The dental assistant in Louisiana is an entry-level medical field worker who aids the dentist with many everyday tasks in the office. A handful of assistants can find positions even when they aren’t certified, but this is definitely becoming rare since the vast majority of employers now choose to hire only people who are graduates of an accredited training course.

Because of record demand for new dental assistants in Louisiana, this career path is extremely popular for individuals looking for an entry-level position in the medical field. As a matter of fact, based on the most current data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 19% increase in dental assisting employment over the next 10 years.

What is a dental assistant?

The major responsibilities of the dental assistant in Louisiana revolve around the functions which help the office service its customers and provide basic dental care. The traditional duties held by the vast majority of dental assistants are noted here.

What is the procedure to become a dental assistant in Louisiana?

The four steps to become a dental assistant in Louisiana are detailed below.

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

The first step towards any career you pursue should be finishing your high school diploma. The same is the case when considering working in medical care. While it’s sometimes possible to find some starting positions without at least a G.E.D., you’ll eventually discover that your chances for growth are limited.

Where dental assistant training programs are concerned, you will also notice quickly that the majority of authorized programs require applicants to give proof of a high school diploma or G.E.D. prior to beginning classes. Put in the time to complete this first basic step, and you can prevent a tremendous number of barriers during your career.

Step 2: Register for courses accredited by the CODA

Choosing a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)-accredited program is the second step if you’ve decided to become certified. Dental assisting schools throughout the country are regulated by the CODA, who works to standardize instruction in the trade around the country.

Why CODA accreditation is important

Since only individuals who complete a training course approved by the CODA are immediately entitled to take one of the national certification exams, it really is imperative that you finish a program that’s approved by this body.

Dental assistant classes online

As is the case with most distance learning offerings, online dental assistant programs are a popular alternative for people who are balancing more than one obligations. In circumstances where a college student does not live near a school, these courses are also ideal.

To clear up a common misconception, even though online courses permit students to complete their classroom studies via online learning, the clinical, internship section of their education must be completed at a physical site.

Step 3: Graduate from training program and required hands-on training hours

Graduating from the accredited course you chose in the previous step will be your next order of business. Even though each course is a little different, it is fairly typical for pupils to finish their academic education and internship in as little as a year.

The academic portion of your training will most likely cover all of the principles and procedural-type content that is included in the certification test. With regards to the internship part of the course, this is when students get hands-on training in a live dental office environment.

Step 4: Pass one of the main national certification exams

The NELDA and CDA are exams that award nationally-accepted dental assisting credentials. You must finish a program approved by the CODA in order to be eligible to challenge one of these examinations. A passing grade on either examination will grant you the title Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).

We take a better look at these exams below.

National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA)

One of the primary nationwide exams is the National Entry Level Dental Assistant Exam (NELDA), which is a three-part test administered all over the nation. The test is administered in a timed structure, and is composed of three component exams (the RHS, ICE and AMP). Individuals who pass the examination gain the title National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA).

Becoming eligible to take the examination requires the individual having the ability to satisfy one of the following two criteria:

    • Completed a CODA-accredited dental assistant training course, or
    • Obtained 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 grants the nationally-recognized title Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) to students who get a passing mark. This multiple-choice test includes 60 questions, offered in a timed format.

In order to become eligible to take this exam, candidates have to meet one of the following prerequisites:

    • Finished a CODE-approved dental assistant training program, or
    • Acquired equivalent work experience as a dental assistant

Dental assistant pay in Louisiana

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

The following data table reflects how much this range varies based on the state you work in.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.24$17.76$25.00
Baton Rouge, LA MSAHourly$11.12$16.29$22.18
Shreveport-Bossier City, LA MSAHourly$8.87$15.94$21.60
Alexandria, LA MSAHourly$10.51$14.90$19.36
Lafayette, LA MSAHourly$10.28$13.93$19.22
New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA MSAHourly$10.52$13.76$18.00
Natchitoches BOSHourly$10.03$13.74$18.43
New Iberia BOSHourly$9.86$13.28$18.24
Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, LA MSAHourly$10.10$13.27$19.16
Lake Charles, LA MSAHourly$8.93$12.79$18.54
Winnsboro BOSHourly$9.61$12.48$19.51