Dental assistants in Missouri are entry-level medical professionals who assist dentists with routine dental procedures and administrative tasks around the dentist’s office. Even though it can be possible for those individuals who have graduated from high school to learn this career by means of on-the-job training, the majority of hiring managers choose to hire applicants who have completed a one-year dental assistant certification training course.

The need for dental assistants in Missouri is projected to increase sharply in the coming years, so it’s a good option for people who are launching their careers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016 report predicts that the number of new jobs for dental assistants will surge by 19% through the year 2026.

What do dental assistants do in Missouri?

The major responsibilities of the dental assistant in Missouri revolve around the activities which help the office service its customers and provide basic dental care. Although many managers can require even further responsibilities, the link here shows the main role of most dental assistants.

How to become a dental assistant in Missouri.

The certification process for becoming a dental assistant in Missouri may be summarized in the following four actions.

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

Regardless of the profession you choose to pursue, getting a high school diploma should always be considered the initial step. Finding a position in the medical field is no exception. And even in cases when it’s feasible to secure a position without a high school diploma, the positions often do not offer much in terms of compensation or chances for promotion.

If shopping for a dental assistant certification course, you can expect to also find that almost all educators require trainees to hold a diploma or G.E.D. prior to registration. Put in the time to complete this first basic step, and you can eliminate a tremendous number of obstacles over your career.

Step 2: Register for a CODA-approved training program

If you’ve chosen to get your professional certification, the next step is to sign-up for a dental assistant training program that is recognized by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Dental assisting courses around the nation are regulated by the CODA, who works to standardize training in the industry around the nation.

The value of CODA accreditation

It’s absolutely imperative that you complete a program accredited by the CODA, given that only students who are graduates of an approved training program are permitted to sit for either of the national certification exams.

Online dental assistant school

In order to better support students who work or have other obligations that make going to class challenging, many schools offer online pharmacy tech programs. In instances where a student might not live in close proximity to a school, these courses are also ideal.

Even though it is viable to finish the academic part of a program online, it’ll still be necessary to finish the internship section in-person at a specific location.

Step 3: Satisfy all necessary internship hours and graduate from the program

The third step will be to finish the accredited course you’ve chosen. The classroom and internship sections of the traditional program can oftentimes be finished in a year or less.

The classroom section of your coursework will probably cover all of the theory and procedural-type information that is a part of the certification assessment. Giving college students hands-on training in a real dental office, alternatively, is the emphasis of the internship part of a course.

Step 4: Successfully pass either the NELDA or CDA test

In order to get a nationally-recognized dental assistant certification, you will need to pass the NELDA or CDA exam. Once you’ve finished a CODA-accredited program, you will be eligible to take either of them. You will receive the national credential of Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) by passing either exam.

Below is a short breakdown of the two exams.

National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA)

The National Entry Level Dental Assistant Exam (NELDA) is administered 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. Upon passing the examination, the individual earns the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) credential.

Eligibility to challenge the exam requires the pupil having the ability to satisfy one of the following two requirements:

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

CDA Exam

The other primary national certification examination is the CDA, which is provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). Students get one hour and 45 minutes to finish 60 multiple-choice questions.

To be eligible to sit for this exam, candidates must meet the following criteria:

    • Graduated from a CODE-accredited dental assistant course, or
    • Gained comparable work experience as a dental assistant

How much does a dental assistant make in Missouri?

Dental assistant compensation differs based on various variables, but the median wage was $37,630 in 2017 according to the current information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The data below contains the latest numbers on salary offered in Missouri.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.24$17.76$25.00
Springfield, MO MSAHourly$13.25$17.98$23.35
Kansas City, MO-KS MSAHourly$10.20$17.35$25.16
Southwest Missouri BOSHourly$11.07$17.30$23.14
Joplin, MO MSAHourly$13.47$17.13$21.64
Jefferson City, MO MSAHourly$13.26$17.07$23.39
Columbia, MO MSAHourly$9.53$16.91$20.03
North Missouri BOSHourly$12.48$16.47$22.95
St. Louis, MO-IL MSAHourly$12.27$16.41$23.50
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO MSAHourly$10.37$16.36$22.95
St. Joseph, MO-KS MSAHourly$12.98$15.98$19.55
Southeast Missouri BOSHourly$10.39$15.73$25.68
Central Missouri (BOS)Hourly$12.79$15.31$18.49
Cape Girardeau-Jackson, MO-IL MSAHourly$10.65$14.70$19.48