The dental assistant in Idaho is a beginning medical field worker who supports the dentist with a number of daily functions around the office. Holding a certification isn’t required in all 50 states, yet the recent tendency among employers has been in direction of only employing people who have a certification.

The demand for dental assistants in Idaho is projected to grow greatly in the future, making it an attractive option for all those who are starting their careers. The 2016 Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 19% surge in new positions for dental assistants by 2026.

What is a dental assistant?

Dental assistants in Idaho work under the guidance of a dentist, and are responsible for carrying out a range of support duties that help in keeping the office working efficiently. The following checklist here shows the typical responsibilities that offices put on their assistants.

The steps to becoming a dental assistant in Idaho

The four-step process for becoming a dental assistant in Idaho is displayed below.

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

The first step towards a occupation you pursue really should be finishing your high school diploma. This is also the case when considering most jobs in medical care. While it is sometimes possible to secure some starting positions without at least a G.E.D., you will at some point find that opportunities for growth are limited.

When looking for a dental assistant certification program, you can expect to also find that almost all schools require trainees to have a G.E.D. or diploma prior to enrollment. For that reason, no matter your ultimate career goals, be sure that you finish this step.

Step 2: Locate a program accredited by CODA and register for training

Looking for a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)-accredited training program is the next step if you have decided to get certified. Dental assistant courses throughout the nation are governed by the CODA, who works to standardize training in the industry all-around the country.

What’s CODA accreditation?

Accreditation by the CODA is viewed as essential because only students from a course approved by this organization can take one of the national certification exams.

A look at online dental assistant programs

As is the situation with nearly all online education offerings, online dental assistant schools are a preferred option for college students who are balancing several commitments. In instances where a pupil may not live in close proximity to a campus-based program, these classes are likewise ideal.

Although it is quite possible to complete the academic portion of a program online, it’ll nevertheless be required to finish the internship section in-person at a specific site.

Step 3: Satisfy all required internship hours and graduate from the program

Once you have found an accredited program that satisfies your needs, the next step is to complete it. The classroom portion can often be completed in one year or less, but completing the necessary internship hours (occasionally called an “externship”) at a dental office can often take longer.

Most training courses devote the classroom section of their curriculum to the content that will be included in the national certification exams. With regards to the hands-on section of the course, this is when trainees get hands-on experience in a live dental office setting.

Step 4: Successfully pass either the NELDA or CDA examination

To earn a nationally-accepted dental assistant certification, you need to pass the NELDA or CDA exam. Once you have completed a CODA-approved course, you will become eligible to sit for either of them. College students who pass either examination earn the nationally-accepted distinction of Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).

Each of these tests are broken down in greater detail below.

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 one-hour, 50-minute examination is made of three component exams (the RHS, ICE and AMP). Right after passing the exam, the pupil gets the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) credential.

Becoming eligible to challenge the examination requires the student having the ability to satisfy either of the next two requirements:

    • Completed a CODA-approved dental assistant training program, or
    • Obtained equivalent work experience as a dental assistant

CDA Exam

Also sponsored by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), is the CDA also grants the nationally-regarded title Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) to students who get a passing score. This multiple-choice exam features 60 questions, offered in a timed format.

To be eligible to take this assessment, candidates have to meet the following requirements:

    • Graduated from a CODE-accredited dental assistant training program, or
    • Acquired equivalent work experience as a dental assistant

How much does a dental assistant make in Idaho?

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

Dental assistant compensation in Idaho differs to some extent from the nationwide median, as is shown in the table below.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.24$17.76$25.00
Lewiston, ID-WA MSAHourly$15.07$17.95$24.21
Boise City-Nampa, ID MSAHourly$12.94$17.62$23.37
Coeur d'Alene, ID MSAHourly$12.79$17.09$23.74
Idaho Falls, ID MSAHourly$12.69$16.52$19.06
Southwest Idaho BOSHourly$11.79$16.06$22.15
North Idaho BOSHourly$12.61$15.86$22.89
Pocatello, ID MSAHourly$10.21$15.42$19.47
Southcentral Idaho BOSHourly$12.45$14.98$21.39
East Idaho BOSHourly$9.90$14.61$19.77
Logan, UT-ID MSAHourly$8.65$13.10$18.08