The dental assistant in Florida is an entry-level health worker who assists the dentist with many day-to-day duties in the office. A handful of assistants can potentially become employed even if they are not certified, but this is definitely becoming unusual because the vast majority of facilities now choose to hire just those candidates who have finished an accredited training program.

Because of unprecedented demand for new dental assistants in Florida, this occupation is quite sought after with people seeking an entry-level job in healthcare. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016 report forecasts that the volume of new employment opportunities for dental assistants will increase by 19% through 2026.

What does a dental assistant do in Florida?

The major responsibilities of the dental assistant in Florida focus on the activities that help the office provide services to its clients and provide basic dental care. The subsequent link reflects the standard responsibilities that offices place on their assistants.

How to become a dental assistant in Florida.

The process for becoming a dental assistant in Florida may be summed-up in the following four actions.

Step 1 – Complete your high school diploma or G.E.D.

The very first step towards a position you pursue should be completing a high school diploma. Finding a job in the medical field is no exception. Even in the few cases where it is feasible to gain a position without finishing high school, the jobs usually do not offer much in terms of pay or chances for growth.

While shopping for a dental assistant certification program, you will also find that the majority of educators require trainees to hold a G.E.D. or diploma before registration. Take the time to complete this first basic step, and you’ll prevent a tremendous number of road blocks during your career.

Step 2: Register for courses approved by the CODA

The second step in becoming eligible to work as a certified dental assistant is to sign-up for classes that are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). The CODA is a nationally-recognized body that coordinates dental assisting training around the country.

Why CODA accreditation matters

Considering that only trainees who complete a program approved by the CODA are immediately able to challenge either of the national certification exams, it really is imperative that you graduate from a training course that is recognized by this body.

Online dental assistant school

A favored alternative option to campus-based courses, dental assistant classes online provide pupils the opportunity to attend class and finish their training according to their personal daily schedules. For students who do not live near a school that features the classes they need, online programs are also an attractive option.

Be conscious, however, that online courses still require pupils to complete their internship hours at a physical site affiliated with the program.

Step 3: Graduate from the program and complete the required internship hours

The next step is to finish the accredited program you’ve selected. While every program is a little different, it is quite typical for students to complete their academic training and internship in just twelve months.

The majority of training courses dedicate the academic portion of their syllabus to the subject matter that is included in the national certification tests. Allowing trainees hands-on training in a real dental office, conversely, is the emphasis of the internship part of a course.

Step 4: Successfully pass the NELDA or CDA examination

There are two highly-popular dental assistant certification examinations – the NELDA and CDA. After you have completed a CODA-approved course, you will be eligible to challenge either one of them. You will receive the national credential of Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) by passing either examination.

Next is a brief explanation of both examinations.

National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA)

One of the primary national tests is the National Entry Level Dental Assistant Exam (NELDA), which is a three-part exam administered all through the country. The NELDA contains three component exams (the RHS, ICE and AMP) offered in a one-hour, 50-minute timed structure. A passing grade on the test gives the student the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) certification.

In order to become qualified to take this examination, a test taker must have either:

    • Graduated from a CODA-approved dental assistant program, or
    • Acquired comparable work experience as a dental assistant

CDA Exam

Also provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), is the CDA additionally grants the nationally-recognized title Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) to people who get a passing score. There are 60 multiple-choice questions on this one-hour, 45-minute timed test.

In order to be eligible to challenge this assessment, candidates need to satisfy one of the following criteria:

    • Graduated from a CODE-approved dental assistant program, or
    • Gained equivalent work experience as a dental assistant

What is the typical dental assistant salary in Florida?

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

The following data reflects the fact that this number can vary according to the area you choose to work in.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.24$17.76$25.00
North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota, FL MSAHourly$15.08$20.06$24.26
Port St. Lucie, FL MSAHourly$11.98$19.65$24.04
Naples-Marco Island, FL MSAHourly$14.42$19.40$24.57
West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach, FL Metropolitan DivisionHourly$12.35$19.16$25.65
Tallahassee, FL MSAHourly$12.32$19.09$24.33
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL MSAHourly$12.99$18.62$23.60
Punta Gorda, FL MSAHourly$13.57$18.48$23.14
Gainesville, FL MSAHourly$12.79$17.97$23.93
Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, FL Metropolitan DivisionHourly$12.99$17.96$28.50
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL MSAHourly$12.33$17.89$25.72
South Florida BOSHourly$13.76$17.75$23.10
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL MSAHourly$12.40$17.74$23.84
Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL MSAHourly$12.57$17.67$25.08
Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL MSAHourly$13.32$17.66$22.95
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL MSAHourly$13.15$17.59$23.17
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL MSAHourly$13.31$17.55$22.23
Jacksonville, FL MSAHourly$12.24$17.29$23.65
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL MSAHourly$13.48$17.26$23.52
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL MSAHourly$12.73$17.03$22.98
Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL Metropolitan DivisionHourly$11.71$15.95$24.72
Panama City-Lynn Haven-Panama City Beach, FL MSAHourly$12.65$15.61$19.10
Ocala, FL MSAHourly$12.97$15.55$20.56
Northeast Florida BOSHourly$10.95$15.49$19.62
Northwest Florida BOSHourly$10.03$12.65$16.85