Skip to content

How To Become A Registered Dental Assistant

Last Updated on February 24, 2021 by kabirat adeniyi

Will you like to have access to or know about dental assistant programs, dental assistant certification online and dental assistant school? Get ready! Here at you can find out more about dental assistant certification online. Check for answers and you can get the knowledge you so rightfully deserve. When people think of jobs related to healthcare, the first words that come to mind are usually “doctor” and “nurse.” Statistics from the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions paint a more realistic picture: more than 60 percent of the U.S. healthcare workforce is made up of allied health professions. People in these non-nurse and non-physician allied health roles include positions such as dental assistants, dental hygienists, and nutritionists who serve the wellness needs of their patients in providing diagnostic, evaluative, and preventive medical support in clinical settings. For those at the beginning of their professional careers or who want to transition to the field of dentistry, dental assisting is a growing entry-level career to help patients develop good oral health habits and boost their confidence in maintaining a bright smile. dental assistant programs dental assistant certification online dental assistant school

What Is a Registered Dental Assistant?

Registered dental assistants help dentists with both patient care and administrative tasks though how involved you are with administrative tasks may depend on your employer. It is generally recommended that you have good people skills, keep organized records and are good with your hands, since dental assistants frequently work with small tools. As a dental assistant, you will typically work in an office environment with regular weekday hours. Nights and weekends may be required for emergency care or extended office hours.

Dental Assistant Certification | All Allied Health Schools

What Educational Training Will I Need to Become a Registered Dental Assistant?

If you have aspirations of becoming a registered dental assistant, you might begin at the high school level by taking courses in office procedures, biology and chemistry. Next, enroll in a dental-assisting program that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), a part of the American Dental Association. As of 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there were approximately 300 programs approved by the CODA offered in technical, community and junior colleges.

Certificate or diploma programs may include classes such as dental materials, preclinical procedures, oral anatomy, dental radiology, biomedical science and chair-side assisting. If you decide on an associate’s degree program, you will take additional courses such as general microbiology, applied mathematics, sociology, algebra and pharmacology and medical emergencies. Your accredited program of study must prepare you to take the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) examination. After passing the examination, you will receive the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) credential.

Step 1: Earn a high school diploma or GED (four years).

High school students wishing to pursue a career in dental assisting must first earn a high school diploma or a general education diploma (GED). Students should consider taking as many math and science courses possible in order to prepare for college-level coursework and may want to explore future career options through national organizations dedicated to helping 14 to 20-year-olds explore future career options such as HOSA – Future Health Professionals and Learning For Life – Exploring.

How to become a Registered Dental Assistant in 6 Steps - DirectDental

Step 2: Enroll in a dental assisting program or equivalent professional path (one to three years).

  • 2A: Education Eligibility Route (one year) – Dental assisting degree programs are available through several institutions of higher learning in face-to-face, hybrid, or fully online formats and programs typically take one year to complete. Accreditation of dental assisting program is available through CODA and degrees from regional or nationally accredited educational institutions are also accepted. Check out this list of accredited online dental assisting programs.
  • 2B: Military Eligibility Route (16 months) – People who have completed military dental assisting training program and a minimum of one year of work experience are eligible to apply for the RDA exam. Qualified training programs include dental sciences, clinical procedures, dental radiography, and office skills. If training and work experience was completed four or more years prior to the RDA exam application date, evidence of at least three years of work experience is also required. Here’s an example of a military dental assistant program with the U.S. Air Force.
  • 2C: Work Experience Eligibility Route (three years) – In order to apply for RDA exam certification through the work experience eligibility route, proof of a minimum of three years or 5,250 hours of dental assistant training under the supervision of a licensed dentist is required. A letter of recommendation from a current or former employer is also necessary in order to be eligible to take the certification exam. Official requirements for the work experience eligibility route are detailed on the AMT website.

Step 3: Apply to take the RDA (AMT) (one to three weeks).

After completing a dental assisting program, the next step is to take the registered dental assistant certification exam through the American Medical Technologists Association (AMT). The purpose of this certification exam is to evaluate the professional knowledge and skill-based competence of entry-level practitioners in the field of dental assisting. Students typically wait one to three weeks to receive confirmation that their application has been accepted in order to register to take the exam. For more details on what to expect when applying for the RDA please see the AMT Candidate Handbook.

Step 4: Prepare for RDA (AMT) certification exam (timeline varies).

Although the RDA test will likely cover content learned through dental assisting education programs or professional experiences, it is essential to prepare for any exam in order to be familiar with the test format, content, and time requirements. Free resources for the RDA exam are available and divided into exam content details and reference materials. Materials for students preparing to take the RDA exam are also featured in the form of successful student profiles and test taking strategies.

Step 5: Register and pass the RDA (AMT) certification exam (one day).

After applying to take the RDA exam, approved students will receive an email confirming if their application to take the exam has been approved. Students who receive confirmation should visit the ‘My Homepage’ part of the AMT website in order to download and print an Authorization to Test letter. Students can use this letter to register for the RDA test at a Pearson Vue test center.

Step 6: Maintain RDA certification (one to three years).

Examinees who pass the RDA exam are invited to become active certified members of the AMT. Membership in this organization can be renewed annually for $50 and members must comply with the certification continuation program every three years. Belonging to this professional organization ensures future employers that individuals abide by the AMT standards of practice. AMT membership benefits run the gamut of continuing education, career services, and leadership opportunities.

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *