The dental assistant in Oregon is an entry-level health worker who helps the dentist with various daily tasks around the office. Even though it is actually possible for men and women with a high school diploma to prepare for this job through on-the-job training, the majority of organizations would rather hire people who have completed a 12-month dental assistant certification training program.

Due to unprecedented demand for new dental assistants in Oregon, this occupation is extremely popular with men and women who want an entry-level position in healthcare. The 2016 Occupational Outlook Handbook released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 19% surge in new positions for dental assistants by 2026.

What does a dental assistant do in Oregon?

The basic duties of the dental assistant in Oregon center around the tasks that help the office service its customers and provide basic dental care. Though many managers might require even more responsibilities, the following link shows the most common duties of most dental assistants.

How to become a dental assistant in Oregon.

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

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

The very first step towards whatever position you pursue should always be completing a high school diploma. Working in the healthcare field is no exception. And even in the few cases where it’s feasible to secure a position without your high school diploma, the jobs usually don’t offer much in terms of compensation or opportunities for growth.

While shopping for a dental assistant certification program, you will find that almost all educators require students to have a diploma or G.E.D. prior to registration. That being said, if you are considering earning a living in healthcare, it’s always a wise decision to complete this crucial first step.

Step 2: Sign-up for classes accredited by the CODA

Choosing a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)-accredited course is the next step if you have decided to get certified. The CODA is a nationally-respected organization that coordinates dental assisting coursework across the nation.

Why CODA accreditation matters

Accreditation by the CODA is deemed essential due to the fact that only students from a course recognized by this body may take one of the national certification exams.

Online dental assistant school

A desirable alternative option to on-campus courses, online dental assistant programs give pupils the opportunity to go to class and complete their studies based on their own daily schedules. These courses are also perfect for students who do not live in close proximity to an institution that provides dental assistant education.

While it is possible to finish the academic section of a program online, it will nevertheless be necessary to finish the internship portion in-person at a specified location.

Step 3: Graduate from the program and complete the necessary internship hours

Graduating from the approved program you decided on in the previous step is going to be your next objective. The academic and internship portions of the conventional program can oftentimes be finished in a year or less.

A lot of training classes dedicate the academic segment of their curriculum to the material that will be covered in the national certification assessments. Allowing students hands-on training in a real dental office, conversely, is the emphasis of the internship part of a program.

Step 4: Pass the NELDA or CDA Certification Exam

In order to earn a nationally-recognized dental assistant certification, you have to pass the NELDA or CDA exam. Becoming eligible to challenge either of these exams requires you to initially graduate from a CODA-accredited training program. You will receive the national credential of Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) by passing either examination.

Each of these exams are described in more detail here.

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 test. The NELDA is made of three component exams (the RHS, ICE and AMP) offered in a one-hour, 50-minute timed format. Right after passing the examination, the student receives the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) credential.

Eligibility to sit for the exam requires the student having the ability to meet one of the following two requirements:

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

CDA Exam

The other popular national certification examination is the CDA, which is sponsored by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). There are 60 multiple-choice problems on this one-hour, 45-minute timed assessment.

You have to be able to meet one of the following conditions so that you can can take the test:

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

Dental assistant pay in Oregon

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

Dental assistant salary in Oregon varies somewhat from the nationwide average, as is displayed in the table below.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.24$17.76$25.00
Bend, OR MSAHourly$16.79$21.63$27.09
Corvallis, OR MSAHourly$16.24$21.20$24.84
Medford, OR MSAHourly$16.16$21.00$23.84
Coastal Oregon BOSHourly$15.26$20.83$24.01
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA MSAHourly$13.99$20.76$27.65
Eugene-Springfield, OR MSAHourly$13.32$18.99$24.27
Salem, OR MSAHourly$13.15$18.44$23.95
Southern Oregon BOSHourly$14.76$18.28$24.50
Eastern Oregon BOSHourly$12.43$17.86$23.53
Linn County (BOS)Hourly$13.17$16.67$19.79