Every dental practice needs a dental assistant.
They help with various day-to-day tasks, as well as keep the working environment fresh and clean.
The duties of a dental assistant vary depending on the state.
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How to Become a Dental Assistant in Indiana
There are 5,920 dental assistants employed in the state of Indiana.
The sole body that sets up rules and guidelines for these jobs is the Indiana State Board of Dentistry.
All of the education requirements and job specifics regarding basic dental assistants and dental assistants qualified in coronal polishing, or radiography, or application of medicaments for controlling or preventing dental caries, can be found on their official website.
The job of a dental assistant in Indiana is an entry-level one.
Individuals desiring to work as dental assistants can perform basic procedures, but only under the supervision of a dentist who has been licensed or a dental hygienist.
There are no certifications required, but most dental assistants prefer to get licensed, or completed some form of education.
This is because employers tend to prefer and pay more for qualified candidates.
Dental Assistants and Their Qualifications
When it comes to dental assistants qualified in radiography there are some requirements outlined by the Indiana State Department of Health.
According to them, dental assistants who wish to become qualified in radiography must receive an L.R.C. (Limited Radiography License).
After obtaining the license individuals will be allowed to perform dental radiographic functions.
The State Department of Health offers a program called Medical Radiology Services Program.
After successful completion of the programs, students will receive the Limited Radiography License.
There are two options for the candidates.
They can either complete a program in radiology that has been accredited by the CODA (Commission on Dental Accreditation) or follow the requirements listed below:
- Must complete an education program in radiology that has been approved by the Indiana State Department of Health
- Get a certification from a dental hygienist or licensed dentist in an approved program where it is clear that he or she has performed all of the procedures listed in the limited dental curriculum
- Pass any of these three exams – RHS (Radiation Health and Safety), CDA (Certified Dental Assistant) both approved by the DANB (Dental Assisting National Board) or an Indiana State Department of Health/Division of Medical Radiology Services approved the exam
- Submit an application to the Indiana State Department of Health/Division of Medical Radiology Services for a Limited Radiography License
There are also two options for dental assistants who desire to get a qualification in coronal polishing.
They can either graduate from an educational program accredited by the CODA and hold a certification of completion, or meet the following requirements:
- Must have working experience in a dental office for at least one year
- Complete an Indiana State Board of Dentistry approved the educational program
To do the latter individuals must complete a program that includes the following:
- Have two hours of work in the lab
- Have five hours of instruction meeting curriculum approved by the Board
- Perform polishing on at least five patients, under the supervision of a dental hygienist or dentist who has been licensed
- Have an affidavit signed from a licensed dentist that shows competency
There are two options for dental assistants who want to become qualified in applying medicaments, as well.
They have to be either a graduate from an educational program accredited by the CODA and display their certificate in a dental office, or meet the following criteria:
- Have two hours of work in the lab
- Have nine hours of instruction
- Have practical experience of treating at least five patients under the supervision of a dental hygienist or licensed dentist
- Possess an affidavit signed from a supervising dentist showing competency
Dental Assisting Programs in Indiana
Since CODA is the sole body that accredits and approves programs in the dental field, it is understandable that a lot of individuals prefer to enroll in their programs.
There are 11 dental assisting programs in the state of Indiana that are accredited by the CODA.
All of them result in Dental Assisting Certificates.
Some of the programs have Coronal Polishing and Caries Prevention in its courses.
This is a huge plus for candidates that desire to not only receive a CODA-accredited certification in dental assisting but a certification in Caries Prevention or Coronal Polishing, as well.
Courses that can be found in plans of dental assisting programs in Indiana may include the listed below:
- Clinical Science
- Dental Materials
- Dental Therapeutics
- Introduction to Dentistry
- Medical and Dental Emergencies
- Microbiology and Asepsis Techniques
- Oral Anatomy
- Oral Histology and Embryology
- Oral Pathology, Physiology, and Anatomy
- Practice Management, Ethics, and Jurisprudence
- Preventative Dentistry
National Certification Options in Indiana
Although national certificates are not necessary for the basic dental assistant, those who wish to become qualified in radiology must obtain a DANB certification.
There are four certifications offered by the DANB:
- CDA (Certified Dental Assistant)
- COA (Certified Orthodontic Assistant)
- CRFDA (Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant)
- CPFDA (Certified Preventative Functions Dental Assistant)
The most wanted certification is the CDA.
To achieve a CDA certification individuals must pass the CDA exam.
The exam itself consists of three other exams, that can be taken either together or separately, but within five months.
The three exams are:
To be admitted to the CDA exam candidates must check if they are eligible.
There are three options for eligibility:
- Option 1: Candidate must be a graduate from a CODA-accredited dental program and have a valid CPR certification (from a provider approved by the DANB)
- Option 2: Candidate must have a high school diploma, at least 3,500 hours of practical experience and a valid CPR certification (from a provider approved by the DANB)
- Option 3: Candidate must have a former CDA status, or be a graduate from DDS or DMD programs (accredited by the CODA), or be a graduate from a dental program from outside of Canada and the USA, as well as have a valid CPR certification (from a provider approved by the DANB)
After checking if they are eligible, individuals have to complete and an application and pay a fee.
The fee for the full CDA exam is 375 USD.
If the sub-exams are taken separately, they must be paid separately as well.
The GC is 200 USD, the RHS – 175 USD, and the ICE – 175 USD.
After candidates receive the Test Admission Notice from the DANB, they have to follow the instructions and schedule their time, date and location for the exam.
Exams for the CDA can be taken in Pearson VUE centers.
In Indiana Pearson VUE centers can be found in Indianapolis, Terre Haute, Merrillville, and Fort Wayne.
How Much Does a Dental Assistant in Indiana Earn?Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
|Fort Wayne, IN||$34,005|
|South Bend, IN||$34,008|