Dental assistants in South Dakota are entry-level medical field professionals who assist dentists with routine dental procedures and administrative tasks around the dentist’s office. Even though it’s possible for those individuals who have graduated from high school to prepare for this position by means of on-the-job training, most employers choose to hire people who have completed a one-year dental assistant certification course.

The need for dental assistants in South Dakota is forecasted to increase sharply in the future, which makes it an appealing option for all those who are starting their careers. In fact, according to the latest numbers available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 19% growth in dental assistant jobs through the next decade.

What do dental assistants do in South Dakota?

Dental assistants in South Dakota work under the guidance of a dentist, and are responsible for completing a number of support functions that help to keep the office running efficiently. The subsequent link displays the standard assignments that offices place on their assistants.

How to become a dental assistant in South Dakota.

The four-step procedure for becoming a dental assistant in South Dakota is shown below.

Step 1 – Get your high school diploma or GED

The very first step towards whatever position you pursue should always be earning your high school diploma. Working in the healthcare field is no exception. And even in the cases where it is feasible to find a position without finishing high school, the jobs usually do not offer much in pay or chances for promotion.

If shopping for a dental assistant certification course, you will find that almost all educators require students to hold a diploma or G.E.D. prior to enrollment. For that reason, whatever your professional goals, make sure that you complete this first step.

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

If you’ve chosen to earn your certification, the next move is to sign-up for a dental assistant training program that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). This body coordinates training curricula and guidelines assuring standardized high quality in national dental assistant schools.

The need for CODA accreditation

Considering that only trainees who finish a program approved by the CODA are immediately eligible to challenge one of the national certification exams, it is crucial that you complete a training program that is recognized by this body.

Online dental assistant school

As is true with the majority of online learning offerings, online dental assistant schools are a preferred option for students who are balancing more than one obligations. In circumstances where a student may not live in close proximity to a campus-based class, these courses are likewise ideal.

To clear up a common myth, while online classes permit students to undertake their classroom studies through online learning, the clinical, internship part of their education needs to be finished at a physical site.

Step 3: Fulfill all requisite internship hours and graduate from the program

After finding an approved program that meets your needs, the next thing is to finish it. Even though every program is a little different, it’s fairly typical for pupils to complete their academic education and internship in as little as a year.

The academic part of your studies will likely include all of the principles and procedural-type content that will be included in the certification assessment. In regards to the hands-on portion of the course, this is when pupils get hands-on experience in a live dental office setting.

Step 4: Successfully pass the NELDA or CDA examination

The NELDA and CDA are examinations that award nationally-accepted dental assistant certifications. After you have graduated from a CODA-approved course, you will be eligible to challenge either one of them. You’ll acquire the national credential of Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) by passing either test.

Both of these examinations are broken down in greater detail here.

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 over the nation. The NELDA contains three component exams (the RHS, ICE and AMP) administered in a one-hour, 50-minute timed structure. Students who pass the examination receive the distinction National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA).

A test taker must satisfy one of the following two prerequisites to be able to sit for the test:

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

CDA Exam

The other major national certification examination is the CDA, and is administered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). Students get one hour and 45 minutes to finish 60 multiple-choice problems.

In order to become eligible to challenge this assessment, candidates need to satisfy one of the following prerequisites:

  • Finished a CODE-approved dental assistant course, or
  • Gained equivalent on-the-job experience as a dental assistant

What is the typical dental assistant salary in South Dakota?

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

Dental assistant salary in South Dakota differs somewhat from the national average, as is shown in the data table below.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.24$17.76$25.00
South DakotaHourly$12.73$16.50$22.60
Sioux Falls, SD MSAHourly$13.47$18.22$25.82
Sioux City, IA-NE-SD MSAHourly$12.95$17.11$22.48
Rapid City, SD MSAHourly$12.50$16.24$20.56
Western South Dakota BOSHourly$10.51$16.03$22.67
Eastern South Dakota BOSHourly$12.95$15.35$19.74