The dental assistant in Michigan is an entry-level medical worker who aids the dentist with a number of daily tasks around the office. Holding a certification isn’t mandatory in all 50 states, but the recent tendency among businesses has been towards just employing candidates who carry a certification.

This job is a good one for those people who are starting their careers in healthcare, due to the escalating demand for their services in Michigan. The 2016 Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 19% surge in new opportunities for dental assistants through 2026.

What do dental assistants do in Michigan?

The primary responsibilities of the dental assistant in Michigan focus on the duties that help the office service its clients and provide basic dental care. The link here reflects the traditional responsibilities that offices place on their assistants.

How to become a dental assistant in Michigan.

The certification process for becoming a dental assistant in Michigan may be summed-up in the next four steps.

Step 1 – Complete your high school diploma or GED

Getting your high school diploma is one of the important foundations to becoming employed in any professional position. When it comes to opportunities in the healthcare field, this is particularly true. Even in the few cases where it is possible to find a position without finishing high school, the positions normally don’t offer much in pay or chances for promotion.

Where dental assistant training programs are concerned, you will also discover quickly that the majority of authorized programs ask applicants to give proof of a high school diploma or G.E.D. before starting classes. That being said, if you’re thinking about earning a living in medical care, it’s always a smart idea to accomplish this worthwhile first step.

Step 2: Sign-up for a CODA-accredited training program

Choosing a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)-accredited training program is the second step if you’ve decided to become certified. The CODA is a nationally-recognized body that coordinates dental assisting education throughout the country.

Why CODA accreditation matters

Accreditation by the CODA is deemed essential because only graduates from a school recognized by this body can take either of the national certification exams.

Dental assistant classes online

So as to better accommodate students who work or have other responsibilities that make going to class a challenge, many schools are offering pharmacy tech classes online. These classes may also be well suited for people who don’t live close to a school that offers dental assistant education.

To explain a common myth, although online classes let students to complete their classroom studies through online learning, the clinical, internship part of their education has to be completed at a physical location.

Step 3: Complete the program and complete the required internship hours

Completing the accredited program you selected in the previous step is going to be your next objective. Although each program is a little different, it is very common for trainees to finish their academic education and internship in just twelve months.

Most training programs dedicate the academic portion of their curriculum to the content that will be included in the national certification exams. The internship, in contrast, will give you the chance to put the things you learn into use in a live, professional environment.

Step 4: Successfully pass the NELDA or CDA examination

The NELDA and CDA are the two exams that award nationally-accepted dental assisting certifications. Becoming eligible to challenge either of these examinations requires you to initially finish a CODA-accredited program. A passing mark on either examination will give you the distinction Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).

Next is a brief description of both tests.

National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA)

The National Entry Level Dental Assistant Exam (NELDA) is offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), and is a three-part exam. The NELDA includes three component exams (the RHS, ICE and AMP) offered in a one-hour, 50-minute timed structure. After passing the exam, the pupil receives the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) credential.

A candidate has to be able to satisfy one of the following two criteria to be able to challenge the examination:

    • Completed a CODA-approved dental assistant program, or
    • Acquired comparable on-the-job experience as a dental assistant

CDA Exam

The second primary national certification examination is the CDA, which is sponsored by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). This timed exam features 60 questions, presented in a timed format.

Being eligible for this assessment further is dependent upon the student having either:

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

Dental assistant pay in Michigan

Dental assistant compensation may vary based on several variables, but the median pay was $37,630 in 2017 per the latest data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Dental assistant compensation in Michigan may differ a bit from the nationwide average, as is shown in the table below.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.24$17.76$25.00
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI MSAHourly$15.05$20.98$24.14
South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI MSAHourly$13.68$20.13$26.44
Bay City, MI MSAHourly$15.52$18.21$23.32
Upper Peninsula BOSHourly$12.63$18.21$23.81
Northwest Lower Peninsula BOSHourly$15.02$18.04$22.91
Jackson, MI MSAHourly$12.00$18.02$22.64
Lansing-East Lansing, MI MSAHourly$13.49$17.97$23.58
Battle Creek, MI MSAHourly$12.17$17.51$24.45
Kalamazoo-Portage, MI MSAHourly$13.48$17.42$22.97
Ann Arbor, MI MSAHourly$12.71$17.17$23.77
Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, MI Metropolitan DivisionHourly$10.17$17.15$23.97
Northeast Lower Peninsula BOSHourly$12.74$16.98$22.96
Monroe, MI MSAHourly$11.71$16.89$22.98
Niles-Benton Harbor, MI MSAHourly$13.09$16.79$22.14
Balance of Lower Peninsula BOSHourly$11.86$16.73$19.50
Muskegon-Norton Shores, MI MSAHourly$11.88$16.17$24.72
Flint, MI MSAHourly$12.00$15.77$21.31
Saginaw-Saginaw Township North, MI MSAHourly$10.64$14.95$19.29