The dental assistant in Connecticut is an entry-level health worker who helps the dentist with multiple day-to-day functions around the office. Although it’s possible for those with a high school diploma to learn about this career through on-the-job training, the majority of organizations want to employ people who have completed a one-year dental assistant certification program.

Because of unprecedented demand for new dental assistants in Connecticut, this profession is extremely desirable for people looking for an entry-level position in healthcare. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016 report projects that the volume of new job opportunities for dental assistants will surge by 19% through 2026.

What do dental assistants do in Connecticut?

Usually, dental assistants in Connecticut manage a range of everyday customer service and patient care tasks for the dentist. Though many employers can require even more duties, the link here illustrates the primary function of most dental assistants.

How to become a dental assistant in Connecticut.

The four steps to become a dental assistant in Connecticut are outlined below.

Step 1 – Complete your high school diploma or GED

Regardless of the career you decide to go after, getting a high school diploma should be regarded as the initial step. When it comes to employment opportunities in the healthcare industry, this is especially true. And even in the cases when it is possible to gain employment without a high school diploma, the positions normally don’t offer much in pay or chances for advancement.

When looking for a dental assistant certification program, you will also find that most programs require trainees to have a diploma or G.E.D. before registration. Take the time to complete this first step, and you’ll prevent a huge number of barriers during your career.

Step 2: Register for courses approved by the CODA

The next step in becoming eligible to work as a certified dental assistant is to register for training courses that are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). This organization coordinates course curricula and guidelines assuring consistent high quality in national dental assistant schools.

The importance of CODA accreditation

It’s absolutely essential that you finish a training program accredited by the CODA, given that only those students who are graduates of an accredited training program are permitted to sit for one of the national certification exams.

Online dental assistant school

To better accommodate individuals who work or have other commitments that make attending class a challenge, a large number of schools offer pharmacy tech classes online. For people who do not live near a school that features the classes they want, online classes are always an attractive alternative.

Even though it’s viable to finish the academic section of a course online, it will nevertheless be required to finish the hands-on training section in-person at a designated location.

Step 3: Complete program and necessary hands-on training hours

Completing the accredited course you decided on in the preceding step will be your next objective. While every course is somewhat different, it is very typical for students to complete their academic training and internship in as little as one year.

The majority of training programs devote the academic segment of their syllabus to the material that will be included in the national certification exams. Offering college students hands-on training in a dental office, conversely, is the focus of the internship portion of a program.

Step 4: Successfully pass either the NELDA or CDA exam

To receive a nationally-recognized dental assistant certification, you will need to pass the NELDA or CDA test. You need to graduate from a course approved by the CODA in order to be eligible to sit for one of these tests. Students who pass either exam receive the nationally-recognized distinction of Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).

Let’s take a closer look at these exams below.

National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA)

Offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), the National Entry Level Dental Assistant Exam, or NELDA as it is often called, is a three-part assessment recognized throughout the country. The one-hour, 50-minute test contains three component exams (the RHS, ICE and AMP). Students who pass the test gain the title National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA).

In order to become approved to sit for this examination, a candidate must have either:

    • Finished a CODA-approved dental assistant training course, or
    • Acquired comparable work experience as a dental assistant

CDA Exam

The other major national certification exam is the CDA, and is awarded by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). Students get one hour and 45 minutes to finish 60 multiple-choice questions.

To be eligible to take this assessment, individuals have to satisfy one of the following prerequisites:

    • Completed a CODE-approved dental assistant training program, or
    • Acquired equivalent on-the-job experience as a dental assistant

Dental assistant pay in Connecticut

As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for a dental assistant in the United States was $37,630 as of May 2017.

Dental assistant compensation in Connecticut may differ somewhat from the national average, as is shown in the table below.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.24$17.76$25.00
Northwestern Connecticut BOSHourly$18.99$23.44$29.68
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT Metropolitan NECTAHourly$15.59$22.70$29.52
Worcester, MA-CT Metropolitan NECTAHourly$15.34$21.81$28.79
Norwich-New London, CT-RI Metropolitan NECTAHourly$14.63$20.42$26.48
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT Metropolitan NECTAHourly$13.73$20.16$24.68
Springfield, MA-CT Metropolitan NECTAHourly$15.22$19.60$27.47
New Haven, CT Metropolitan NECTAHourly$14.31$19.25$27.50
Danbury, CT Metropolitan NECTAHourly$12.96$18.92$28.06
Waterbury, CT Metropolitan NECTAHourly$14.28$18.88$27.67