According to the American Dental Association, dental assistants can become certified by passing an examination to evaluate their knowledge and expertise in the dental
assistant field. Generally, aspiring certified dental assistants take the Dental Assisting National Board’s Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination.
If your training program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) as described above, you can take the exam directly after finishing the program.
If your program is not CODA-accredited, or you’ve received on-the-job training rather than a formal program, you can take the CDA exam after completing two years of
full-time work as a dental assistant.
DANB also offers a variety of other certifications, some of which don’t require completing a CODA-accredited program. For instance, the National Entry Level Dental
Assistant (NELDA) certification is for dental assistants just joining the workforce and requires less training than is required for the CDA.
The Dental Assisting National Board offers exam prep materials, as does its affiliate, the DALE foundation. There are many free resources available to help you prepare
for your dental assistant exams: look online for free or affordable test prep materials to help you prepare.
You don’t necessarily need to become certified in order to work as a dental assistant: there are a variety of entry-level or assistant positions that require less
training. Each state varies in what is required to begin work as a dental assistant, so check your state’s requirements and consider what kind of position is best for