Dental assistants in Virginia are entry-level healthcare professionals who help dentists with routine dental procedures and administrative tasks around the dentist’s office. Certification might not be mandatory in all 50 states, but the current trend among businesses has been in direction of only hiring men and women who hold a professional certification.

Thanks to record demand for new dental assistants in Virginia, this profession is quite sought after with men and women who want an entry-level position in the medical field. The 2016 Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 19% growth in new positions for dental assistants through 2026.

What do dental assistants do in Virginia?

The basic responsibilities of the dental assistant in Virginia focus on the activities which help the office service its customers and provide basic dental care. The subsequent link features the traditional responsibilities that offices put on their assistants.

How to become a dental assistant in Virginia.

The four-part procedure for becoming a dental assistant in Virginia is displayed below.

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

The first step towards whatever occupation you pursue really should be getting a high school diploma. When considering opportunities in the medical field, this is especially true. You can find positions in the field that may be held without completing a high school diploma, but they generally have very little room for growth.

Furthermore, the majority of dental assistant training programs call for applicants to be high school graduates or G.E.D. holders as part of their admissions prerequisites. Therefore, if you’re considering earning a living in healthcare, it’s always a wise decision to complete this worthwhile step.

Step 2: Register for classes approved by the CODA

If you have decided to earn your certification, the second step is to sign-up for a dental assistant training program that is recognized by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). The CODA is a nationally-regarded body that coordinates dental assistant training across the nation.

The value of CODA accreditation

It’s absolutely imperative that you finish a course accredited by the CODA, as only students who have finished an accredited training course are eligible to take either of the national certification exams.

Online dental assistant school

As is true with nearly all distance education offerings, online dental assistant schools are a desirable option for people who are juggling several commitments. These courses can also be well suited for students who don’t live close to an institution that provides dental assistant training.

Be conscious, though, that online programs still ask students to complete their hands-on training hours at a actual physical site associated with the school.

Step 3: Complete training course and required hands-on training hours

Once you have found an accredited program that meets your needs, the next thing is to finish it. Though every program is somewhat different, it is quite common for pupils to complete their academic training and internship in as little as 12 months.

A lot of training courses dedicate the classroom part of their syllabus to the subject matter that will be covered in the national certification assessments. Offering trainees hands-on practice in an actual dental office, conversely, is the focus of the internship section of a program.

Step 4: Successfully pass the NELDA or CDA examination

The NELDA and CDA are the two exams that award nationally-accepted dental assistant certifications. After you have finished a CODA-approved program, you will be eligible to sit for either one of them. A passing grade on either test will give you the distinction Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).

Here is a quick explanation of both examinations.

National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA)

One of the primary national tests is the National Entry Level Dental Assistant Exam (NELDA), which is a three-part test administered all through the nation. The NELDA is composed of three component exams (the RHS, ICE and AMP) given in a one-hour, 50-minute timed structure. Upon passing the test, the individual obtains the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) certification.

In order to become qualified to take this assessment, a candidate must have either:

CDA Exam

The CDA Exam is administered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), and also grants the credential of Certified Dental Assistant (CDA). There are 60 multiple-choice problems on this one-hour, 45-minute timed examination.

Eligibility for these examinations additionally is dependent upon the student having either:

  • Graduated from a CODE-approved dental assistant program, or
  • Obtained comparable on-the-job experience as a dental assistant

How much does a dental assistant make in Virginia?

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

Dental assistant pay in Virginia varies somewhat from the national average, as is shown in the data table below.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.24$17.76$25.00
Harrisonburg, VA MSAHourly$13.80$20.60$24.62
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan DivisionHourly$14.14$20.19$29.37
Charlottesville, VA MSAHourly$15.95$19.23$23.91
Richmond, VA MSAHourly$15.25$19.16$26.68
Lynchburg, VA MSAHourly$14.03$18.53$27.57
Roanoke, VA MSAHourly$12.78$18.25$23.51
Winchester, VA-WV MSAHourly$11.12$17.48$26.42
Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, VA MSAHourly$13.07$17.01$32.34
Northwestern Virginia BOSHourly$11.48$16.17$22.45
Southside Virginia BOSHourly$13.14$16.08$18.82
Northeastern Peninsulas BOSHourly$10.50$15.91$18.89
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSAHourly$12.47$15.60$22.58
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA MSAHourly$10.59$14.72$20.66
Southwestern Virginia BOSHourly$9.36$14.23$21.87