Working at dental offices of just about all kinds, dental assistants in Hawaii work under the direction of the dentist to ensure that routine dental procedures and administrative tasks are handled properly. A handful of assistants can find work even when they aren’t certified, but it is becoming unusual because the majority of organizations now prefer to employ just those individuals who are graduates of an accredited training program.

The need for dental assistants in Hawaii is forecasted to grow sharply in the future, so it is a great option for people who are starting their careers. The 2016 Occupational Outlook Handbook released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 19% growth in new opportunities for dental assistants through 2026.

What do dental assistants do in Hawaii?

The basic responsibilities of the dental assistant in Hawaii focus on the functions which help the office service its customers and provide basic dental care. The traditional duties performed by the majority of dental assistants are displayed at this link here.

The steps to becoming a dental assistant in Hawaii

The four steps to becoming a dental assistant in Hawaii are detailed below.

Step 1 – Finish high school or get your G.E.D.

No matter which job you choose to pursue, earning a high school diploma should be regarded as the initial step. With jobs in the healthcare industry, this is particularly true. Although it is sometimes possible to secure some entry-level jobs without a diploma or G.E.D., you may at some point discover that your opportunities for promotion are limited.

While shopping for a dental assistant certification course, you may also find that most programs require trainees to hold a G.E.D. or diploma prior to enrollment. For that reason, no matter your ultimate career goals, make sure that you complete this step.

Step 2: Sign-up for a CODA-accredited training course

If you’ve decided to get your professional certification, the second step is to sign-up for a dental assistant training program that is approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). The CODA is a nationally-respected body that coordinates dental assisting education across the nation.

What is CODA accreditation?

It is simply imperative that you complete a course accredited by the CODA, given that only those students who are graduates of an approved training program are eligible to sit for one of the national certification exams.

Dental assistant classes online

As is true with nearly all distance education options, online dental assistant programs are a preferred option for people who are juggling multiple obligations. In cases where a person may not live in close proximity to a campus-based class, these classes are also ideal.

Be advised, however, that online courses still require pupils to complete their internship hours at a actual physical location associated with the school.

Step 3: Fulfill all requisite internship hours and graduate from the program

Graduating from the accredited program you chose in the preceding step will be your next order of business. Even though each course is slightly different, it’s fairly typical for pupils to finish their academic education and internship in as little as twelve months.

The majority of training courses devote the academic part of their syllabus to the content that will be covered in the national certification exams. In terms of the hands-on part of the program, this is when trainees get hands-on training in a live dental office environment.

Step 4: Pass one of the main national certification exams

In order to earn a nationally-accepted dental assistant certification, you need to pass either the NELDA or CDA exam. After you’ve completed a CODA-accredited program, you will be eligible to sit for either of them. You will acquire the national credential of Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) by passing either test.

Below is a brief breakdown of both tests.

National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA)

The National Entry Level Dental Assistant Exam (NELDA) is administered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), and is a three-part examination. The test is administered in a timed structure, and contains three component exams (the RHS, ICE and AMP). A passing mark on the exam awards the pupil the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) certification.

A candidate has to be able to satisfy the following two criteria in order to sit for the exam:

    • Completed a CODA-accredited dental assistant training course, or
    • Acquired comparable on-the-job experience as a dental assistant

CDA Exam

Also provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), is the CDA Exam additionally awards the nationally-regarded title Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) to students who earn a passing mark. Test takers have one hour and 45 minutes to complete 60 multiple-choice problems.

Eligibility for this examination additionally is based on the candidate having either:

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

What is the standard dental assistant salary in Hawaii?

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

The following data reflects the fact that this number can differ depending on the state you work in.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.24$17.76$25.00
Hawaii/Maui/Kauai BOSHourly$9.92$14.37$19.69
Honolulu, HI MSAHourlyN/AN/AN/A