How to Become a Dental Assistant in Hawaii

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How to Become a Dental Assistant in Hawaii

The words dental assistant might sound confusing to some people.

This job is one of the most searched in the dental field.

But what does a dental assistant do?

Their duties include, but are not limited to greeting patients and keeping their information a secret, ensuring a safe and clean environment, and performing some basic duties.

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The responsibilities of dental assistants vary depending on the state they are working in.

Dental Assistants in Hawaii in Numbers

A statistics shared by the Hawaii Workforce Employment Projections read that there were 1,690 dental assistants employed in the state in the year 2012.

It is expected this number to grow by the year 2022 reaching 1,790 individuals.

With a percentage of 5.7, there will be around 50 dental assistants hired every year for the period between 2012 and 2022.

How to Become a Dental Assistant in Hawaii?

The single body is responsible for establishing training standards and procedures in the State of Hawaii Board of Dental Examiners.

The Board does not require certain licensure from dental assistants, but have its guidelines when it comes to their job description.

According to the Board dental assistants in the state of Hawaii have to know the following procedures:

  • Ethics
  • How to properly keep records
  • How to maintain patients’ confidential information safe
  • Disinfection and sterilization procedures
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

Unlike some other states, in Hawaii dental assistants do not need certification in radiography to operate x-ray or radiographic equipment.

Certification Options in the State of Hawaii

Although no additional education is required, some dental assistants want to further their careers and become certified.

Not only, it is preferred by employers but it gives candidates an edge over the competition.

The CODA (Commission on Dental Accreditation) is accrediting such programs.

There are two dental assisting programs in the state of Hawaii at the moment.

Both of them are CODA-accredited.

They offer programs for an associate degree such as Applied Science in Dental Assisting, and a Health Certificate again in Dental Assisting.

Individuals will learn a lot throughout the program with courses such as the following:

  • Oral Biology
  • Dental Office Management
  • Chairside Dental Assisting
  • Orientation to Dental Assisting
  • Dental Materials
  • Dental Radiography

After obtaining a degree, individuals may pursue a job position such as:

  • Dental Receptionist
  • Dental Supply Salesperson
  • Dental Insurance Specialist
  • Chairside Assistant

To perform some expanded duties, dental assistants must complete certain training.

The training can be done by a licensed dentist.

If an assistant wants to undergo training he or she has to meet some requirements:

  • CDC (Center for Disease Control) prevention guidelines
  • ADA (American Dental Association) prevention guidelines
  • OSHA and HIOSH (Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health) blood born pathogen standards

If individuals complete the training according to the guidelines and requirements of the Board, they can perform some expanded duties under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist.

These duties are as follows, but are not limited to:

  • Assistance with dental hygienist duties
  • Collecting dental and medical histories
  • Reporting observations
  • Conducting mouth mirror inspections
  • Measuring vital sins
  • Recording vital signs
  • Taking extra-oral and intra-oral photographs
  • Exposing, labeling, processing, and mounting radiographs
  • Giving pre-operative and post-operative instructions
  • Educate patients in oral hygiene
  • Making impressions
  • Removal of sutures and dressing
  • Making intra-oral measurements

Two other organizations offer education for dental assistants and are approved by the Hawaii Board of Dental Examiners.

They are the ADACERP (American Dental Association Continuing Education Recognition Program)  and AGDPACE (Academy of General Dentistry Program Approval for Continuing Education).

Don’ts of a Dental Assistant in Hawaii

Dental assistants in the state of Hawaii are not allowed to perform the following duties:

  • Using ultrasonic instruments
  • Placement of materials subgingivally
  • Endodontic procedures
  • Cementing finishing margins, brackets and bands
  • Some actions such as placing, carving, finishing, condensing and adjusting of final restorations
  • Making impressions (final)
  • Testing pulp vitality
  • Administration of local anesthetic
  • Establishment of occlusal vertical dimension
  • Making bite registrations
  • Face-bow transfers

Other Certification Options in Hawaii

National certification is offered through the DANB (Dental Assisting National Board).

According to a statistic shared by the DANB dental assistants with CDA earn with around 2 USD more than the ones without a certification.

Not only that, but certified dental assistants receive other social benefits, such as:

  • 53% – free dental care
  • 57% – major medical insurance
  • 61% – 401(k)
  • 61% – paid sick leave
  • 82% – paid holidays
  • 85% – paid vacations

It is a plus for assistants in the dental field to receive a certification, because employers prefer individuals with solid knowledge and skills.

The DANB offers four national certifications:

  • COA (Certified Orthodontic Assistant)
  • CDA (Certified Dental Assistant)
  • CPFDA (Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant)
  • CRFDA (Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant)

The basic certification that is preferred by most dental assistants is the CDA.

In order to receive a certification in CDA, individual must pass an examination.

It consists of three components:

  • ICE (Infection Control)
  • RHS (Radiation Health and Safety)
  • GC (General Chairside Assisting Exam)

For more convenience, these component exams can be taken separately.

The only condition is for them to be taken within 5 months from each other.

Individuals must check if they are eligible for the examination.

After that, they have to complete and submit an application, along with a payment of 375 USD.

Lastly, they have to schedule a date, time and location for the exam.

Exams are held in the only Pearson VUE testing center in the state of Hawaii.

The address of the center is:

1441 Kapiolani Blvd, Suite 204

Honolulu, Hawaii 96814

United States

Within three to four weeks after submission, the DANB will send a Test Admission Notice to the participant.

In the notice, individuals will find the steps they need to take to schedule an appointment for the exam.

After successful completion of the exam dental assistants will receive their certification.

These certifications are valid for a year and have to be renewed annually.

How Much Does a Dental Assistant in Hawaii Earn?

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Ewa Beach,HI $38,012
Hilo,HI $37,757
Honolulu,HI $38,012
Kahului,HI $37,757
Kaneohe,HI $38,012
Pearl City,HI $38,012
Waipahu,HI $37,995

Regional Salary in Hawaii

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI190$41,870$20.13$59,900$31,300
Urban Honolulu, HI1,190$38,860$18.68$47,050$28,580
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Dental Assistants, OCC Code 31-9091, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Schools Offering Dental Assisting Programs in Hawaii

School Name Address
Kapiolani Community College 4303 Diamond Head Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96816-4421
HDAA Hawaii Dental Assisting Academy 1425 Dillingham Blvd Ste 301, Honolulu, HI 96817
Hawaii School of Dental Arts 1441 Kapiolani Blvd # 905, Honolulu, HI 96814
Hawaii Community College, Office of Continuing Education & Training 1175 Manono St Hilo, HI 96720 US
Dental Technology Center of Hawaii 1314 S. King St., Suite 864 Honolulu, HI 96814
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