Dental Assisting National Board (DANB)

Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)


Credential: Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)  In-Demand resource  GI Bill resource  NCCA resource  IAS resource CA Eligible
Credentialing Agency: Dental Assisting National Board (DANB)

Renewal Period: 1 year

The Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) credential is an intermediate-level certification for dental technicians and dental office professionals who assist dentists, set up dental equipment, prepare patients for treatment, and keep records. CDAs have the knowledge and applied skill-level necessary to provide general chairside assisting, practice radiation health and safety, support infection control activities, and perform other dental assisting-related work requirements. CDAs fill a variety of roles in the dental office; some of these include preparing patients for dental procedures, ensuring sterility in the dental environment, assisting dentists during procedures by providing tools and materials, working with suppliers to schedule deliveries, helping patients schedule appointments, teaching patients about proper oral health, and taking patient x-rays. Applicants for the CDA are required to meet education and experience requirements. Applicants must also take a written exam.

More information can be found on the certifying agency's website.

Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

Attainability:    medium

Eligibility Requirements (View Details)

  • Credential Prerequisite
  • Experience: 3500 hours
  • Education: High School Diploma/GED
  • Training
  • Membership
  • Other
  • Fee

Note: This credential may have multiple options for becoming eligible. Listed are the minimum requirements based on the minimum degree required. To view other options, see the Eligibility tab.

Exam Requirements (View Details)

  • Exam
  • Written Exam
  • Oral Exam
  • Practical Exam
  • Performance Assessment

RECERTIFICATION SUMMARY

Renewal Period: 1 year

  • Continuing Education
  • Exam
  • Continuing Education OR Exam
  • Fee
  • Other

AGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION

Dental Assisting National Board (DANB)

444 N. Michigan Ave.
Suite 900
Chicago, IL  60611

Phone: (800) 367-3262

Fax: (312) 642-8507
Contact Page

Pathway 1:

Applicants must meet both requirements:

  • Graduated from a CODA-accredited dental assisting or dental hygiene program;
  • Hold current CPR from a DANB-accepted provider;

Pathway 2:

Applicants must meet all of the following:

  • Have a high school diploma.
  • Have Minimum of 3,500 hours work experience as a dental assistant, accrued over a period of at least two years (24 months, if employed full-time) to a maximum of four years (48 months, if employed part-time); employment must be verified by a licensed dentist;
  • Hold current CPR from a DANB accepted provider;

Pathway 3:

Applicants must meet all of the following:

  • Hold status as a current or former DANB CDA or Graduation from a CODA-accredited D.D.S. or D.M.D. program or Graduation from a dental degree program outside of the U.S. or Canada;
  • Hold current CPR from a DANB accepted provider.

The Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) credential has the following other requirements:

  • Applicants must hold a current Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certificate from a DANB-CPR provider. CPR Certification must be current at the date of the examination.

The CDA exam is made up of three component exams, Radiation Health and Safety (RHS), Infection Control (ICE) and General Chairside Assisting (GC). Candidates are required to take all three exams. They may take the RHS and ICE exams at the same test administration (RHS/ICE), or take and pass the component exams separately within a five-year period to earn certification. There are no eligibility requirements to take the RHS and ICE exams. Candidates are required to meet eligibility requirement to take General Chairside exam.

To become a CDA, applicants must pass all the three component exams, General Chairside (GC), Radiation Health & Safety (RHS) and Infection Control (ICE) within a five year period, or pass the CDA exam in its entirety.

  • Collection and Recording of Clinical Data (10%)
    • Basic Oral and Dental Anatomy, Physiology and Development (including but not limited to blood vessels, bones, glands/lymphatics, muscles, nerves, oral cavity, and teeth)
    • Preliminary Physical Examination
    • Charting
    • Diagnostic Aids
    • Treatment Documentation
  • Chairside Dental Procedures (45%)
    • Four-Handed Dentistry Techniques
    • Select and Prepare Armamentarium
    • Intraoral Procedures
    • Patient Management
  • Chairside Dental and Laboratory Materials (13%)
    • Chairside Dental Materials (Preparation, Manipulation, Application): Impression, Restorative, Sedative/Palliative, and Other Dental Materials
    • Laboratory Materials and Procedures; material selection, manipulation, and storage
  • Patient Education and Oral Health Management (10%)
    • Oral Health Information Provided to Patients
    • Pre- and Post-Treatment Instruction
    • Plaque Control Techniques
    • Nutrition
  • Prevention and Management of Patient Emergencies (12%)
    • Oral Health Information
    • Pre-/Post-Treatment Instruction
    • Demonstrate an understanding of plaque control techniques, including but not limited to: appropriate toothbrush selection and brushing techniques, evaluate oral healthcare status and habits, evaluate response to home-care therapy, provide preventive oral healthcare information based on individual needs, select and use oral hygiene devices (e.g., brushes, floss, interdental aids, oral rinses, irrigating aids), and select and use plaque disclosing aids.
    • Nutrition
  • Office Operations (10%)
    • Supply and Inventory Control
    • Maintenance of Equipment/Instruments
    • Patient Reception, Communication and Accounting
    • Legal Aspects of Dentistry

  • Expose and Evaluate (26%)
    • Assessment and Preparation
    • Acquire
    • Evaluate
    • Patient Management
  • Quality Assurance and Radiology Regulations (21%)
    • Quality Assurance
    • Radiology Regulations
  • Radiation Safety for Patients and Operators (31%)
    • Identify current American Dental Association (ADA) guidelines for patient selection and limiting radiation exposure.
    • Apply the principles of radiation protection and hazards in the operation of radiographic equipment.
    • Demonstrate knowledge of patient safety measures to provide protection from x-radiation.
    • Address patient radiation concerns (e.g., informed consent, patient refusal).
    • Identify operator safety measures to provide protection from x-radiation.
    • Describe techniques for monitoring individual x-radiation exposure.
  • Infection Control (22%)
    • Standard Precautions for Equipment
    • Standard Precautions for Patients and Operators

  • Standard Precautions and the Prevention of Disease Transmission (20%)
    • Recognize infectious diseases and their relationship to patient and occupational risk.
    • Demonstrate understanding of how to review a medical history to prevent adverse reactions during dental care (e.g., adverse reactions to latex or vinyl).
    • Demonstrate understanding of proper hand hygiene as performed before, during and after oral surgery and intraoral procedures.
    • Describe how to protect the patient and operator by using personal protective equipment (PPE) (e.g., masks, gloves, eyewear, gowns).
    • Demonstrate understanding of how to protect the patient and operator through the reduction of aerosol, droplets and spatter.
  • Prevent Cross-Contamination During Procedures (34%)
    • Demonstrate understanding of how to maintain aseptic conditions to prevent cross-contamination for procedures and services.
  • Instrument/Device Processing (26%)
    • Demonstrate understanding of processing reusable dental instruments and devices.
    • Demonstrate understanding of how to monitor and maintain processing equipment and sterilizers (e.g., ultrasonic cleaner, autoclave).
  • Occupational Safety/Administrative Protocols (20%)
    • Demonstrate understanding of occupational safety standards and guidelines for personnel.
    • Demonstrate understanding of how to maintain and document programs/policies for infection control and safety.

Exam Preparation Resources

There are a number of resources available to help you prepare for the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination:

An additional resource is Safari Books Online, a searchable digital library that provides online access to thousands of books, training videos and conference sessions. See the Educational Resources section on the Related Sites page here on COOL to learn how to get free access.

RECERTIFICATION

Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)

Renewal Period: 1 year

The Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) credential has the following recertification information:

  • Current CDA holders must recertify each year by earning Continuing Dental Education (CDE) credits, continue to hold current DANB-accepted CPR certification, and submitting renewal fee payment. Full details can be found in the DANB Recertification Requirements Guide.

Additional considerations for the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) include:

  • Applicants are required to provide all documents for verification along with the application. Additional details on documents required for each pathway can be obtained from the CDA Exam Application Packet.
  • After passing the RHS and ICE exams, applicants receive a certificate of knowledge-based competency for each exam passed. The RHS exam is recognized or required in 22 states and the District of Columbia to meet radiography requirements. The ICE exam meets state requirements for infection control in 5 states.  The CDA exam is recognized or required in 32 states and the District of Columbia for either radiography or for performing expanded functions. Currently, a total of 38 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Veterans Affairs recognize or require DANB exams for dental assisting practice.

In Demand

This certification is considered in demand. The U.S. Department of Labor sponsored CareerOneStop's analysis indicates the certification is frequently mentioned in online job postings.

COOL Bucks

See your installation Education Service Officer for credential exam information and coordinating instructions.

COOL Summary

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COOL Summary

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Some

Credential is related to some tasks associated with the duties of the military occupation (at least one critical task but less than 80%)

Most

Credential is directly related to most of the major duties associated with the military occupation (at least 80%) and is eligible for CA under the CA MOS/ASI Related Option

Other

Credential is related to this military occupation, but is more advanced or specialized and therefore will likely require additional education, training, or experience

CA Eligible

This certification is eligible for CA under the CA Civilian Occupation Related Option.

Promotion Points

This certification has been approved for promotion points.

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Star

Star credentials are MOS enhancing, as designated by the Proponent. MOS enhancing credentials are directly related to an MOS or ASI, are taught either partially or completely as part of a Program of Instruction (POI), and improves the MOS technical proficiency.

Skill Level

The Skill Level reflects the level, based on MOS training and/or experience, the Soldier should be the most prepared to successfully earn the credential. See the Table Legend for details about each level.

Navy Bucks

Credential voucher or reimbursement for credential exam, re-certification, or maintenance fee has been approved for payment through the Navy's Credential Program Office. To get a voucher request form, click Menu at the top of any page, then click "2 Complete Voucher and Apply" under Credentialing Steps.

CG Bucks

Coming Soon - Coast Guard policy regarding service member eligibility requirements to participate in the Voluntary Credentialing Program is under review with a projected release date of January 2020.

Early Career

1-3 years experience; Enlisted E1 through E4

Mid Career

4-10 years experience; Enlisted E5 through E6

Late Career

10+ years experience; Enlisted E7 and Above

Early Career

1-3 years experience; Enlisted “A” School through E5

Mid Career

4-10 years experience; Enlisted E6 through E7

Late Career

10+ years experience; Enlisted E8 and Above

GI Bill®

Reimbursement for exam fees has been approved for payment through the GI Bill. Click for external link to GI Bill licensing and certification information.

Note: GI Bill approval data is updated quarterly. For the latest information, visit the WEAMS Licenses/Certifications Search page. Make sure to select "Both" in the LAC Category Type drop-down before searching.

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ANSI

This credential has been accredited by ANSI. Click for external link to the ANSI web site.

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ICAC

This credential has been accredited by ICAC. Click for external link to the ICAC web site.

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ABSNC

This credential has been accredited by ABSNC. Click for external link to the ABSNC web site.

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NCCA

This credentialing program has been accredited by NCCA. Click for external link to the NCCA web site.

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IAS

This credential has been accredited by IAS. Click for external link to the IAS web site.

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Low

May be difficult to attain: minimum education requirement is a Bachelor's degree, and/or minimum experience is 10 or more years.

Note: In some cases “years of experience” refers to time actively on duty or while holding a certain occupation or prior certification and not always in consecutive calendar years. Additional years required for certain preliminary stages may not be included in this classification. For requirements measured in hours, 1080 hours was considered a year. For days, 365 days was considered a year. Please review all prerequisites and requirements for eligibility, and additional information for details.

Medium

Moderate ease of attainment: minimum education requirement = Associate's and/or prerequisite and/or minimum experience = more than 2 years and less than 10 years of experience.

Note: In some cases “years of experience” refers to time actively on duty or while holding a certain occupation or prior certification and not always in consecutive calendar years. Additional years required for certain preliminary stages may not be included in this classification. For requirements measured in hours, 1080 hours was considered a year. For days, 365 days was considered a year. Please review all prerequisites and requirements for eligibility, and additional information for details.

High

Highly attainable: mimum education requirement = HS or less and/or minimum experience = 2 years or less experience and no additional requirements.

Note: In some cases “years of experience” refers to time actively on duty or while holding a certain occupation or prior certification and not always in consecutive calendar years. Additional years required for certain preliminary stages may not be included in this classification. For requirements measured in hours, 1080 hours was considered a year. For days, 365 days was considered a year. Please review all prerequisites and requirements for eligibility, and additional information for details.

MOS is Military Occupational Specialty
ASI is Additional Skill Identifier
WOMOS is Warrant Officer Military Occupational Specialty
AOC is Area Of Concentration Officer

Army e-learning

State-of-the art Computer Based Training available for free to the Army Workforce. Click for more information.

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NKO e-learning

Credential preparation courses are provided at no cost through Navy e-Learning. Click for external link to the Navy Knowledge Online (NKO) web site, then select the “Navy e-Learning” link within the “Learning” tab to proceed to Navy e-Learning.

Bright Outlook – new job opportunities are very likely in the future for this job

Registered Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship program is registered with the U.S. Department of Labor. Go to the Apprenticeship Finder and enter career path or location to find apprenticeship opportunities.

Click here for External link to: My Next Move for Veterans - Dental Assistants
Click here for External link to: My Next Move salary info for Dental Assistants

Bright Outlook – new job opportunities are very likely in the future for this job

Click here for external link to: My Next Move for Veterans State Map for Dental Assistants

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Updated: December 03, 2019
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