A dental assistant is an integral – and perhaps the most versatile – member of the dental team. On a daily basis, dental assistants facilitate all the happenings that occur in the dental office: preparing patients for treatment, working alongside dentists during procedures, recording patient histories, and keeping all equipment clean and stocked. Without dental assistants, dentistry wouldn’t be the same.
It is no wonder why Connecticut anticipates a 10 percent increase in the employment of dental assistants by the year 2024. In fact, dental assistants are ranked among the most in-demand careers in Connecticut today.
If you are considering becoming a dental assistant and are living in the state of Connecticut, you may be wondering which steps you’ll need to take to land a job in this highly demanded field. Will you need to earn dental assistant certification to practice in the state? Which credentialing exams or educational requirements must you fulfill? In this article, Stone Academy will walk you through the ins and outs of earning your dental assistant certification in CT.
What is a Certified Dental Assistant?
Although it is not required, dental assistants in Connecticut have the option to become certified. A Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) is a dental assistant that has passed a three-part CDA examination administered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). The components of this exam include Radiation Health and Safety, Infection Control and General Chairside manner, all of which are designed to evaluate the knowledge and competencies of the dental assistant at hand. To become a Certified Dental Assistant, all three of these components must be passed within five years.
Completion of the entire CDA exam (and therefore your dental assistant certification) is not required in the state of Connecticut. However, completing all three parts can make you stand out to employers. The CDA credential shows employers and patients alike that you are qualified, proficient, and knowledgeable of the dental practice.
Dental Assistant Certification Requirements in Connecticut
The Connecticut Department of Labor (DOL) defines a “dental assistant” as someone who:
- Has successfully completed a dental assistant education program accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation OR a dental assistant school that is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- Completed on-the-job or clinical training in dental assisting, under direct supervision of a dentist
- Meets any requirements established by the Commissioner of Public Health, which may include a set number of clinical hours and specific types of procedures dental assistants can perform
Currently, however, there are no formal certification requirements to become an entry-level dental assistant in Connecticut. However, the Connecticut DOL has announced that, beginning in July 2018, all dental assistants in Connecticut must complete and pass DANB’s Infection Control Exam (ICE), in addition to complete at least one hour of infection control training or education every two years.
In order to carry out advanced radiation procedures such as x-rays, dental assistants in Connecticut are also required to pass the Radiation Health and Safety portion of the DANB credentialing exam (called DANB-RHS for short). This particular dental assistant certification will enable you to legally operate dental x-ray equipment and perform dental radiographic procedures in the state of Connecticut.
Once passing these portions of the dental assistant certification exam, practicing dental assistants in Connecticut can carry out many general dental procedures under the direction of a licensed dentist. These duties will include taking and processing x-rays, completing lab tests, preparing patients for exams and procedures, as well as performing administrative functions, such as patient record-keeping.
Dental assistants in Connecticut may choose to work in specialties such as endodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, periodontics, and prosthodontics; successful completion of your dental assistant certification can help you advance in these areas.
Why Start Your Dental Assistant Certification at Stone Academy?
If you dream of a career in dentistry and want to get into the workforce fast, Stone Academy has flexible program offerings for you. Our dental assistant program takes less than one-year to complete, and consists of a well-rounded curriculum including classroom, laboratory, and clinical instruction.
In our dental assistant program, you will receive hands-on training in the day-to-day functions of a dental assistant. You will also take coursework in HIPAA laws, medical ethics and terminology, as well as patient liability and active practice. This portion of the program takes about 10 months to complete. Following the on-campus coursework, students must then complete a two-month externship in an active, dental facility, where they will work alongside real dentists, dental hygienists, and patients. At Stone, we believe hands-on training – and putting those learned skills to practice – builds confidence as well as the proficiencies needed to earn dental assistant certification and become successful in a career.
Stone Academy’s dental assisting program in Connecticut promises no out of pocket expenses for the credentialing examination – which includes the Dental National Board Exam for Radiology. Dental assisting students also benefit from free Job Placement Assistance, where we will assist you in developing a résumé and seeking out potential job opportunities. After completion of our training program, you can expect to be fully equipped to earn your dental assistant certification and land a job in this in-demand field.
Start paving your path towards a career in dental assisting. Learn more about Stone Academy’s dental assisting school by calling (800) 585-1315 or even Apply Today!