Dental assistants in Kansas are entry-level healthcare professionals who assist dentists with routine dental procedures and administrative tasks around the dentist’s office. Some assistants may become employed even if they aren’t certified, but this is becoming unusual since the vast majority of facilities now choose to employ just those candidates who have completed an accredited program.
The need for dental assistants in Kansas is projected to rise greatly in the coming years, which makes it a good option for those who are starting their careers. In fact, per the latest numbers available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there should be a 19% growth in dental assisting employment through the next 10 years.
What does a dental assistant do in Kansas?
Dental assistants in Kansas work under the supervision of a dentist, and are given the task of performing a range of support functions that help keep the office running efficiently. Although many employers can require additional tasks, the following checklist here the principal function of most dental assistants.
The steps to becoming a dental assistant in Kansas
The four-part process for becoming a dental assistant in Kansas is shown below.
Step 1 – Complete high school or get your G.E.D.
Earning your high school diploma is one of the important fundamentals to finding work in any professional position. Finding a job in the healthcare field is no different. And even in cases when it’s possible to secure employment without your high school diploma, the positions usually don’t offer much in terms of salary or chances for advancement.
When looking for a dental assistant certification program, you may also find that most schools require students to have a G.E.D. or diploma before enrollment. Put in the time to take this first step, and you can eliminate a large number of road blocks during your career.
Step 2: Register for courses accredited by the CODA
Finding a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)-accredited course is the next step if you’ve chosen to become certified. This body coordinates course curricula and guidelines to ensure standardized quality in national dental assisting programs.
The value of CODA accreditation
It is positively vital that you finish a training course accredited by the CODA, since only students who have finished an approved training program are permitted to sit for one of the national certification exams.
A look at online dental assistant programs
A desirable alternative to campus-based courses, online dental assistant programs supply college students the flexibility to go to class and finish their training per their own daily schedules. These classes are also perfect for individuals who don’t live near a school that provides dental assisting training.
Be advised, however, that online courses still call for pupils to finish their internship hours at a physical location associated with the program.
Step 3: Graduate from training program and necessary hands-on training hours
Once you’ve located an accredited program that satisfies your goals, the next thing is to finish it. Though every course is slightly different, it’s very typical for pupils to finish their academic training and internship in as little as one year.
The classroom section of your studies is likely to incorporate all of the theory and procedural-type content that is included in the certification test. Giving college students hands-on training in a real dental office, on the other hand, is the focus of the internship portion of a program.
Step 4: Pass one of the main national certification tests
To earn a nationally-accepted dental assistant certification, you will need to pass either the NELDA or CDA exam. Eligibility to challenge either of these examinations requires you to initially graduate from a CODA-accredited program. You’ll earn the national credential of Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) by passing either examination.
Let’s take a better look at these assessments 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 exam. The NELDA is composed of three component exams (the RHS, ICE and AMP) offered in a one-hour, 50-minute timed structure. Individuals who successfully pass the examination earn the title National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA).
To be approved to sit for this test, a test taker needs to have either:
- Completed a CODA-approved dental assistant program, or
- Acquired comparable on-the-job experience as a dental assistant
The CDA is sponsored by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), and also offers the credential of Certified Dental Assistant (CDA). There are 60 multiple-choice questions on this one-hour, 45-minute timed exam.
In order to be eligible to take this assessment, candidates need to satisfy one of the following requirements:
- Graduated from a CODE-approved dental assistant program, or
- Acquired equivalent on-the-job experience as a dental assistant
What is the typical dental assistant salary in Kansas?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for a dental assistant in the U.S. was $37,630 as of May 2017.
Dental assistant compensation in Kansas differs a bit from the national average, as is displayed in the data table below.
|Topeka, KS MSA||Hourly||$12.86||$18.61||$22.90|
|Kansas City, MO-KS MSA||Hourly||$10.20||$17.35||$25.16|
|Manhattan, KS MSA||Hourly||$12.97||$17.35||$24.93|
|Wichita, KS MSA||Hourly||$12.61||$17.01||$24.66|
|Lawrence, KS MSA||Hourly||$9.74||$16.21||$21.07|
|St. Joseph, MO-KS MSA||Hourly||$12.98||$15.98||$19.55|
|Southwest Kansas Balance of State Area||Hourly||$10.07||$15.54||$18.57|
|Southeast Kansas Balance of State Area||Hourly||$9.21||$14.70||$19.30|
|Northeast Kansas Balance of State Area||Hourly||$12.15||$14.67||$23.27|
|Northwest Kansas Balance of State Area||Hourly||$10.05||$14.21||$26.66|