certificate ...

Whether you choose a certificate/diploma or an associate degree in dental assisting, both educational programs can prepare you to begin your career as a general dental assistant and qualify you for professional certification.

A certificate/diploma program concentrates on the basics of dental assisting. This allows you to save time and money by streamlining your education so you can begin working as quickly as possible, usually within a year. While an associate degree can take two years to complete, it combines basic dental assisting knowledge with core college courses for a well-rounded education that may be good for career growth.

Both a certificate/diploma program and an associate degree can serve as sound foundations for a career in dental hygiene, dental lab science, or another allied health role. College credits earned for an associate degree from an accredited institution can be transferred to other accredited institutions for further education. Training and education earned in a certificate/diploma program may be applied toward another program or an associate degree if the new program offers credit for prior learning and experience.

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How Long Does It Take To Complete A Dental Assistant Program

You can take various paths to a career in dental assisting. For states that require no formal training, those interested in dentistry can learn the duties of the occupation on the job. Most states, however, require dental assistants to obtain credentials. There are three educational paths one can pursue: diploma, certificate, or associate degree. The one you choose will determine how long before you can apply for certification and enter the field.

To earn a dental assistant certificate online, it can take fewer than 12 months. However, most programs last a year. An online dental assistant degree requires at least 60 credits and usually takes two years to complete, the same as other associate degrees. Factors that could affect program length include the number of transfer credits a student brings to the program, the number of terms per year, and whether the program is self-paced or part of a cohort where students progress through courses together.

What Is An Associate Degree

An associate degree is an award given to students that have completed an associate degree program. Not only are these programs designed to educate and prepare students for a specific position or industry, but they also cover general education courses. However, associate degrees require considerably fewer general education courses than bachelor’s degrees require. Most of the time, the curriculum provided in these programs primarily focuses on preparing students to enter the workforce and their chosen careers.

Community and career colleges usually offer a wide range of associate degree programs. When students pursue an associate degree full time, they can typically complete their courses and graduate in roughly two years.

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Choosing The Right Certification Training Program

I just shared a lot of information with you and I dont want you to feel overwhelmed, so lets do a quick recap.

Weve looked at the three main certifications available to dental assistant candidates and learned about the organizations that offer each.

The DTSC exam costs less, and that certification is recognized by all 50 states. Its top notch, and hard to go wrong with that. The test is comprehensive, has almost twice the questions, and takes almost twice the time to complete.

The DACC exam, offered by the National Workforce Career Association, is good option as well. And, compared to some of the others, the fee is relatively inexpensive.

And finally, there was the CDA certification offered by the Dental Assisting National Board. That certification relies on a comprehensive exam that consists of three sections, and each section has its own exam, costing $270 a pop. While that might seem like a steep price to cover, if your training program is going to cover the cost, then this might be a good option for you.

What Can I Do After Earning An Associate Degree In Medical And Dental Assisting

Carrington Health Care Difference – Dental Assisting

Positions available to dental and medical assistants with an associate degree are similar to those available with a certificate however, there are some important advantages for associate degree holders. In addition to potentially higher pay, many employers are more comfortable hiring someone who has spent two years studying their profession, rather than one. The associate degree can also serve as a valuable stepping stone to the bachelors degree program if a student chooses to take their education even further.

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Option : Dental Assistant Certification

In some states, you must graduate from a Dental Assisting certificate or diploma program. They usually require about a year of school. Most Dental Assistant programs are offered by vocational schools or community colleges.

Dental Assisting classes often cover topics like infection control, medical emergencies, dental X-rays, and dental instruments.

Bonus tip: High school students who want to become Dental Assistants should take courses in biology, chemistry, and anatomy.

Dental Assistant Certificate Training

An average dental assistant certification training program requires about 40 credit hours, and typically takes as few as 10 months to complete. However, opting for strictly night or weekend classes can extend this timeline beyond one year. These relatively quick dental assisting programs will prepare you for the Dental Assisting National Board’s Certified Dental Assistant examination.

The CDA exam includes 3 components:

  • General Chairside Assisting
  • Infection Control

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How To Become A Dental Assistant In California

Are you interested in dentistry and passionate about helping people? Then a dental assistant career could be for you. Dental assistants work in dental offices under the supervision of dentists. They have excellent interpersonal, organizational and listening skills.

Dental assistants perform a variety of patient care and administrative duties. They take x-rays, schedule patient appointments and assist dentists during dental procedures. Theyre different, however, than dental hygienists. The biggest difference between the two is that dental hygienists have less supervision and work more frequently with patients.

For those curious about dentistry and eager to gain practical experience, becoming a dental assistant is a great place to start. This guide covers the following topics as they relate to dental assistant careers:

  • What to look for in education programs
  • Jobs and relevant organizations

A Great Working Environment

Dental Assistant Training

If the idea of working in a typical office environment, staring at a computer screen all day doesnt appeal to you, then you will most likely enjoy working in a dentists office a clean and well-lit environment. You also have the freedom to move around and also the opportunity to interact with a lot of different people. You also get to perform a variety of tasks so youll never get bored and time will fly!

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What Are The Best Associates In Dental Assisting

At CollegeRank, we strive to do our best to guide you and your family toward a fruitful academic career. The pursuit of knowledge is a noble one, and we want to help you reach your goals. Please feel free to visit our dedicated methodology page for a step-by-step breakdown. For questions, comments, badge downloads, or data corrections, please feel free to reach out to us at

Who Offers Dacc The National Workforce Career Association

Established in 2015, the National Workforce Career Association , along with over 500 college and university partners and industry leaders, has created a focused framework for assessing a candidates education and practical experience. The NWCA is a standout among certification organizations as it works to bring together the best minds and leaders in the industry. Obtaining the DACC certification will definitely help you stand out among the crowd.

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What Is A Certified Dental Assistant

A certified dental assistant, or CDA, is a dental support specialist with current certification from the Dental Assisting National Board . These assistants complete certification courses to help them understand how to take care of patients and perform organizational duties. They then take an exam to test the knowledge they learned through coursework and apply that knowledge to their job in dental assisting. Many CDAs have little prior experience before starting their courses, although some may work in entry-level positions as unlicensed and supervised dental assistants and take the certification exam using this experience.

Read more:What Is a Dental Assistant? Average Salary, Requirements and How To Become a Dental Assistant

The Dental Assistant Program At Unitek College

A Day In The Life Of A Dental Assistant

At Unitek College, we offer a Dental Assisting program with a career-driven curriculum. Our 10-month program provides the skills, experience, and knowledge that students will need to excel in the field.

Courses cover all aspects of the profession, including infection control and sterilization techniques, handling medical emergencies, taking dental X-rays, making impressions, and the use of dental instruments. Plus, students benefit from a supervised externship and employment assistance.

You can find the DA program at these three campuses:

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What Is The Career Outlook For A Dental Hygienist

As in the case of DAs, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also projects DH careers to experience an 11% growth in the 2018-2028 period . With an aging population and new advances in the field of dentistry, the demand for dental healthcare workers could skyrocket.

While an associate degree is the minimum required to become a dental hygienist, you might need to get a bachelor’s or master’s degree for professional advancement. All U.S. states require DHs to obtain a license after passing a written and clinical exam. You will have to renew this license periodically by participating in continuing education programs that will help you to stay updated on new dental technologies and treatment methods.

Most DHs generally work in an office setting in a dental facility. They may also work in hospitals, and some DHs may work independently and provide their services to different dental clinics. Often, DHs experience job-related stress due to long working hours, the demanding nature of the work, and having to deal with difficult patients. Many, however, manage to find a good work-life balance.

Most Popular Diplomas In Healthcare

The options listed below represent just a few available options for diploma-holders in healthcare. They include work in dentistry, nursing, medical assisting, and other areas. Like certificates, these credentials are usually administered by accredited colleges and universities. Most come from public schools or two-year institutions, although some options may be available at relevant private schools as well.

Dental Assisting Diploma

This diploma prepares you for work in dental offices providing patient care, maintaining records, and scheduling appointments. Its builds core skills in basic dental procedures like X-ray analysis, dental impressions, and tooth polishing. Some dental assistants may also discuss oral care and treatment plans with patients alongside presiding dentists.

Time to completion

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What Can You Expect To Earn As A Dental Assistant Whats Are The Current Trends In Dental Assistant Employment

Dental Assistants help dentists and other dental employees in many ways. They take care of patients, take x rays, help make and organize patient records, assist in scheduling, and do other clerical tasks.

As previously mentioned, to become a dental assistant in some states, youll need to graduate from an accredited program and pass a test to become a Dental Assistant. In others, there are no formal education requirements, and youll just need to start working and receive on-the-job training.

Dental Assistants can eventually become dentists, and while they work as assistants, they can gain valuable skills and experiences that will serve them in dental careers. They can do networking that leads to more advanced dentistry work at the practices they work at, or at others. Most importantly, Dental Assistants can discover whether dentistry is right for them without committing the time and money theyd need to become a dentist or technician.

Lets take a look at dental assistant earnings and employment. All of the information presented below is courtesy of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Heres some information about where Dental Assistants have high employment numbers, and where theyre paid the most:

The states with the highest level of employment for Dental Assistants are:

The states and areas with the highest pay for Dental Assistants are:

Also please remember to check in with us for new content about many different roles in the health field.

Good luck!

What Is The Difference Between An Rda And Cda

54 best Medical Assistant images on Pinterest

CDA, or Certified Dental Assistant, is a national certification thats obtained through the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc., or DANB. To obtain a CDA, applicants must pass three component exams in general chairside assisting, radiation health and safety, and infection control.

In contrast, Dental Assistants must pass state-specific requirements in order to become licensed as a Registered Dental Assistant, or RDA. In other words, the requirements for earning an RDA license will vary state by state, and in some states , the process for becoming an RDA is considered more vigorous than earning a CDA designation.

If youre not sure whats required in your state, you can find out by opening the interactive map on the DANB website and clicking the state within which youd like to work. DANB will then outline your state requirements and relevant permits that may affect your ability to perform specific duties as a dental assistant.

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Can I Study Online

Yes, you can. While you will want to gain work experience, there are a variety of online study options available to prepare you with the necessary knowledge for the job. Some, such as that offered by Penn Foster, offer support to gain an externship. You can also use the search box at the top of this page to find local colleges that offer online training.

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