Dental assistants in New Jersey are entry-level medical workers who assist dentists with routine dental procedures and administrative tasks around the dentist’s office. Being certified isn’t required in every state, yet the recent trend among organizations has been in direction of only hiring individuals who carry a certification.

This position is a great one for individuals who are beginning their careers in healthcare, because of the escalating demand for their abilities in New Jersey. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016 report forecasts that the number of new positions for dental assistants will surge by 19% through 2026.

What do dental assistants do in New Jersey?

For the most part, dental assistants in New Jersey take care of a number of everyday customer service and patient care duties for the dentist. Although many managers may require even more tasks, the following link illustrates the job description of the majority of dental assistants.

The steps to becoming a dental assistant in New Jersey

The four steps to become a dental assistant in New Jersey are outlined below.

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

The very first step towards any position you pursue should be completing your high school diploma. Finding a career in the medical field is no exception. There are jobs in the industry that may be secured without a high school diploma, but they typically offer little room for growth.

On top of that, many dental assistant programs require applicants to be high school graduates or hold a G.E.D. in their admissions requirements. Put in the time to finish this first basic step, and you’ll eliminate a huge number of road blocks over your career.

Step 2: Register for classes accredited by the CODA

The second step in becoming a certified dental assistant is to sign-up for training courses that are recognized by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Dental assisting programs throughout the nation are regulated by the CODA, who operates to standardize instruction in the trade across the nation.

Why CODA accreditation is important

Because only students who finish a training course approved by the CODA are immediately entitled to challenge either of the national certification exams, it’s essential that you complete a training program that’s recognized by this body.

Online dental assistant school

As is the case with the majority of distance education offerings, online dental assistant programs are a preferred alternative for people who are balancing several commitments. For students who do not live around a school that features the classes they are looking for, online programs are also an attractive alternative.

Even though it is quite possible to finish the classroom part of a program online, it’ll still be required to complete the hands-on training portion in-person at a designated location.

Step 3: Finish course and necessary internship hours

After finding an approved program that meets your goals, the next step is to complete it. The academic portion can frequently be completed in 12 months or less, but completing the required hands-on training hours (sometimes called an “externship”) at an actual dental office can take more time.

The classroom portion of your coursework will probably cover all of the principles and procedural-type content that will be found in the certification exam. Allowing students hands-on training in a real dental office, alternatively, is the focus of the internship section of a program.

Step 4: Pass one of the main national certification exams

The NELDA and CDA are assessments that grant nationally-accepted dental assistant credentials. Becoming eligible to challenge either of these examinations requires you to initially graduate from a CODA-accredited training course. You will receive the national credential of Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) by passing either examination.

Each of these examinations are broken down in more detail below.

National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA)

One of the primary nationwide examinations is the National Entry Level Dental Assistant Exam (NELDA), which is a three-part exam administered all through the nation. The one-hour, 50-minute exam contains three component exams (the RHS, ICE and AMP). A passing score on the exam awards the pupil the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) credential.

In order to become permitted to sit for this assessment, a test taker needs to have either:

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

CDA Exam

The CDA is sponsored by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), and also grants the title of Certified Dental Assistant (CDA). This timed examination includes 60 questions, presented in a timed format.

Eligibility for this assessment also relies on the student having either:

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

How much does a dental assistant make in New Jersey?

The median annual dental assistant salary was $37,630 in May 2017 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Dental assistant compensation in New Jersey varies somewhat from the national median, as is shown in the data table below.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.24$17.76$25.00
New JerseyHourly$12.84$19.96$27.80
Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ MSAHourly$15.08$20.89$28.73
Camden, NJ Metropolitan DivisionHourly$13.15$20.75$23.95
Newark-Union, NJ-PA Metropolitan DivisionHourly$11.87$19.85$28.13
Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton, NJ MSAHourly$15.99$19.68$28.12
Ocean City, NJ MSAHourly$13.69$19.26$28.50
Wilmington, DE-MD-NJ Metropolitan DivisionHourly$11.20$18.38$23.94
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ MSAHourly$10.19$17.03$23.31
Trenton-Ewing, NJ MSAHourly$10.81$16.31$22.54