Becoming a dental assistant in Montana is pretty straight forward and easier than most think. We cover the steps from start to finish in our article below.

What does a dental assistant do in Montana?

For the most part, dental assistants in Montana handle a range of day-to-day customer service and patient care tasks for the dentist. The link here reflects the traditional assignments that offices place on their assistants.

The steps to becoming a dental assistant in Montana

The four-part process for becoming a dental assistant in Montana is shown below.

Step 1 – Get your high school diploma or GED

Getting your high school diploma is one of the important foundations to finding work in any type of skilled position. Working in the healthcare field is no different. There are a few openings in the industry that can be held without completing a high school diploma, but they generally have very little room for growth.

Step 2: Register for courses in MT that are accredited by the CODA

The next step in becoming a certified dental assistant is to register for classes that are approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). The CODA is a nationally-recognized body that coordinates dental assistant education around the nation. Considering that only individuals who graduate from a training course approved by the CODA are immediately eligible to take either of the national certification exams, it’s imperative that you attend a training program in MT that is recognized by this organization.

CODA Approved Dental Assisting Classes in Montana

Dental Assisting – Great Falls College – Montana State University
Montana
Great Falls College – Montana State University
College of Technology
2100 16th Avenue South – P.O. Box 6010
Great Falls
59405-6010
406-771-4351
www.gfcmsu.edu/webs/dh/index.html
Program Director: Ms. Robin Reed Williams
Discipline Code: DA
Accreditation Status: Approval without Reporting Requirements
Last Accreditation Visit: 2015
Next Accreditation Visit: 2022

Dental Assisting – Salish Kootenai College
Montana
Salish Kootenai College
Box 70
Pablo
59855
4062754907
Program Director: Ms. Jennifer Hoff
Discipline Code: DA
Accreditation Status: Approval with Reporting Requirements
Last Accreditation Visit: 2013
Next Accreditation Visit: 2020

Dental Hygiene – Great Falls College – Montana State University
Montana
Great Falls College – Montana State University
College of Technology
2100 16th Avenue South – P.O. Box 6010
Great Falls
59405-6010
406-771-4389
www.gfcmsu.edu/webs/dh/index.html
Program Director: Ms. Julie Barnwell
Discipline Code: DH
Accreditation Status: Approval without Reporting Requirements
Last Accreditation Visit: 2011
Next Accreditation Visit: 2018

Step 3: Finish program and necessary hands-on training hours

Once you’ve found an accredited program in MT that satisfies your requirements, the next thing is to finish it. The classroom and hands-on segments of the conventional program can often be finished in 12 months or less.

The academic segment of your training will most likely include all of the concepts and procedural-type information that will be a part of the certification test. Offering trainees hands-on practice in a real dental office, alternatively, is the emphasis of the internship section of a course.

Step 4: Pass the NELDA or CDA Certification Exam

In order to receive a nationally-recognized dental assistant certification, you will need to pass the NELDA or CDA exam. Eligibility to challenge either of these assessments requires you to initially graduate from a CODA-accredited training program. A passing grade on either examination will award you the title Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).

We take a deeper look at these exams here.

How much does a dental assistant make in Montana?

The data table below highlights the most recent data from bls.gov on dental assisting salary offered in Montana.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.24$17.76$25.00
Yearly$25,460 $36,940 $52,000
MontanaHourly$12.22$16.63$22.28
Yearly$25,420 $34,590 $46,350
Billings, MT MSAHourly$13.71$19.05$24.15
Yearly$28,520 $39,630 $50,220
Western Montana BOSHourly$11.47$16.94$21.39
Yearly$23,850 $35,240 $44,490
Central Montana BOSHourly$12.51$16.54$22.52
Yearly$26,020 $34,410 $46,840
Great Falls, MT MSAHourly$13.20$16.33$19.23
Yearly$27,460 $33,970 $40,000
Southwestern Montana BOSHourly$12.38$16.25$21.58
Yearly$25,740 $33,790 $44,880
Eastern Montana BOSHourly$10.54$15.74$21.40
Yearly$21,930 $32,730 $44,520
Missoula, MT MSAHourly$10.96$15.52$19.42
Yearly$22,790 $32,270 $40,400