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Get your questions about becoming a dental assistant answered

Check out our most frequently asked questions about Dental Assisting, continuing education, the DALE Foundation and more.

Q: How long does it take to become a dental assistant?

A: It depends on the state; some states allow individuals to begin performing basic dental assisting duties immediately, while other states provide a dental assisting career ladder, where it might take between one and two years to reach the top role for dental assistant in those states.

Q: What is a typical dental assistant job description?

A: Dental assistants work under the supervision of dentists and are responsible for a wide range of tasks in the dental office, ranging from patient care and administrative duties to laboratory functions. The dental assistant position is the most flexible and varied in the dental office and requires a diverse set of skills, including clinical, clerical, interpersonal and technological capabilities.

Q: What is the average salary for a dental assistant?

A: According to DANB’s 2012 Salary Survey results, the median per hour rate is $18.60 for a DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) and $17.06 for non-certified dental assistants.

Q: Where can I go online to learn more about dental assisting?

A: Check out DANB at danb.org to learn more about becoming a dental assistant and earning your DANB Certification, or the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics at http://www.bls.gov/ to learn more about salary and overall career information.

Q: Will continuing education help me make more money?

A: It depends on the state and office you work in, but generally continuing education and becoming a CDA can earn you more money. The biggest benefits are developing new skills and staying up-to-date with the dental field, which shows your employer and patients your commitment to your profession.

Q: How much will it cost be to become certified?

A: For more information about DANB certification fees, please visit danb.org.

Q: Are DALE Foundation courses approved by any organizations or sponsor/CE approval programs?

A: The DALE Foundation’s courses can be used to meet DANB's Recertification Requirements. In addition, the DALE Foundation is an ADA CERP Recognized Provider and an AGD PACE Program Provider. Our Accounts Receivable for the Dental OfficeHR Fundamentals for the Dental Office and Financial Reporting for the Dental Office certificate programs also meet Fellowship requirements for AADOM.

Q: Where do I go to see if the DALE Foundation course I am taking counts toward my state’s dental assisting requirements?

A: Check out our State Dental Assistant Requirements page for more information.

Q: How long is DANB certification current after earning the CDA, COA, CPFDA or CRFDA certifications?

A: One year. After that, certificants must earn yearly CE credits (at least 12 per certification, though those with multiple certifications have prorated requirements), hold current DANB-accepted CPR certification and pay an annual renewal fee. Those who do not renew DANB certification are no longer authorized to use DANB certification marks (CDA, COA, CPFDA, CRFDA, CDPMA, COMSA). Go to danb.org for more information.

Q: How long does it take to become an Expanded Function Dental Assistant?

A: Each state is different. We recommend checking with your state dental board. You can also check out our State Dental Assistant Requirements page for more information, including links to each state’s dental board web site.

Q: How many dental assistants are certified by DANB?

A: There are an estimated 295,000 assistants in the U.S.; currently, more than 36,000 are certified by DANB. DANB's website at www.danb.org offers the ability to verify who holds DANB certifications and certificates of knowledge-based competency.

Q: Are there other online continuing education options for dental assistants?

A: Yes, there are many options available. You can also earn CE online through providers such as the ADA, ADAA, INeedCE.com, DentalCare.com and many others!

Q: How does an online course work?

A: See our Courses and Study Aids Section for detailed information.

Q: Will I receive the results of my post-course assessment after completing a course?

A: Yes. We provide you with your post-course assessment results immediately on-screen after you complete a course.

Q: Do you have scholarships available?

A: Yes! For more information, please see the Liz Koch Memorial Scholarship page.

Q: How do I convince my dentist to pay for my continuing education?

A: While your dentist isn’t required to pay for your continuing education, it is important to his/her practice that you are current with the latest best practices in dental assisting, as that results in better overall patient care. By communicating this message, you may be able to influence his/her decision. Bottom Line: Continuing education benefits you, so taking responsibility for your own lifelong learning is always a good idea! Any funding assistance you receive is simply “gravy”!

Q: How can I contact the DALE Foundation if I have a question?

A: Call 877-510-3253 or send an email to email@dalefoundation.org. You can also use our contact form. If we find that many people are asking similar questions, you may see your question on this page in the future, so check back!



Prefer to talk over the phone? Give us a call! 1-877-510-3253