How to become an expanded function dental assistant image

Expanded Function Dental Assistant career opportunities

Understand what it means to be an Expanded Function Dental Assistant, and how to get there.

More functions can grow your career

If you are looking for a new way to do more or make more at work, you might be considering becoming an Expanded Function Dental Assistant. To do this, you first need to figure out what that role is called in your state, and what requirements are needed to get there. Believe it or not, there are 41 different job titles for dental assistants in the United States! In some states for example, an Expanded Function Dental Assistant is called an Expanded Duty Dental Assistant, while other states call these oral healthcare workers Registered Dental Assistants with Expanded Functions (RDAEF). Some states have only one level of dental assistant, while other states have up to five different levels and job titles!

To help you understand your state regulations, check out our State Dental Assistant Requirements page. It will give you a breakdown of job titles, requirements, and the duties that are allowed at each level.

Once you do, here are a couple of ways to take on more at work and expand your career:

  1. Become a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)
    Chances are you live in a state where earning your dental assistant certification could help you perform more dental assisting functions, and give you professional recognition and career growth potential. Click here to learn how to earn CDA certification.
  2. Become a Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA)
    This is a new certification offered by DANB that covers coronal polish, sealants, topical fluoride, and topical anesthetic. In some states, these functions are considered expanded duties. If this sounds like a good match for you, visit to learn more.
  3. Become a Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA)
    Many orthodontic assistants take the COA exam in order to gain benefits of certification in their profession. Some states, such as Maryland, Massachusetts and Oregon, provide a separate professional title for orthodontic assistants. In these states, DANB’s COA certification is recognized as meeting state requirements. Check your state's requirements to find out more information. For more information about COA certification, go to

For questions about becoming an Expanded Function Dental Assistant, check out our FAQs, or contact us.

Set up your account

Ready to control your future? Sign up for a course today.

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