Working at dental offices of all types, dental assistants in Mississippi work under the direction of the dentist to assure that routine dental procedures and administrative tasks are handled properly. Holding a certification might not be mandatory in every state, yet the current trend among businesses has been towards only hiring candidates who carry a certification.

This job is an attractive one for those who are launching their careers in healthcare, because of the increasing demand for their services in Mississippi. The 2016 Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 19% increase in new opportunities for dental assistants by 2026.

What does a dental assistant do in Mississippi?

For the most part, dental assistants in Mississippi take care of a wide range of day-to-day customer support and patient care tasks for the dentist. Though some employers might require further responsibilities, the following link shows the primary role of the majority of dental assistants.

How to become a dental assistant in Mississippi.

The process to become a dental assistant in Mississippi may be summarized in the following four actions.

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

The first step towards a occupation you pursue really should be finishing a high school diploma. This is the case when considering the majority of jobs in medicine and health. There are a few openings in the industry that can be held without completing a high school diploma, but they usually offer very little room for advancement.

On top of that, most dental assistant courses require students to be high school graduates or G.E.D. holders as part of their admissions prerequisites. That being said, if you’re thinking about working in healthcare, it’s always a smart idea to complete this worthwhile first step.

Step 2: Sign-up for courses approved by the CODA

Finding a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)-accredited course is the second step if you’ve chosen to get certified. Dental assistant schools around the country are governed by the CODA, who works to standardize instruction in the industry across the country.

The importance of CODA accreditation

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

Dental assistant classes online

A desirable alternative option to on-campus courses, dental assistant classes online provide pupils the flexibility to go to class and finish their education based on their personal schedules. In instances where a student might not live close to a campus-based class, these classes are likewise ideal.

Be advised, though, that online courses still require pupils to finish their hands-on training hours at a physical location affiliated with the program.

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

Completing the accredited course you chose in the previous step is your next order of business. The academic and internship parts of the typical program can oftentimes be finished in 12 months or less.

The majority of training programs dedicate the classroom section of their course of study to the material that is included in the national certification tests. With regards to the hands-on part of the training, this is when pupils get hands-on training in a functioning dental office environment.

Step 4: Successfully pass the NELDA or CDA test

The NELDA and CDA are the two exams that present nationally-recognized dental assisting credentials. You must finish a program approved by the CODA to be eligible to challenge either of these examinations. You’ll receive the national credential of Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) by passing either exam.

Let’s take a deeper look at these examinations below.

National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA)

Administered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), the National Entry Level Dental Assistant Exam, or NELDA as it’s referred to, is a three-part exam administered in every state. The test is provided in a timed layout, and consists of three component exams (the RHS, ICE and AMP). A passing mark on the examination gives the student the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) certification.

A candidate must be able to satisfy one of the following two prerequisites to challenge the examination:

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

CDA Exam

The other primary national certification test is the CDA, which is administered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). Students have one hour and 45 minutes to finish 60 multiple-choice problems.

To become eligible to take this assessment, individuals need to satisfy the following requirements:

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

How much does a dental assistant make in Mississippi?

Dental assistant compensation varies based on various things, but the median wage was $37,630 in 2017 according to the latest information reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Dental assistant salary in Mississippi may differ to some extent from the national average, as is shown in the table below.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.24$17.76$25.00
Memphis, TN-MS-AR MSAHourly$12.03$17.82$24.92
Northwest Mississippi BOSHourly$11.55$16.42$27.84
Jackson, MS MSAHourly$12.27$16.28$24.41
Gulfport-Biloxi, MS MSAHourly$12.76$16.24$19.36
Northeast Mississippi BOSHourly$11.42$14.67$20.27
Southeast Mississippi BOSHourly$9.47$12.91$17.94
Hattiesburg, MS MSAHourly$10.17$12.79$17.87
Southwest Mississippi BOSHourly$9.57$11.97$18.82