Employed to work at dental offices of just about all types, dental assistants in North Carolina perform under the supervision of the dentist to assure that routine dental procedures and administrative tasks are taken care of. Some assistants can potentially find jobs even when they aren’t certified, but it is becoming uncommon as the majority of facilities now prefer to hire only candidates who are graduates of a formal training program.

The demand for dental assistants in North Carolina is projected to grow dramatically in the near future, so it’s an appealing option for people who are beginning their careers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016 report projects that the volume of new positions for dental assistants will grow by 19% by 2026.

What do dental assistants do in North Carolina?

The major duties of the dental assistant in North Carolina revolve around the tasks which help the office provide services to its customers and provide basic dental care. The traditional responsibilities performed by the majority of dental assistants are linked here.

What is the process to become a dental assistant in North Carolina?

The process to become a dental assistant in North Carolina may be summed-up in the following four actions.

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

The very first step towards a occupation you pursue really should be finishing a high school diploma. Finding a position in the healthcare field is no exception. Even in cases when it is feasible to gain a position without a high school diploma, the positions usually don’t offer much in salary or opportunities for advancement.

While looking for a dental assistant certification course, you will find that almost all educators require trainees to have a diploma or G.E.D. prior to enrollment. Put in the time to take this first step, and you’ll prevent a large number of road blocks during your career.

Step 2: Locate a program accredited by CODA and register for classes

Looking for a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)-accredited program is the next step if you have decided to become certified. Dental assistant programs across the nation are regulated by the CODA, who operates to standardize training in the trade around the nation.

The value of CODA accreditation

Because only students who finish a training program accredited by the CODA are immediately entitled to take one of the national certification exams, it’s essential that you finish a program that’s accredited by this organization.

Online dental assistant school

In order to better provide for pupils who have jobs or have other responsibilities that can make going to class challenging, a great number of schools are offering pharmacy tech classes online. In instances where a college student may not live in close proximity to a campus-based class, these classes are also ideal.

Be advised, however, that online courses still call for students to complete their internship hours at a actual physical site associated with the program.

Step 3: Satisfy all requisite internship hours and finish the program

After finding an approved program that meets your requirements, the next thing is to complete it. The classroom and internship parts of the conventional program can be finished in 12 months or less.

The classroom portion of your studies is likely to include all of the theory and procedural-type information that is going to be included in the certification test. Giving college students hands-on practice in a real dental office, on the other hand, is the emphasis of the internship section of a course.

Step 4: Successfully pass the NELDA or CDA test

There are two highly-popular dental assistant certification tests – the NELDA and CDA. After you’ve graduated from a CODA-approved course, you’ll be eligible to challenge either one of them. A passing mark on either exam will grant you the distinction Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).

Each of these tests are broken down in greater detail below.

National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA)

The National Entry Level Dental Assistant Exam (NELDA) is given by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), and is a three-part examination. The exam is administered in a timed structure, and includes three component exams (the RHS, ICE and AMP). Upon passing the test, the pupil earns the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) certification.

To become eligible to sit for this assessment, a test taker must have either:

    • Finished a CODA-approved dental assistant program, or
    • Acquired comparable work experience as a dental assistant

CDA Exam

Also sponsored by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), is the CDA Exam also awards the nationally-recognized title Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) to people who receive a passing score. Test takers have one hour and 45 minutes to finish 60 multiple-choice problems.

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

    • Completed a CODE-accredited dental assistant course, or
    • Gained comparable on-the-job experience as a dental assistant

Dental assistant pay in North Carolina

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

The following data exhibits the point that this range can vary depending on which state you choose to work in.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.24$17.76$25.00
North CarolinaHourly$14.09$19.17$25.57
Wilmington, NC MSAHourly$16.35$21.82$28.97
Raleigh-Cary, NC MSAHourly$15.77$21.38$27.85
Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC MSAHourly$15.22$20.31$25.15
Durham-Chapel Hill, NC MSAHourly$14.80$19.73$28.87
Winston-Salem, NC MSAHourly$14.48$19.20$24.43
Asheville, NC MSAHourly$15.60$18.81$23.54
Rocky Mount, NC MSAHourly$15.91$18.46$23.58
Greenville, NC MSAHourly$13.98$18.40$23.96
Western Central North Carolina BOSHourly$13.07$18.10$23.84
Greensboro-High Point, NC MSAHourly$14.30$17.96$24.45
Burlington, NC MSAHourly$15.36$17.88$23.34
Goldsboro, NC MSAHourly$15.15$17.86$23.14
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NCHourly$13.47$17.40$27.44
Fayetteville, NC MSAHourly$14.33$17.33$20.85
Jacksonville, NC MSAHourly$12.90$17.22$23.97
Western North Carolina BOSHourly$12.90$17.10$23.73
Northeastern North Carolina BOSHourly$12.40$17.02$24.76
Other North Carolina BOSHourly$13.12$16.71$23.79
Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC MSAHourly$11.54$16.32$22.62
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSAHourly$12.47$15.60$22.58