How to Become a Dental Assistant in North Dakota
Dental Assistants in North Dakota take on the essential role of aiding dentists and dental hygienists while keeping the dental office running smoothly. For those planning to pursue a dental assistant career, it is important to be well-educated and prepared for the everyday duties they will be performing. Aside from the various requirements that differ between each state, there are some duties and responsibilities that all dental assistants share, such as:
- Scheduling patients for appointments
- Accommodating patient questions and providing post-procedural information
- Preparing and sanitizing dental equipment and treatment rooms for use
- Assisting the dentist throughout the various procedures
- Helping with payment processes
Although applying to be a dental assistant requires hard work and dedication, it is a rewarding and fulfilling job that comes with multiple perks and career options for the future. If becoming a dental assistant in North Dakota is something you are interested in, read on to learn about the specifics of the position and what it entails.
Requirements to Become a Dental Assistant in North Dakota
The Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. (DANB) is a widely-used and nationally recognized organization that offers various examinations and certifications to help you further your career. Some of their exams are a requirement to apply for a couple of the following job titles in North Dakota:
- Dental Assistant – Aside from an updated certificate of proficiency in CPR, there are currently no other educational requirements needed to perform basic dental procedures under the supervision of a licensed dentist. Dental assistants who are not registered with the board can take and record relevant patient dental and medical history, apply non-desensitizing topical medication to oral tissues, clean or repair removable dental prostheses, and take impressions for study casts.
- Qualified Dental Assistant (QDA) – To become a QDA, you must have a CPR certification, pass both the DANB Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) Exam and the Infection Control Exam (ICE). Additionally, you must complete 16 hours of continuing education, 650 hours of on-the-job dental assistance instruction, pass a written exam on the laws and regulations of dental practice in North Dakota, and apply to the North Dakota State Board of Dental Examiners (NDBDE). In addition to the duties and responsibilities listed above, a registered QDA can also perform dental radiographs.
- Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) – To become an RDA, you must have a CPR certification, pass the DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) Exam or graduate from a CODA-accredited dental assisting degree program. Additionally, you must pass a written exam on the laws and regulations of dental practice in North Dakota and apply to the North Dakota State Board of Dental Examiners (NDBDE). RDAs are qualified to perform more duties in addition to the ones listed above. A complete list of RDA responsibilities can be found in the North Dakota Administrative Code.
- To become an RDA qualified to apply pit and fissure sealants under the supervision of a licensed dentist, you need to become a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) and successfully complete a board-approved sealant class or course.
- To become an RDA qualified to assist in administering anesthesia under the supervision of a licensed dentist, you need to take a board-approved dental anesthesia assistant education and training course, pass a board-approved competency examination, have a valid basic life support certification, and apply for an anesthesia assisting permit from the NDBDE.
A lot of dental assistants choose to go further in their careers and study to become dental hygienists. Becoming a dental hygienist is an excellent step to take after you have familiarized yourself with the basics of dental care. It qualifies you to perform more duties and responsibilities and would be a lucrative step forward for your career.
Where to Get Relevant Education in North Dakota
North Dakota State College of Science offers a Dental Assisting degree that includes relevant in-campus curriculum courses and more than 300 hours of valuable on-the-job training in dental offices. This institution also offers a Dental Assisting certification program that includes lessons and curriculum courses.
Aside from physical institutions, online programs are also a good alternative to jumpstart your career. Schools such as Penn Foster offer dental assistant programs that are fully online-based, making them convenient and equally valuable.
Salary and Career Outlook of Dental Assistants
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Dental Assistants employed in the United States earn an average hourly pay of $19.80, amounting to $41,180 per year. This number varies significantly according to location, with some of the highest-earning professionals reporting a yearly salary of up to $58,390. There are around 330,200 dental assistants employed nationwide as of this writing, which is still subject to change as the long-term (2020-2030) job outlook for this occupation is at a very high national average of 11 percent. See this page for more information on North Dakota dental assistant salaries.
Working as a Dental Assistant in North Dakota
Due to the importance of their work, dental assistants are often in very high demand. As the public begins to be more and more conscious of their dental health, dentist’s offices around the country continue to need competent and qualified employees. Several clinics in North Dakota are urgently looking to hire dental assistants, especially in Fargo, Bismarck, and Valley City.