What is a Registered Dental Assistant?
What’s the difference between a registered and certified dental assistant?
Earning the title of Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) means you have passed the required classes as well as the national dental assistant exam that is administered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
DANB certification is recognized as the standard in certification nationwide by prestigious dental associations, including these:
While being certified is not necessarily a requirement to work as a dental assistant, it is the standard for measuring both knowledge and skills and is often a requirement of employment by dentists seeking to hire new assistants.
In contrast, earning the title of Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) means you have met all of the requirements on a state level and can perform dental assistant duties as outlined by the state in which you live.
What does it mean to be “registered?”
Being registered means you have passed all the qualifications your state requires of a dental assistant and that you are allowed to perform all the duties as outlined by your state.
For example, your state may have a separate exam to become registered; it is also typical for states to require separate X-ray certification before being eligible for the “registered” title. In many states you must first be certified to be eligible to take the state registered exam; often there is a clause where several years experience may be substituted for certification.
Note that while being a CDA is recognized nationwide if you move to another state you will have to meet that state’s requirements to become registered and/or licensed.
Take a look at the differences:
|Certified Dental Assistant||Registered Dental Assistant|
|Education Level||Diploma or certificate from accredited school||Diploma or certificate from accredited school; possibly continued education in specific areas such as X-ray|
|Requirements for Designation||Pass three-part DANB CDA exam||Meet state standards such as state exam; possibly required to pass national exam for certification in areas such as X-ray or restorative procedures|
|Exam Cost||$425.00||Varies by state|
|Issued by||DANB||State in which you will practice|
Because the requirements to become a registered dental assistant vary widely from state-to-state, it is vital that you check with your state’s dental regulatory board before you enroll in a dental assistant program. Make sure the school meets the accreditation standards for both DANB and the state in which you plan to work and offers all class requirements as outlined by your state regulatory board. Note that both traditional and online schools are accepted by both DANB and state boards, as long as they meet accreditation requirements.
Here are some examples of state requirements to become a registered dental assistant:
|$35.00 application fee plus $90.00 registration fee||
Additional certifications you may apply for:
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