How to Become a Dental Assistant in Idaho

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How to Become a Dental Assistant in Idaho

The job of a dental assistant is very responsible and challenging.

While dental assistants usually help the dentist with various tasks, their responsibilities may include some administrative work as well.

They are the glue that holds every dental practice together.

Dental Assistants in Idaho in Numbers

According to statistics shared by the U.S. Department of Labor the state of Idaho is one of three states with the highest numbers of dental assistants.

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For the year 2012 alone, there were 2,000 hired dental assistants.

This means that for every thousand jobs in Idaho there had been hired around 3 (3.35), dental assistants.

In Idaho Falls, the city where the highest employment ratio was recorded and is one of the three metropolitan areas in the USA with the highest concentration of assistants in the dental fields, there were 5.62 assistants hired for every thousand jobs.

The main body setting up rules and regulations in the dental field in the state is the Idaho State Board of Dentistry.

According to the Board, there are two types of dental assistants recognized in the state of Idaho.

These are basic dental assistants and dental assistants allowed to perform expanded functions.

A dental assistant is allowed to perform the following tasks under the supervision of a licensed dentist:

  • Record the oral cavity
  • Operating dental x-ray equipment
  • Performing dental radiographic procedures
  • Processing and exposing radiographs
  • Placing topical anesthetic agents
  • Fabricate night guards, temporary crowns, and appliances
  • Remove excess bonding material
  • Take impressions to perform preparation of diagnostic models
  • Bleaching trays
  • Recording diagnostic bite registration
  • Educate patients about oral hygiene
  • Placing and adjusting archwires, etc.

A dental assistant who can perform expanded functions is called Expanded Functions Dental Assistant.

He or she has to be qualified according to the rules and guidelines issued by the Board.

They are allowed to do the following functions:

  • Fabrication and placement of temporary crowns
  • Coronal polishing
  • Performing mechanical polishing of restorations
  • Initiate and regulate, as well as monitor the administration of nitrous oxide or oxygen to patients
  • Applicate pit and fissure sealants
  • Use high-speed handpiece for removal of cement/resin

Education for Dental Assistants in Idaho

In the state of Idaho, there are public programs, as well as proprietary ones.

Dental assistants can complete both dental assisting program and expanded functions one.

Currently, there are five proprietary programs in the state, as well as six public programs.

Dental assistants in Idaho can receive one of the following titles:

  • DA (Dental Assistant)
  • CDA (Certified Dental Assistant)
  • TC (Dental Assistant with Technical Certificate)

Numerous courses can be taken, including the following:

  • Community Dental Health
  • Dental Anatomy and Terminology
  • Dental Anatomy Embryology and Histology
  • Dental Assisting Theory I & II
  • Dental Head and Neck Anatomy
  • Dental Radiology
  • Dental Pharmacology
  • Fundamentals of Nutrition
  • Human Structure and Function
  • Introduction to Dental Hygiene
  • Legal and Ethical Issues
  • Medical Emergencies
  • Medical Terminology
  • Oral Pathology
  • Pain Control Methodology
  • Periodontics
  • Special Needs Patients
School Name Address
Carrington College-Boise 1122 N. Liberty St., Boise, Idaho 83704-8742
College of Eastern Idaho 1600 S 25th E, Idaho Falls, Idaho 83404-5788
College of Southern Idaho 315 Falls Ave., Twin Falls, Idaho 83301
College of Western Idaho 5500 East Opportunity Drive, Nampa, Idaho 83687
Milan Institute-Boise 9050 W. Overland Rd. Suite 200, Boise, Idaho 83709
Assist to Succeed Idaho Falls 885 Pancheri Dr, Idaho Falls, ID 83402
Mainspring Dental Training Center 1201 S Five Mile Rd suite b, Boise, ID 83709
Spokane Dental Assistant School 6817 N. Cedar Rd., Suite 201 Spokane, WA 99208
North Idaho College Workforce Training Center 525 Clearwater Loop, Post Falls, ID 83854
Idaho State University Continuing Education/Workforce Training 777 Memorial Dr # 101, Pocatello, ID 83201
South East Idaho Dental Assisting 711 Rigby Lake Dr., Unit 102, Rigby ID 83442
Boise State University 220 E Parkcenter Blvd Boise, ID 83706 US
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Although the state does not require dental assistants to be licensed or to achieve a certification, most individuals prefer to do so, because that gives them an advantage against the competition.

Employers prefer to hire licensed dental assistants and the pay rate is higher.

There are a few options for individuals who want to earn professional credentials, certificates, associate’s degrees, as well as training and certification approved by the Board.

To be allowed to perform some tasks, Expanded Functions Dental Assistants have to meet one of the following requirements:

  • Complete an expanded functions training course approved by the Idaho Board, via vocational school or college
  • Have a valid certificate after successful completion of a dental assistant program accredited by the DANB (Dental Assisting National Board)
  • Complete a curriculum approved by the Board in Fundamentals of Dental Assisting, via an online post-secondary course or program, or out-of-state one
  • Successful completion of a course in Fundamentals of Dental Assisting resulting in an exam in expanded functions taken with a percentage of 85 or higher
  • Complete a competency exam, approved by the Board, in expanded functions taken with a percentage of 85% or higher

After successful completion of the training, a certification will be issued from a public program or a proprietary one.

Upon receiving a certificate dental assistants are allowed to perform expanded duties in the state of Idaho.

Individuals who decided to complete a program outside the state and one that is not approved by the Board, have to give evidence for the completion of training.

Then, the Board has to decide if the training is valid according to the states’ requirements.

If the answer is yes, dental assistants with out-of-the state certification are allowed to perform expanded functions.

After training for expanded functions is completed, individuals have the right to work as any of the following:

  • Business office assistant
  • Chairside assistant
  • Sterilization assistant

Not only that, but they can pursue a career in the following:

  • Endodontics
  • General dentistry
  • Oral surgery
  • Orthodontics
  • Pediodontics
  • Periodontics
  • Public health dentistry

National Certification Options in Idaho

Individuals who decide to take and complete an expanded functions training approved by the Idaho Board have the option to pursue certification accredited by the DANB.

The DANB offers four certification options:

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

The most pursued certification is the CDA.

To receive it, individuals have to follow three steps.

The first one is to make sure they are eligible for it.

To be eligible one has to:

  • Be a graduate from a dental assisting/dental hygiene program accredited by the CODA (Commission on Dental Accreditation), as well as have a valid CPR certification from a DANB-approved provider.
  • Have a high school diploma or its equivalent with at least 3,500 of proved dental work experience, as well as a valid CPR certification from a DANB-approved provider.
  • Have a previous CDA status, through the DANB, or be a graduate from a DDS/DMD CODA-accredited program, or graduate from an out-of-the USA/Canada program, as well as have a valid CPR certification from a DANB-approved provider.

Step two is to complete and submit an application and pay a fee of 375 USD.

Step three is to receive a Test Admission Notice from the DANB.

The notice usually arrives within three to four weeks.

After receiving it individuals have to check if everything with their information is correct and call 1-800-367-3262 to schedule the exam date, time and location at a Pearson VUE test center.

Pearson VUE centers in Idaho can be found in Boise and Twin Falls.

This should happen within 60 days of receiving the notice.

The exam for the CDA includes three components:

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

The components can be taken separately, but have to all be completed in five years.

After the successful completion of the course, a certification will be issued and sent by the DANB.

These certifications have to be renewed annually.

How Much Does a Dental Assistant in Idaho Earn?

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Boise,ID $34,593
Caldwell,ID $34,191
Coeur D Alene,ID $35,876
Idaho Falls,ID $33,195
Meridian,ID $34,556
Nampa,ID $34,228
Pocatello,ID $31,683
Twin Falls,ID $31,938

Regional Salary in Idaho

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Boise City, ID1,290$39,580$19.03$47,060$31,020
Coeur d'Alene, ID240$41,140$19.78$54,100$31,320
Lewiston, ID-WA100$41,790$20.09$49,480$36,160
Pocatello, ID170$35,790$17.21$45,360$28,400
Twin Falls, ID150$37,550$18.05$45,780$29,630
* 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.

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