Dental Assisting Education Requirements 2017-06-26T22:14:31+00:00

DENTAL ASSISTING EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS

Fortunately, dental assisting is one of the few healthcare support professions that can be undertaken with just a high school diploma or GED. A little more than half of dental assistants have gotten a 2 year or equivalent degree. Many community colleges offer courses that take a year or more leading to a DA II certification. Many assistants surveyed learned either on-the-job or through an accelerated learning class like the Dental Staff Institute.

In North Carolina, assistants are classified as DA level I, DA level II in training, or DA level II. The amount of supervision required and the level of your clinical responsibility is determined by this designation. While a DA II must have an advanced degree (a year of study, two years (3,000 hours) of work experience, or pass the DANB Certified Dental Assisting Exam) and possess a variety of additional certifications, a DA I can begin earning money shortly after taking an accelerated learning course to obtain their initial state certifications. As your clinical skills progress, you have the option of expanding your responsibilities through continued education, gaining your clinical hours and becoming a part of an organization like the ADAA (American Dental Assisting Association).

The current classifications and requirements are as follows:

Radiography Requirements

A dental assistant must:
1. Pass the national DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam, OR
2. Pass a radiological equivalency exam recognized by the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners. The equivalency exam may be taken by an assistant who can show evidence of seven hours of instruction in the production and use of dental x-rays and an educational program of not less than seven hours in clinical dental radiography, OR
3. Successfully complete a CODA-accredited dental assisting program, OR
4. Qualify as a DA II (see DA II requirements below)

Dental Assistant I (DA I)
A Dental Assistant I (DA I) in North Carolina is an individual who may perform basic supportive dental procedures under the direct control and supervision of a licensed dentist.

To qualify to monitor patients under nitrous oxide, a DA I must:
1. Successfully complete a North Carolina Board-approved seven-hour course in nitrous oxide-oxygen conscious sedation.

Dental Assistant II in Training (DA II in Training)

A Dental Assistant II in Training (DA II in Training) is an individual who is participating in on-the-job training to become a DA II. Training consists of at least two years (3,000 hours) of chairside assisting, during which period the assistant may be trained and allowed to perform the functions of a DA II under the direct control and supervision of a NC licensed dentist.

A DA II in Training may not monitor patients under nitrous oxide, take radiographs, or coronal polish until he or she successfully completes the required courses in these topics.

Dental Assistant II (DA II)

To perform expanded functions under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist in North Carolina, one must be classified as a DA II. To qualify as a DA II, one must:
1. Hold a current Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification, AND
2a. Successfully complete a CODA-accredited dental assisting program or one academic year or longer in a CODA-accredited dental hygiene program, or
2b. Complete full-time employement and experience as a chairside assistant for two years (3,000 hours) of the preceding five, radiography training as required by law, and a three-hour course in dental office emergencies, and a three-hour course in sterilization and infection control, OR
2c. Pass the national DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam.

To qualify to perform coronal polishing, a DA II must:
1. Successfully complete a seven-hour (three hours of didactic and four hours of clinical) coronal polishing course meeting North Carolina Board requirements.

To qualify to monitor patients under nitrous oxide, a DA II must:
1. Successfully complete a North Carolina Board-approved seven-hour course in nitrous oxide-oxygen conscious sedation.

For a more detailed look at DA-I vs. DA-II in training vs. DA-II Certifications, click here.