Dental assistants in Illinois are entry-level healthcare providers who assist dentists with routine dental procedures and administrative tasks around the dentist’s office. Being certified isn’t mandatory in every state, but the current trend among organizations has been towards just hiring people who carry a professional certification.

The demand for dental assistants in Illinois is projected to increase dramatically in the near future, so it’s a good option for those who are starting their careers. In fact, per the most current numbers provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there should be a 19% rise in dental assisting jobs during the next 10 years.

What does a dental assistant do in Illinois?

The primary responsibilities of the dental assistant in Illinois center around the duties that help the office provide services to its customers and provide basic dental care. While many employers might require even further responsibilities, the following link illustrates the primary role of the majority of dental assistants.

What is the process to become a dental assistant in Illinois?

The four-part procedure for becoming a dental assistant in Illinois is shown below.

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

Getting your high school diploma is a critical fundamental to finding work in any specialized position. This is also true when it comes to working in medicine and health. Although it is possible to find certain entry-level jobs without a diploma or G.E.D., you may eventually find that chances for growth are minimal.

On top of that, the majority of dental assistant training programs require students to be high school graduates or have a G.E.D. as part of their admissions prerequisites. So, regardless of your career goals, be sure that you take this first step.

Step 2: Register for classes accredited by the CODA

The second step in becoming eligible to work as a certified dental assistant is to sign-up for training courses that are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Dental assisting programs around the nation are regulated by the CODA, who operates to standardize education in the trade all-around the nation.

The value of CODA accreditation

It is positively imperative that you finish a program accredited by the CODA, given that only students who are graduates of an approved training program are eligible to sit for either of the national certification exams.

Online dental assistant school

A desirable alternative option to on-campus classes, dental assistant classes online supply college students the opportunity to go to class and finish their education per their own daily schedules. These classes are also well suited for people who do not live close to a school that offers dental assistant training.

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

Step 3: Finish the program and complete the required internship hours

Completing the approved course you decided on in the previous step is your next objective. Although every course is slightly different, it’s quite common for pupils to complete their classroom education and internship in as little as a year.

The academic portion of your coursework will likely incorporate all of the concepts and procedural-type information that will be contained in the certification assessment. The internship, in contrast, will supply you with the chance to put everything you learn into practice in a functioning, professional setting.

Step 4: Pass the NELDA or CDA Certification Exam

To earn a nationally-accepted dental assistant certification, you must pass the NELDA or CDA test. Once you have completed a CODA-accredited program, you’ll be able to challenge either one of them. A passing mark on either examination will grant you the distinction Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).

The following is a short description of the two tests.

National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA)

One of the primary nationwide examinations is the National Entry Level Dental Assistant Exam (NELDA), which is a three-part exam administered all over the nation. The assessment is provided in a timed layout, and is composed of three component exams (the RHS, ICE and AMP). A passing grade on the test gives the student the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) certification.

A candidate has to satisfy one of the following two criteria to be able to take the test:

    • Graduated from a CODA-approved dental assistant training program, or
    • Obtained equivalent on-the-job experience as a dental assistant

CDA Exam

Also sponsored by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), is the CDA Exam also awards the nationally-recognized title Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) to students who earn a passing score. Test takers get one hour and 45 minutes to complete 60 multiple-choice problems.

Eligibility for this examination additionally relies on the candidate having either:

    • Finished a CODE-accredited dental assistant training program, or
    • Gained comparable work experience as a dental assistant

Dental assistant pay in Illinois

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

The data table below reflects the latest numbers on salary available in Illinois.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.24$17.76$25.00
Springfield, IL MSAHourly$14.39$20.05$26.68
Peoria, IL MSAHourly$14.62$18.86$34.56
Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL Metropolitan DivisionHourly$11.87$18.65$24.25
Champaign-Urbana, IL MSAHourly$13.46$18.10$27.10
Lake County-Kenosha County, IL-WI Metropolitan DivisionHourly$12.49$18.10$24.02
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL MSAHourly$13.53$17.58$23.48
Rockford, IL MSAHourly$12.84$17.46$23.01
Decatur, IL MSAHourly$13.33$17.11$21.63
West Central Illinois BOSHourly$11.12$16.86$21.40
South Illinois BOSHourly$11.97$16.72$25.27
St. Louis, MO-IL MSAHourly$12.27$16.41$23.50
Northwest Illinois BOSHourly$11.73$16.10$19.72
East Central Illinois BOSHourly$12.45$15.80$23.19
Cape Girardeau-Jackson, MO-IL MSAHourly$10.65$14.70$19.48
Kankakee-Bradley, IL MSAHourly$10.73$14.46$32.61