Dental assistants in Kentucky are entry-level medical providers who help dentists with routine dental procedures and administrative tasks around the dentist’s office. A handful of assistants may find jobs even when they aren’t certified, but this is becoming unusual since the vast majority of employers now would prefer to hire only those individuals who have completed a formal training program.

This job is an attractive one for those who are beginning their careers in healthcare, because of the skyrocketing need for their services in Kentucky. The 2016 Occupational Outlook Handbook released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 19% surge in new roles for dental assistants by 2026.

What does a dental assistant do in Kentucky?

Dental assistants in Kentucky work under the supervision of a dentist, and are given the task of carrying out a number of support functions that assist in keeping the office working efficiently. The basic responsibilities held by the vast majority of dental assistants are displayed here.

How to become a dental assistant in Kentucky.

The process for becoming a dental assistant in Kentucky can be summed-up in the next four actions.

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

Getting your high school diploma is a basic fundamental to becoming employed in any type of skilled position. Finding a position in the healthcare field is no exception. There are some jobs in the industry that can be held without completing a high school diploma, but they usually offer very little room for advancement.

Where dental assistant courses are concerned, you’re going to also find quickly that almost all accredited programs ask students to provide proof of at least a G.E.D. before beginning classes. That being said, if you are thinking about working in medical care, it’s always a smart idea to finish this crucial step.

Step 2: Locate a program accredited by CODA and sign-up for classes

If you’ve decided to get your certification, the next move is to enroll in a dental assistant training program that is recognized by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Dental assisting courses throughout the country are governed by the CODA, who works to standardize training in the trade across the nation.

What is CODA accreditation?

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

About online dental assistant programs

A desirable alternative to on-campus instruction, online dental assistant programs supply pupils the opportunity to go to class and complete their studies per their own daily schedules. For college students who don’t live near a physical campus that offers the courses they need, online courses are always an attractive alternative.

Be conscious, though, that online programs still call for pupils to complete their internship hours at a actual physical site associated with the program.

Step 3: Satisfy all required hands-on training hours and graduate from the program

The third step will be to graduate from the accredited program you’ve chosen. The classroom and hands-on portions of the traditional program can oftentimes be completed in twelve months or less.

The academic part of your coursework will probably cover all of the theory and procedural-type information that is a part of the certification test. The externship, on the other hand, will supply you with the chance to put everything you learn into use in a functioning, professional setting.

Step 4: Successfully pass either the NELDA or CDA test

To get a nationally-accepted dental assistant certification, you will need to pass either the NELDA or CDA exam. You must graduate from a course approved by the CODA in order to be eligible to take either of these tests. A passing mark on either exam will award you the distinction Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).

Each of these examinations are explained 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 exam. The examination is administered in a timed format, and consists of three component exams (the RHS, ICE and AMP). A passing mark on the exam gives the individual the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) credential.

In order to become eligible to take this exam, a candidate needs to have either:

    • Completed a CODA-accredited dental assistant training program, or
    • Acquired equivalent work experience as a dental assistant

CDA Exam

The CDA is sponsored by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), and additionally offers the credential of Certified Dental Assistant (CDA). Test takers get one hour and 45 minutes to complete 60 multiple-choice questions.

To become eligible to sit for this examination, candidates must satisfy one of the following requirements:

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

Dental assistant pay in Kentucky

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

Dental assistant salary in Kentucky may differ a bit from the nationwide average, as is displayed in the data table below.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.24$17.76$25.00
Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN MSAHourly$13.18$19.06$25.16
Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN MSAHourly$14.07$18.35$26.03
Evansville, IN-KY MSAHourly$13.69$18.34$24.15
Clarksville, TN-KY MSAHourly$11.37$17.03$23.21
Lexington-Fayette, KY MSAHourly$12.01$15.99$22.98
Bowling Green, KY MSAHourly$10.81$15.77$19.01
Owensboro, KY MSAHourly$11.87$15.22$19.19
West Central Kentucky BOSHourly$10.99$14.91$21.81
Elizabethtown, KY MSAHourly$11.10$14.89$19.16
East Kentucky BOSHourly$9.93$14.73$18.46
Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH MSAHourly$9.74$14.34$18.92
West Kentucky BOSHourly$8.95$13.12$18.90
South Central Kentucky BOSHourly$9.33$11.94$20.38