How to Become a Dental Assistant in Massachusetts

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How to Become a Dental Assistant in Massachusetts

Dental assistants are a very important part of every dental practice.

Their responsibilities may vary from basic to more complex ones.

Every state makes its regulations when it comes to dental assistants.

Every individual desiring to practice the job has to see the requirements needed to do so in the state he or she is wishing to work.

According to the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Dentistry a license is required for every dental assistant who wants to work in the state of Massachusetts.

The new rule is valid since October 2014.

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The state of Massachusetts recognizes four types of dental assistants, based on their duties, and training required to administer them.

These are OJT (On-the-job Trained Dental Assistant), FTDA (Formally Trained Dental Assistant), CDA (Certified Dental Assistant (by the DANB)), and EFDA (Expanded Function Dental Assistant).

How to Become an OJT in Massachusetts

The training that an OJT receives is indeed on-the-job, by a dentist that has been licensed.

The job of an OJT is an entry-level one and he or she must complete a CDC Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings course.

A license for on-the-job trained dental assistants is valid for six months.

During this period, they must complete a dental assisting program.

Their license can be extended until the program is completed.

How to Become an FTDA in Massachusetts

To become formally trained in dental assisting, individuals have to receive formal training in the state of Massachusetts.

This training should last at least a year and the program should be accredited by one of the organizations listed below:

There are currently eight programs accredited by the CODA in the state of Massachusetts in Brockton, Gardener, Haverhill, North Adams, Springfield, South Easton, and Worcester.

How to Become a DANB CDA in Massachusetts

To become CDAs, dental assistants must meet any of the following requirements:

  • Be a graduate from a dental assisting program accredited by the CODA, and have a valid CPR certification (from a provider approved by the DANB)
  • Have a GED or high school diploma, 3.500 hours of practical experience, as well as a valid CPR certification (from a provider approved by the DANB)
  • Have a former CDA from DANB, or DMA/DDS accredited by the CODA, or dental degree from another country, as well as a valid CPR certification (from a provider approved by the DANB)

After completing any of the listed above, individuals are qualified to take the CDA examination.

The exam consists of three components:

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

The GC exam is 90 minutes long and consists of 120 multiple-choice questions.

The ICE one is 75 minutes long and consists of 100 multiple-choice questions.

The RHS is also 75 minutes long and consists of 100 multiple-choice questions.

The exam is administered in Pearson VUE centers in Boston, Springfield, Waltham, Wellesley, and Worcester.

The DANB will send the official results in four weeks.

How to Become an EFDA in Massachusetts

To become EFDAs, candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a valid CDA certification from the DANB
  • Be a graduate from an accredited by the CODA dental assisting program
  • Have a completed formal training program in expanded functions accredited by the CODA

Radiography and Dental Assistants in Massachusetts

Only dental assistants who are trained in radiography may perform duties regarding it.

On-the-job dental assistants have to meet the requirements listed below, to perform radiography:

  • Complete a course in radiological safeguards and techniques
  • Pass the RHS exam by the DANB

After completing the listed above requirements, dental assistants will be able to take dental x-rays under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist.

FTDAs will have to complete a CODA-accredited course in radiological safeguards and techniques.

For CDAs from the DANB is easier, since the radiography safety and techniques course is a part of the CDA exam.

Therefore, CDAs are qualified to take dental x-rays under the supervision of a licensed dentist.

Also, they have to complete, if they haven’t already, and approved by the CODA curriculum in radiological safeguards and techniques.

The listed above about CDAs from the DANB is also valid for EFDAs.

Dental Assisting License for Dental Assistants in Massachusetts

The state of Massachusetts has regulation from October 2014, stating that every dental assisting who wants to practice his/her job has to become licensed.

To do so, individuals have to meet the examination, educational and experiential requirements.

Also, they must apply online for a license.

The application can be submitted as a hard copy, as well.

Along with the application, candidates must send the listed below things:

  • Fee for the license
  • Documentation of a completed BLS or CPR
  • Written and signed attestation from a physician assistant, doctor, or nurse practitioner, stating that the candidates are physically fit to practice dental assisting
  • Signed attestation stating that the candidate has read The Policy on Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct by the American Dental Assistants Association
  • If the applicant has a license from another jurisdiction it has to be applied
  • Passport-sized photo
  • Criminal record
  • Signed attestation of the candidates’ compliance with tax laws
  • Documentation for each level the dental assistant has accomplished

When it comes to OJT they must submit the following along with the listed above:

  • The name and license number of the dentist who supervised the candidate and did on-the-job training
  • Documentation proving that the candidate has completed a course in CDC Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings
  • Proof of completion of a course in radiological techniques and exam
  • If the candidate did the training in another language, a test in English language proficiency is required

FTDAs have to show proof of a certification from the DANB or transcript of a completed dental assisting program.

Also, if the candidate did the training in another language, a test in English language proficiency is required

Everything should be mailed to the following address:

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Health Professions Licensure Board of Registration in Dentistry,

239 Causeway St,

5th Floor, Suite 500,

Boston, MA 02114.

How Much Does a Dental Assistant in Massachusetts Earn?

Annual Salary Range:
$38K
$40K
$41K
10%
50%
90%
Annual Salary by Location:
LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Boston, MA$41,551
Cambridge, MA$41,551
Brockton, MA$39,560
New Bedford, MA$38,501
Worcester, MA$38,465
Springfield,MA$38,172
Lowell, MA$39,816
Quincy, MA$41,551
Fall River, MA$38,501
Lynn, MA$41,551

USA Dental Assisting by State


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One Comment
  1. Avatar for Mike Mike

    If I am a foreign-trained dentist (general dentist and orthodontist) that has practiced in another country, do I still have to take a course?

    Or is there a test I can take to bypass taking a full course?

    Or do they accept my diploma/certifications in another country as enough?

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