The dental assistant in Arizona is an entry-level medical worker who helps the dentist with various everyday tasks in the office. Being certified isn’t mandatory in every state, yet the current trend among organizations has been towards only hiring men and women who carry a professional credential.

The need for dental assistants in Arizona is forecasted to grow greatly in the next few years, which makes it a good option for those who are beginning their careers. The 2016 Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 19% increase in new opportunities for dental assistants through 2026.

What does a dental assistant do in Arizona?

The basic duties of the dental assistant in Arizona center around the tasks that help the office take care of its customers and provide basic dental care. While many managers might require even more duties, the link here illustrates the primary role of most dental assistants.

The steps to becoming a dental assistant in Arizona

The certification process to become a dental assistant in Arizona may be summarized in the next four actions.

Step 1 – Get your high school diploma or GED

Getting your high school diploma is a basic fundamental to becoming employed in any skilled job. With jobs in the medical industry, this is particularly true. Even in the cases when it is possible to secure a position without finishing high school, the jobs usually do not offer much in terms of pay or chances for growth.

Furthermore, many dental assistant classes call for students to be high school graduates or hold a G.E.D. in their admissions requirements. For these reasons, if you’re interested in working in medical care, it’s always a wise decision to accomplish this important first step.

Step 2: Enroll in a CODA-accredited training course

Looking for a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)-accredited training course is the next step if you have decided to become certified. The CODA is a nationally-recognized organization that coordinates dental assistant coursework around the country.

Why CODA accreditation matters

Accreditation by the CODA is deemed imperative due to the fact that only graduates from a school approved by this organization can take either of the national certification exams.

About online dental assistant programs

A desirable alternative option to on-campus instruction, online dental assistant programs supply students the versatility to attend class and complete their education according to their own daily schedules. For students who do not live near a physical campus that offers the courses they are looking for, online classes are always an attractive option.

Be conscious, however, that online classes still require students to finish their internship hours at a physical site associated with the program.

Step 3: Satisfy all necessary hands-on training hours and graduate from the program

The third step is to graduate from the accredited program you’ve chosen. The academic and internship parts of the conventional program can be completed in twelve months or less.

A lot of training programs dedicate the classroom part of their course of study to the subject matter that will probably be covered in the national certification assessments. With regards to the internship portion of the course, this is when trainees get hands-on training in a functioning dental office environment.

Step 4: Pass one of the main national certification examinations

There are two highly-popular dental assistant certification exams – the NELDA and CDA. Eligibility to sit for these tests requires you to initially complete a CODA-accredited program. Pupils who pass either test receive the nationally-accepted distinction of Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).

Here is a brief description of the two examinations.

National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA)

One of the primary national exams is the National Entry Level Dental Assistant Exam (NELDA), which is a three-part exam administered all through the nation. The NELDA contains three component exams (the RHS, ICE and AMP) given in a one-hour, 50-minute timed format. A passing mark on the test gives the pupil the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) credential.

A test taker must satisfy the next two criteria to sit for the examination:

    • Completed a CODA-approved dental assistant training program, or
    • Obtained comparable on-the-job experience as a dental assistant

CDA Exam

The CDA Exam is provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), and additionally awards the title of Certified Dental Assistant (CDA). There are 60 multiple-choice problems on this one-hour, 45-minute timed test.

Being eligible for this assessment further is dependent upon the test taker having either:

    • Completed a CODE-accredited dental assistant training program, or
    • Obtained comparable on-the-job experience as a dental assistant

What is the average dental assistant salary in Arizona?

The median yearly dental assistant salary was $37,630 in May 2017 per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The data table below contains the most recent data on salary offered in Arizona.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.24$17.76$25.00
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ MSAHourly$13.70$18.70$23.87
Prescott, AZ MSAHourly$9.21$16.85$19.47
Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ MSAHourly$12.46$16.80$22.89
Yuma, AZ MSAHourly$13.09$16.38$18.65
North Arizona (BOS)Hourly$10.77$16.06$22.51
Tucson, AZ MSAHourly$11.98$16.06$22.31
Flagstaff, AZ MSAHourly$11.57$14.93$23.13