The dental assistant in Texas is a beginning health worker who aids the dentist with various day-to-day functions in the office. While it is actually possible for individuals who have graduated from high school to learn this career by means of on-the-job training, almost all hiring managers choose to employ applicants who have completed a one-year dental assistant certification training course.

This position is an attractive one for those people who are starting their careers in healthcare, because of the escalating need for their skills in Texas. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016 report projects that the number of new job opportunities for dental assistants will surge by 19% through the year 2026.

What is a dental assistant?

The primary responsibilities of the dental assistant in Texas center around the tasks that help the office take care of its clients and provide basic dental care. The following link features the standard assignments that offices put on their assistants.

The steps to becoming a dental assistant in Texas

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

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

Getting your high school diploma is a critical fundamental to finding work in any professional job. Finding a career in the medical field is no exception. Even in the few cases when it’s possible to gain employment without your high school diploma, the positions normally don’t offer much in terms of compensation or chances for growth.

Where dental assistant training courses are concerned, you’ll also notice quickly that most authorized training programs want students to give proof of at least a G.E.D. before starting classes. For that reason, if you are considering earning a living in healthcare, it’s always a smart idea to complete this crucial first step.

Step 2: Sign-up for a CODA-accredited training course

Looking for a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)-accredited program is the second step if you have chosen to become certified. The CODA is a nationally-regarded body that coordinates dental assistant coursework around the country.

Why CODA accreditation is important

Due to the fact that only students who complete a program accredited by the CODA are immediately entitled to challenge one of the national certification exams, it really is essential that you graduate from a program that’s accredited by this body.

Online dental assistant school

So as to better cater to individuals who work or have other responsibilities that make attending class challenging, a large number of schools are offering online pharmacy tech programs. In circumstances where a pupil may not live near a campus-based class, these classes are likewise ideal.

To clear up a common false impression, even though online classes permit students to finish their academic studies via distance learning, the clinical, hands-on section of their training needs to be completed at a physical site.

Step 3: Graduate from training program and required internship hours

Graduating from the accredited course you decided on in the previous step is going to be your next objective. Though each course is slightly different, it is fairly typical for pupils to finish their classroom education and internship in just 12 months.

The majority of training programs devote the classroom portion of their syllabus to the content that will be included in the national certification exams. In regards to the internship segment of the course, this is when trainees get hands-on training in a functioning dental office setting.

Step 4: Pass one of the national certification examinations

There are two highly-popular dental assistant certification exams – the NELDA and CDA. Becoming eligible to take these examinations requires you to initially finish a CODA-accredited program. You’ll receive the national credential of Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) by passing either examination.

Let’s take a closer look at these exams below.

National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA)

Offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), the National Entry Level Dental Assistant Exam, or NELDA as it’s referred to, is a three-part examination recognized in all 50 states. The one-hour, 50-minute assessment contains three component exams (the RHS, ICE and AMP). A passing grade on the test gives the pupil the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) credential.

Becoming eligible to take the exam requires the pupil being able to satisfy one of the next two requirements:

  • Completed a CODA-accredited dental assistant training program, or
  • Acquired equivalent work experience as a dental assistant

CDA Exam

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

In order to be eligible to challenge this examination, individuals have to meet the following requirements:

  • Completed a CODE-approved dental assistant course, or
  • Acquired comparable work experience as a dental assistant

Dental assistant pay in Texas

Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for a dental assistant in the United States was $37,630 as of May 2017.

Dental assistant pay in Texas varies to some extent from the nationwide average, as is shown in the table below.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.24$17.76$25.00
Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX MSAHourly$14.01$20.09$25.36
Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX Metropolitan DivisionHourly$12.52$18.19$24.49
Midland, TX MSAHourly$12.71$17.56$25.83
Central Texas BOSHourly$12.09$17.34$23.19
Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, TX MSAHourly$13.63$17.28$22.15
Eastern Texas BOSHourly$10.84$16.96$22.91
Longview, TX MSAHourly$12.78$16.84$24.97
Brownsville-Harlingen, TX MSAHourly$11.46$16.80$24.38
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX MSAHourly$12.45$16.77$23.19
Amarillo, TX MSAHourly$12.80$16.68$23.05
Corpus Christi, TX MSAHourly$12.69$16.62$24.25
Texarkana, TX-Texarkana, AR MSAHourly$11.64$16.62$19.00
Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metropolitan DivisionHourly$11.39$16.56$23.69
Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX MSAHourly$10.87$16.48$22.43
Sherman-Denison, TX MSAHourly$12.68$16.35$21.81
Gulf Coast Texas BOSHourly$11.02$16.16$19.82
Abilene, TX MSAHourly$11.99$16.05$19.48
Lubbock, TX MSAHourly$10.95$15.82$22.93
Tyler, TX MSAHourly$12.07$15.69$21.80
Odessa, TX MSAHourly$12.54$15.29$21.96
Wichita Falls, TX MSAHourly$10.82$15.20$21.62
College Station-Bryan, TX MSAHourly$9.46$15.09$19.91
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX MSAHourly$11.80$15.04$22.65
Waco, TX MSAHourly$12.74$14.96$18.63
Victoria, TX MSAHourly$10.86$14.90$19.48
San Angelo, TX MSAHourly$11.04$14.89$18.88
Laredo, TX MSAHourly$12.24$14.51$20.93
Northwestern Texas BOSHourly$11.58$14.50$25.99
Southern Texas BOSHourly$8.91$13.70$17.30
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX MSAHourly$9.43$13.34$22.52
El Paso, TX MSAHourly$9.95$13.14$18.83
North Central Texas BOSHourly$10.19$13.09$20.93