Dental assistants in Maine are entry-level medical professionals who help dentists with routine dental procedures and administrative tasks around the dentist’s office. Holding a certification isn’t required in every state, yet the recent tendency among hiring managers has been towards only hiring individuals who have a professional credential.

The demand for dental assistants in Maine is projected to increase greatly in the future, which makes it a great option for people who are launching their careers. The 2016 Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 19% growth in new jobs for dental assistants through 2026.

What does a dental assistant do in Maine?

Dental assistants in Maine are employed under the guidance of a dentist, and are responsible for performing a variety of supporting duties that assist in keeping the office working efficiently. The following link shows the typical assignments that offices place on their assistants.

The steps to becoming a dental assistant in Maine

The four-part procedure for becoming a dental assistant in Maine is reflected below.

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

No matter which career you decide to pursue, receiving a high school diploma should be considered the initial step. This is also the case when it comes to the majority of jobs in medical care. And even in cases where it is possible to gain a position without finishing high school, the jobs usually do not offer much in terms of compensation or opportunities for promotion.

While shopping for a dental assistant certification program, you will find that the majority of schools require students to have a G.E.D. or diploma prior to registration. Take the time to finish this first step, and you’ll eliminate a huge number of road blocks over your career.

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

Finding a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)-accredited course is the second step if you’ve chosen to become certified. This body coordinates course curricula and guidelines to ensure standardized high quality in nationwide dental assisting courses.

What is CODA accreditation?

Because only students who finish a program accredited by the CODA are immediately entitled to sit for one of the national certification exams, it’s crucial that you finish a program that is accredited by this body.

Dental assistant classes online

As is the case with the majority of online education offerings, online dental assistant schools are a preferred alternative for pupils who are juggling more than one obligations. For pupils who do not live near a school that offers the training they need, online programs are always an attractive option.

Even though it is viable to finish the classroom section of a program online, it will nevertheless be necessary to complete the internship component in-person at a specified site.

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

The third step is to finish the accredited course you’ve chosen. Though each course is slightly different, it is quite common for trainees to complete their academic education and internship in just twelve months.

The classroom portion of your training will probably cover all of the theory and procedural-type content that is found in the certification test. Offering trainees hands-on experience in a real dental office, on the other hand, is the focus of the internship portion of a course.

Step 4: Successfully pass the NELDA or CDA exam

The NELDA and CDA are the two exams that award nationally-recognized dental assistant credentials. After you have graduated from a CODA-approved course, you will be eligible to take either of them. A passing grade on either test will grant you the distinction Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).

Each of these exams are broken down in greater detail here.

National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA)

One of the primary nationwide tests is the National Entry Level Dental Assistant Exam (NELDA), which is a three-part examination administered throughout the country. The one-hour, 50-minute test includes three component exams (the RHS, ICE and AMP). Candidates who pass the test earn the distinction National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA).

Eligibility to sit for the test requires the pupil having the ability to meet one of the following two requirements:

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

CDA Exam

The other major national certification test is the CDA, and is provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). This multiple-choice assessment features 60 questions, provided in a timed format.

You have to have the ability to fulfill one of the following requirements so that you can can sit for the assessment:

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

What is the average dental assistant salary in Maine?

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

Dental assistant salary in Maine may differ a bit from the nationwide median, as is shown in the table below.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.24$17.76$25.00
Portsmouth, NH-ME Metropolitan NECTAHourly$16.07$21.58$27.33
Bangor, ME Metropolitan NECTAHourly$16.17$19.67$25.80
Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, ME Metropolitan NECTAHourly$13.22$18.98$29.26
Lewiston-Auburn, ME Metropolitan NECTAHourly$14.14$18.36$24.52
Southwest Maine BOSHourly$13.40$17.77$23.04
Northeast Maine BOSHourly$13.46$17.18$22.46