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Become a Dental Assistant in Ohio

Dental assisting in Ohio can lead to many opportunities, allowing you to pursue a career in a health-related field without the hassle of a medical degree.

The demand for dental assistants in Ohio is skyrocketing, making it the perfect time and place to get started on your path. So, how do you know if this is the right career choice for you?

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If you are thinking of starting a successful career as a dental assistant in Ohio, there are some things you should keep in mind. For starters, you should have a passion for dentistry.

It’s essential that you feel comfortable working with people, especially those who will likely arrive stressed or nervous at the clinic. However, if you want to progress in the field, you must have a passion for learning and the patience to get there. While dental assistants can start their jobs at the entry-level, they can develop themselves to additional functions. 

Role of a Dental Assistant

A dental assistant is a person who assists a dentist in the provision of dental care to people. You will be in charge of various administrative and supportive duties such as:

  • Checking in patients and getting them settled
  • Cleaning dental equipment
  • Assisting dentists during procedures
  • Scheduling appointments and picking up calls
  • Sensitizing patients on dental hygiene
  • Discuss post-treatment or surgical care
  • Handling bills and payment

To succeed in your dental assisting career, you must be patient, organized, and communicate effectively. Besides primary duties, as a certified assistant in Ohio, you may also perform expanded functions under a licensed dentist’s direct supervision. These expanded duties include:

  • Placement of pits and fissure sealants
  • Coronal polishing
  • Applying topical anesthetic
  • Operating X-ray equipment
  • Assisting with and monitoring nitrous oxide analgesia
  • Taking digital scan impressions
  • Application of fluoride varnish


Although you will be allowed to perform expanded functions under direct or personal supervision as a certified assistant. There are specific tasks you can’t perform due to the state’s regulations. These include:

  • Final placement of any fixed or removable appliance
  • Placement of the final root portion of the teeth
  • Diagnosing or planning treatment
  • Cutting soft or hard tissue
  • Removing teeth or part of a tooth structure
  • Using air abrasions or air polishing
  • Adjusting or trying to adjust fixed or removable appliance while still in a patient’s mouth

Types of Dental Assistants Recognized in Ohio

According to the Ohio state dental board(OSDB), there are three types of dental assistants;

  1. Basic Qualified Personnel,
  2. Certified Dental Assistant and
  3. Expanded Function Dental Auxiliary (EFDA).

The Basic Qualified Personnel is like an entry-level position. Therefore, you will be allowed to perform primary and administrative duties according to your employer’s instructions.

Both the certified dental assistant and expanded function dental auxiliary positions have additional duties associated with them. Below are some of the responsibilities you can take on as a certified dental assistant or an EFPDA.

Certified Dental Assistant

As a certified assistant, you are allowed to perform the following functions under close or personal supervision:

  • Application of fluoride varnish
  • Re-cementation of temporary crowns or re-cementation of crowns with temporary cement
  • Application of disclosing solutions
  • Coronal polishing
  • Pit and fissure sealants
  • Application of desensitizing agents

Expanded Function Dental Auxiliary

As an EFDA in Ohio, you can carry out the following duties under the direct or close supervision of a licensed dentist:

  • All responsibilities of a BQP and certified dental assistant
  • Caries susceptibility testing
  • Placing amalgam restorative materials
  • Placing non-metallic restorative materials, including direct-bonded restorative materials
  • Application of disclosing solutions
  • Instruction on oral health and hygiene.

Requirements for Dental Assistants in Ohio

All dental assistants in Ohio are under the jurisdiction of the Ohio state dental board. All dental health care workers in Ohio must possess evidence of immunization to or against the Hepatitis B virus.

To perform specific functions, each level of dental assisting in Ohio has various eligibility requirements. You need certifications and dental assistant training to meet some of these requirements.

You can get training and certification through an accepted state or national certifying body or specialized dental assisting courses.

How to Become a Basic Qualified Personnel 

To become a BQP in Ohio, all you need is to be trained directly through an employer or an educational institution. In-office training also counts as a prerequisite for qualification.

If you want to monitor nitrous oxide-oxygen minimal sedation as basic qualified personnel, you must:

  1. Be at least 18 years of age
  2. Complete an accepted basic life support training course 
  3. complete a 6hours course in nitrous oxide/oxygen monitoring from an OSDB-approved permanent sponsor.

You can also become eligible for performing this duty by doing any of the following

  1. Graduating from a CODA-accredited dental training program
  2. Holding a current credential issued by another state for monitoring nitrous oxide/oxygen that is equivalent to Ohio standards
  3. Having at least 2years of active practice and at least 3,000 hours of experience in dental assisting.

How to Become a Certified Assistant in Ohio

Ohio recognizes certifications granted by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) and the Ohio Dental Assistant Certification Commission. Possessing either of these certifications makes you a certified assistant.

How can you achieve certification through the DANB?

If you seek the DANB certification, you will need to meet the following requirements:

  1. Graduate from a CODA-accredited dental assisting program or acquire 3,500 hours of work experience
  2. Take the CDA examination, which includes infection control, radiation health and safety, and general chairside assistance.

How can you achieve certification through the Commission on Ohio Dental Assistant Certification?

  1. To be eligible through this pathway, you must:
  2. Graduate from a dental assistant program or acquire a 1year dental assisting experience
  3. Undergo a testing process that will include written examination, clinical examination, and radiography certification. 

As a certified assistant, you can perform placement of pits and fissures sealants. You can also earn a state certificate in coronal polishing after meeting additional requirements.

Coronal polishing

To acquire a permit to perform coronal polishing as a certified assistant, you must:

  • Complete a Board-approved training in coronal polishing
  • Pass standardized testing after completion of an approved training program or pass DANBs Coronal Polishing (CP) exam
  • Apply to the Ohio state dental board for certification.

Pits and Fissure Sealants

  • Complete a 2 hours course of didactic instruction and 6 hours of clinical instruction
  • Successfully apply at least six sealants under the supervision of a licensed dentist.

How to become an Expanded Function Dental Auxiliary in Ohio

To perform expanded functions in Ohio under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist, you must qualify as an expanded dental auxiliary. 

To qualify, here are the requirements that the Ohio state dental board considers:

  • Be a certified assistant.
  • Complete an Ohio-board approved EFDA training course accredited to CODA 
  • Pass the EFDA examination administered by the Commission on Dental Testing in Ohio(CODT) or the Commission on Dental Competency Assessments(CDCA)
  • Complete a basic life support training course certified by the American Heart Association
  • Apply to the Ohio state dental board for registration as an EFDA.

Note that as a certified assistant or an EFDA, you may only perform specified functions for 15 consecutive days in the absence of a licensed dentist under the following conditions:

  1. You have at least 1 year/1,500 hours of experience as a dental assistant or EFDA
  2. You complete a board-approved course in the identification and prevention of potential medical emergencies.
  3. The supervising dentist has evaluated your skills and approves you to treat patients without supervision.
  4. The supervising dentist has established written protocols or written standing orders for you to follow during and in the absence of an emergency.
  5. The supervising dentist completed and evaluated a medical and dental history not more than one year before providing services to the patient.
  6. The patient is notified in advance of the appointment.

Dental Assistant Schools in Ohio

Ohio has many schools dedicated to training aspiring dental assistants.

There are 2 CODA-accredited schools with many more dental assisting schools recognized by the United States Department of Education.

Choosing to acquire a degree, diploma, or certificate in these schools will help to boost your standing in your dental assistant career.

Below are the COAD-accredited dental assistant schools in Ohio and the dental assistant programs they have to offer:

Choffin Career and Technical College of Science, Youngstown

Choffin Career and Technical College of Science, Youngstown: The college offers an associate of applied science degree. During the program, students will take the three components of the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) exam to become Certified Dental assistants (CDA). They also offer in-house dental clinics that give students great hands-on experience working directly with patient care.

Some of the programs you will treat include:

  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Microbiology & Disease Transmission
  • Pharmacology
  • Tooth Morphology/Oral Embryology and Histology
  • Radiology
  • Dental Materials
  • Lab Procedures
  • Chairside Materials and Procedures

Eastern Gateway Community College, Steubenville: This college offers a 1-year program that prepares students for a flourishing career in the dental field. Students go through rigorous lab training and on-site clinical experiences. 

The college offers three options to students to enhance employment in a dental office or dental clinic.

  • Certificate
  • Associate of applied science degree 
  • EFDA (Expanded Functions Dental Auxiliary) program.

Other dental assistant schools in Ohio include:

Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools, Columbia: This school has been accredited by the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education. They offer a college tech prep program in dental assisting. Students can earn State Certification for Dental Assisting, State X-Ray Certificate, and First Aid and CPR certification. Clinical experience is practiced at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry.

 Areas of study include:

  • Medical and Dental Office Technology
  • Dental Radiography
  • Dental Technology
  • Oral Diagnosis and Treatment Planning

Polaris career center, Cleveland: The Polaris program is for adult students who want to start a career in dental assisting. Dental Assisting students will have the opportunity to gain practical experience through a 160-hour unpaid externship. Topics you will be exposed to include:

  • Restorative materials/advanced chairside
  • Laboratory materials
  • Radiology
  • Practice management
  • Computer technology
  • Dental Specialties
  • Dental competencies

Other Dental assisting schools in Ohio are listed below.

Expanded Function Auxiliary Schools include:

  1. Sinclair Community College, Dayton
  2. Stark State College, North Canton
  3. Ohio State University College of Dentistry, Columbus
  4. Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland
  5. Owens Community College, Perrysburg 

See also your options near Toledo.

If you’re looking for a more flexible and convenient, online assisting programs are the best options. If that is your situation, Penn Foster has a comprehensive and flexible online dental assisting course. You can get the training you need to start in the dental field at your pace.

License and Certification

Licenses and certifications are essential to help jumpstart your new career in the dental field. They will boost your qualification and chances of employment. You will also get more confidence.

Besides, if you get the opportunity to work outside Ohio, your licenses are still valid. Here are a few certifications you will need:

  1. Certified dental assistant (CDA): To take the exam for this certification, you will have to do either of the following:
  • graduate from a COAD accredited dental assisting school  
  • Complete at least 3,500 hours of approved work experience. 
  1. Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA): For this certification, you must either:
  • Graduate from a COAD accredited dental assisting program, or,
  • Possess a current CDA certification and verification of competency in each of the four CFDA functions.
  1. Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant: For this certification, you must possess a current CDA certification or graduate from a CODA-accredited school.

Salary Expectations in Dental Assisting

Dental assistants in Ohio earn salaries comparable to the national average. The average annual pay of entry-level dental assistants in Ohio is $34,193 a year and $17.44 per hour.

High earners make over $58,000 annually because of experience, special skills, area, and employer. 

As an entry-level dental assistant, you can earn high working in cities such as Columbus. For example, entry-level dental assistants in Columbus earn high as $41,357 per year and $19.88 per hour. In comparison, those in Cincinnati earn about $37,978 per year and $18.26 per hour.

Future Career Outlook

Growth in jobs for dental assistants is strong in Ohio. Thus, starting a new career in the dental field is not difficult. Due to its large population, Ohio is filled with many dental offices always on the lookout for qualified dental assistants. 

Statistics show that there were 10,580 dental assistants in Ohio in 2016, That number may grow to nearly 12,000 by 2026. Hence starting a new career in dental assisting is worth it.

There are several large metropolitan areas in Ohio with significant growth and impressive salaries for dental assistants. The Cincinnati and Columbus metro areas have the highest working dental assistants, while Weirton-Steubenville has the least.

For better salaries and attractive benefits, look for employment in metropolitan cities in Ohio. For example, the highest wages for dental assistants in Ohio are Dayton, Columbus, Springfield, and Cincinnati.

Columbus has a very active market for entry-level dental assistants as several companies are hiring for this role. Additionally, you may choose to work in a dental office or dental laboratory as a dental sales representative or a dental office manager.


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