Working at dental offices of nearly all kinds, dental assistants in Maryland work under the direction of the dentist to assure that routine dental procedures and administrative tasks are handled properly. Even though it is possible for individuals with a high school diploma to learn this career through on-the-job training, most organizations choose to employ people who have completed a one-year dental assistant certification training course.

This position is a good one for individuals who are starting their careers in the medical field, due to the skyrocketing need for their services in Maryland. The 2016 Occupational Outlook Handbook released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 19% growth in new roles for dental assistants by 2026.

What do dental assistants do in Maryland?

In general, dental assistants in Maryland manage a range of daily customer support and patient care responsibilities for the dentist. The following link displays the common responsibilities that offices place on their assistants.

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

The four steps to becoming a dental assistant in Maryland are detailed below.

Step 1 – Complete your high school diploma or GED

The first step towards whatever position you pursue should be finishing your high school diploma. When it comes to occupations in the healthcare industry, this is extremely true. While it is possible to secure certain starting jobs without a diploma or G.E.D., you may sooner or later discover that chances for promotion are limited.

While looking for a dental assistant certification class, you can expect to find that the majority of programs require students to hold a diploma or G.E.D. prior to enrollment. Take the time to finish this first step, and you can eliminate a tremendous number of barriers during your career.

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

Finding a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)-accredited training program is the next step if you have decided to become certified. Dental assisting schools across the nation are governed by the CODA, who operates to standardize training in the trade across the country.

The importance of CODA accreditation

Accreditation by the CODA is viewed as essential due to the fact that only students from a program approved by this body can take either of the national certification exams.

Online dental assistant school

As is the case with the majority of distance education offerings, online dental assistant programs are a desirable alternative for pupils who are balancing multiple responsibilities. In instances where a person does not live close to a campus-based program, these courses are also ideal.

Although it is viable to complete the classroom portion of a course online, it will still be necessary to finish the hands-on training component in-person at a specific location.

Step 3: Complete training program and required hands-on training hours

The next step will be to complete the accredited course you’ve selected. The academic section can often be finished in one year or less, but finishing the mandatory internship hours (often referred to as an “externship”) at a dental office may possibly take more time.

The academic segment of your coursework will likely cover all of the concepts and procedural-type content that is going to be found in the certification exam. With regards to the internship segment of the course, this is when trainees get hands-on training in a functioning dental office environment.

Step 4: Successfully pass either the NELDA or CDA test

There are two highly-popular dental assistant certification exams – the NELDA and CDA. Eligibility to sit for either of these examinations calls for you to first graduate from a CODA-accredited training program. Pupils who pass either assessment receive the nationally-recognized title of 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 recognized all through the nation. The NELDA contains three component exams (the RHS, ICE and AMP) given in a one-hour, 50-minute timed structure. A passing grade on the examination awards the individual the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) credential.

In order to become permitted to challenge this exam, a candidate must have either:

    • Graduated from a CODA-approved dental assistant program, or
    • Obtained comparable work experience as a dental assistant

CDA Exam

Also sponsored by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), is the CDA Exam additionally awards the nationally-regarded title Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) to individuals who get a passing mark. There are 60 multiple-choice questions on this one-hour, 45-minute timed test.

In order to be eligible to sit for this examination, candidates have to satisfy one of the following prerequisites:

    • Finished a CODE-accredited dental assistant training program, or
    • Acquired equivalent on-the-job experience as a dental assistant

How much does a dental assistant make in Maryland?

Dental assistant compensation may differ according to several things, but the median pay was $37,630 in 2017 according to the current data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The following data exhibits that this range can differ according to which state you choose to work in.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.24$17.76$25.00
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan DivisionHourly$14.14$20.19$29.37
Baltimore-Towson, MD MSAHourly$11.35$19.16$25.20
Wilmington, DE-MD-NJ Metropolitan DivisionHourly$11.20$18.38$23.94
Salisbury, MD MSAHourly$13.30$18.15$30.55
Cumberland, MD-WV MSAHourly$10.96$16.95$28.50
Upper Eastern Shore BOSHourly$12.51$16.95$26.74
Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV MSAHourly$12.07$15.94$23.21