How to Become a Dental Assistant: Education Requirements & Qualities

Dental Assistant Education Requirements

There are a number of career paths for dental assistants. While some states require dental assistants to have graduated from an accredited program and pass a licensing exam, others might not even ask for formal education credentials. High school students who plan on becoming dental assistants should consider taking classes in biology, chemistry, and anatomy.



Dental assistants perform a wide range of duties in their job. They have both administrative and clinical responsibilities, though the scope of their responsibilities may vary from state to state and from dentist’s office to dentist’s office. Typically, dental assistants prepare the patient for their dental exam or procedure, sterilize and disinfect instruments, record treatment information, take down medical and dental histories, instruct patients in oral hygiene, order dental supplies, schedule appointments, and create orthodontic appliances. Due to the broad skill set required for this profession, aspiring dental assistants ought to have the following qualities:

  • Detail orientation
  • Finger and manual dexterity
  • Arm-hand steadiness
  • Interpersonal communication skills
  • Active listening skills
  • Service orientation
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Near vision
  • Organizational skills

Learn more about what a dental assistant is.

Dental Assistant Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

How to Enter the Dental Assistant Field

The Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) issues certifications for dental assistants. In order to qualify for the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam, you must meet one of the following three criteria:

  1. Graduate from a CODA-accredited dental assisting or dental hygiene program AND current CPR from a DANB-accepted provider.
  2. High school graduate or equivalent AND a minimum of 3,500 hours of approved work experience AND current CPR certification from a DANB-accepted provider.
  3. Former DANB CDA status or graduate from a CODA-accredited DDS or DMD program or graduate from a dental degree program outside the U.S. or Canada AND current CPR from a DANB-accepted provider.

How to Become a Registered Dental Assistant

American Medical Technologists (AMT) offers a credential called Registered Dental Assistant (RDA). If you seek to take this exam, you must meet one of the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Graduate of or scheduled to graduate from an accredited dental assisting program.
  2. Graduate of a military dental assisting program AND a minimum of one year of dental assisting work experience.
  3. Employed as a dental assistant for a minimum of three years, with a recommendation from a current or former employers who is a dentist. Proof of high school graduation or educational equivalent.

Becoming a Dental Assistant

Dental assisting is an optimal career choice for individuals who wish to work in a growing industry, interact with different people, and have varied job responsibilities. Delta Tech’s training program prepares students for entry-level dental assisting positions, and can be completed in as little as nine months. Our admissions staff will gladly help you, should you have any more questions about becoming a dental assistant.


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