The dental assistant in Oklahoma is an entry-level medical worker who supports the dentist in multiple everyday tasks around the office. While it’s possible for individuals with a high school diploma to learn this job by means of on-the-job training, most employers would rather employ people who have completed a 12-month dental assistant certification training program.

This position is a great one for those people who are beginning their careers in the medical field, due to the increasing demand for their services in Oklahoma. As a matter of fact, per the newest numbers available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 19% increase in dental assistant jobs over the next decade.

What do dental assistants do in Oklahoma?

Dental assistants in Oklahoma work under the supervision of a dentist, and are responsible for carrying out a number of support duties that help keep the office running smoothly. The typical responsibilities held by most dental assistants are noted here.

How to become a dental assistant in Oklahoma.

The four steps to becoming a dental assistant in Oklahoma are outlined below.

Step 1 – Earn your high school diploma or G.E.D.

Earning your high school diploma is a basic foundation to finding work in any professional job. Finding a job in the healthcare field is no exception. Even in the few cases when it is feasible to find a position without finishing high school, the positions usually do not offer much in terms of pay or opportunities for promotion.

While looking for a dental assistant certification program, you may find that almost all educators require students to hold a diploma or G.E.D. prior to registration. For that reason, no matter your professional goals, make sure that you finish this first step.

Step 2: Choose a program accredited by CODA and sign-up for classes

Searching for a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)-accredited course is the second step if you have chosen to become certified. The CODA is a nationally-recognized body that coordinates dental assisting education throughout the nation.

Why CODA accreditation matters

Accreditation by the CODA is considered imperative because only graduates from a program accredited by this organization may take either of the national certification exams.

Online dental assistant school

As is the situation with most online education offerings, online dental assistant schools are a desirable option for students who are juggling different responsibilities. In circumstances where a college student might not live in close proximity to a school, these classes are likewise ideal.

Even though it’s quite possible to finish the classroom part of a program online, it’ll still be necessary to finish the internship portion in-person at a specified location.

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

Once you have located an approved course that satisfies your goals, the next step is to complete it. The classroom and internship parts of the typical program may be finished in twelve months or less.

Most training programs devote the classroom section of their course of study to the content that will be covered in the national certification exams. The internship, however, will furnish you with the chance to put everything you learn into practice in a functioning, professional setting.

Step 4: Successfully pass the NELDA or CDA examination

In order to get a nationally-recognized dental assistant certification, you need to pass the NELDA or CDA test. Becoming eligible to take either of these exams requires you to initially graduate from a CODA-accredited training program. Pupils who pass either test receive the nationally-accepted title of Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).

Next is a short explanation of the two exams.

National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA)

One of the primary national examinations is the National Entry Level Dental Assistant Exam (NELDA), which is a three-part test administered all through the country. The one-hour, 50-minute exam is made of three component exams (the RHS, ICE and AMP). Right after passing the examination, the individual obtains the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) credential.

To become eligible to take this exam, a test taker needs to have either:

  • Graduated from a CODA-approved dental assistant training course, or
  • Acquired equivalent work experience as a dental assistant

CDA Exam

The CDA Exam is administered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), and additionally awards the credential of Certified Dental Assistant (CDA). This timed examination features 60 questions, presented in a timed format.

You need to be able to satisfy one of the following prerequisites before you can take the examination:

  • Completed a CODE-approved dental assistant program, or
  • Acquired equivalent work experience as a dental assistant

How much does a dental assistant make in Oklahoma?

Dental assistant salary fluctuates based upon several things, but the median pay was $37,630 in 2017 according to the current information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Dental assistant compensation in Oklahoma may differ to some extent from the nation’s median, as is displayed in the data table below.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.24$17.76$25.00
Northeastern Oklahoma BOSHourly$12.08$17.07$23.23
Lawton, OK MSAHourly$11.75$16.86$23.32
Tulsa, OK MSAHourly$11.43$16.86$23.02
Fort Smith, AR-OK MSAHourly$12.15$16.72$21.73
Oklahoma City, OK MSAHourly$12.34$16.41$22.36
Northwestern Oklahoma BOSHourly$12.43$15.26$23.50
Southeastern Oklahoma BOSHourly$12.42$15.08$18.98
Southwestern Oklahoma BOSHourly$12.43$14.62$21.29