The steps involved to become a dental assistant in Pennsylvania is shown in our article below. We cover it all from picking the right school to certification for you.

What do dental assistants do in Pennsylvania?

Dental assistants in Pennsylvania work under the supervision of a dentist, and are given the task of completing a number of supporting functions that help in keeping the office operating smoothly. The subsequent lint features the basic assignments that offices put on their assistants.

The steps to becoming a dental assistant in PA

The four steps to become a dental assistant in Pennsylvania are shown below. Lets not waste anymore time and get started now.

Step 1 – Get your high school diploma or GED

The very first step towards any career you pursue really should be earning your high school diploma. When considering careers in the healthcare field, this is extremely true. And even in cases when it is feasible to secure a position without your high school diploma, the positions normally don’t offer much in the way of compensation or chances for advancement.

Step 2: Locate a program accredited by CODA and register for training in PA

If you’ve chosen to pursue your certification, the next thing is to register for a dental assistant training program that is approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). This body coordinates course curricula and guidelines assuring consistent high quality in nationwide dental assistant schools. Accreditation by the CODA is deemed essential due to the fact that only graduates from a course in PA approved by this body may take one of the national certification exams.

CODA Approved Dental Assisting Courses in PA

Dental Assisting – Harcum College
Harcum College
750 Montgomery Avenue
Bryn Mawr
Program Director: Ms. Dorothea Marie Cavallucci
Discipline Code: DA
Accreditation Status: Approval without Reporting Requirements
Last Accreditation Visit: 2012
Next Accreditation Visit: 2019

Dental Assisting – Harrisburg Area Community College
Harrisburg Area Community College
One HACC Drive-B232
Program Director: Ms. Dawn Clifford
Discipline Code: DA
Accreditation Status: Approval without Reporting Requirements
Last Accreditation Visit: 2013
Next Accreditation Visit: 2020

Dental Assisting – Manor College
Manor College
700 Fox Chase Road
215-885-2360 (x288)
Program Director: Ms. Jaime Simpson
Discipline Code: DA
Accreditation Status: Approval without Reporting Requirements
Last Accreditation Visit: 2017
Next Accreditation Visit: 2024

Dental Assisting – Luzerne County Community College
Luzerne County Community College
Dental Department
1333 South Prospect Street
Program Director: Ms. Rachel Grochowski Coffee
Discipline Code: DA
Accreditation Status: Discontinued
Last Accreditation Visit: 2011

Dental Assisting – Bradford School
Bradford School
Dental Assisting Program
125 West Station Square Drive
Suite 129
Program Director: Ms. Angela Wagner
Discipline Code: DA
Accreditation Status: Approval without Reporting Requirements (teach-out)
Last Accreditation Visit: 2016
Next Accreditation Visit: 2023

Dental Assisting – Westmoreland County Community College
Westmoreland County Community College
400 Armbrust Road
Program Director: Ms. Mary Kay Huesdash
Discipline Code: DA
Accreditation Status: Approval without Reporting Requirements
Last Accreditation Visit: 2015
Next Accreditation Visit: 2022

Step 3: Fulfill all necessary training hours and finish the PA DA program

Once you have found an approved program that meets your requirements, the next thing is to complete it. The classroom and internship segments of the conventional course can often be finished in a year or less.

The academic segment of your training will probably incorporate all of the principles and procedural-type stuff that is going to be a part of the certification assessment. Giving college students hands-on practice in a dental office, on the other hand, is the emphasis of the internship section of a course.

Step 4: Pass one of the main national certification exams

The NELDA and CDA are the two exams that award nationally-recognized dental assisting credentials. Eligibility to challenge these exams requires you to initially graduate from a CODA-accredited program. You will acquire the national credential of Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) by passing either test.

This link has a detailed explanation of the two examinations.

How much does a dental assistant make in Pennsylvania?

The data below is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and it features the most current numbers on salary available in Pennsylvania.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.24$17.76$25.00
Yearly$25,460 $36,940 $52,000
Yearly$23,420 $34,740 $50,450
Lancaster, PA MSAHourly$13.71$19.95$24.32
Yearly$28,510 $41,490 $50,580
Newark-Union, NJ-PA Metropolitan DivisionHourly$11.87$19.85$28.13
Yearly$24,690 $41,290 $58,510
Scranton--Wilkes-Barre, PA MSAHourly$13.68$17.46$25.92
Yearly$28,450 $36,320 $53,910
Reading, PA MSAHourly$12.97$17.04$25.77
Yearly$26,980 $35,450 $53,610
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ MSAHourly$10.19$17.03$23.31
Yearly$21,200 $35,410 $48,490
Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA MSAHourly$13.47$16.94$21.27
Yearly$28,010 $35,240 $44,250
Altoona, PA MSAHourly$10.82$16.90$22.90
Yearly$22,500 $35,160 $47,630
Far Western Pennsylvania BOSHourly$12.19$16.89$21.33
Yearly$25,360 $35,140 $44,360
Pittsburgh, PA MSAHourly$12.42$16.62$23.03
Yearly$25,830 $34,560 $47,900
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA MSAHourly$12.87$16.50$21.56
Yearly$26,770 $34,320 $44,840
Lebanon, PA MSAHourly$12.98$15.81$22.75
Yearly$26,990 $32,870 $47,320
Philadelphia, PA Metropolitan DivisionHourly$9.90$15.76$26.50
Yearly$20,600 $32,780 $55,110
Williamsport, PA MSAHourly$12.05$15.62$23.77
Yearly$25,050 $32,480 $49,440
York-Hanover, PA MSAHourly$11.52$15.56$23.46
Yearly$23,970 $32,350 $48,790
State College, PA MSAHourly$11.39$15.45$20.11
Yearly$23,680 $32,140 $41,820
Northeastern Pennsylvania BOSHourly$12.39$15.13$19.98
Yearly$25,780 $31,460 $41,550
Erie, PA MSAHourly$10.70$14.35$18.74
Yearly$22,250 $29,840 $38,990
West Central Pennsylvania BOSHourly$9.63$14.09$22.30
Yearly$20,030 $29,300 $46,370
Johnstown, PA MSAHourly$10.68$13.27$16.23
Yearly$22,200 $27,600 $33,760