How to Become a Dental Assistant in North Dakota

How to Become a Dental Assistant in North Dakota

The practice of dentistry in North Dakota is regulated by the North Dakota State Board of Dental Examiners.

The Board in North Dakota recognizes 3 types of dental assistants:

  • Dental Assistant – performs basic dental procedures under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist;
  • Qualified Dental Assistant (QDA)
  • Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)

Becoming a QDA or an RDA

In North Dakota, there is no special requirement to become a dental assistant.

All dental assistants must have and maintain a CPR certification.

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To become a qualified dental assistant, a person must:

  • pass 3 exams: the Dental Assistant National Board (DANB), the Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) and the Infection Control (ICE)
  • complete a dental assisting training of at least 650 hours, that includes on the job practice

If more than 2 years passed since the candidate passed the exams, they need to prove they accumulated at least 16 continuing education hours.

For the registered dental assistant certification, the candidate must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Get a passing score on the DANB’s Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam; or
  • Finish a dental assisting program in North Dakota that was accredited by CODA.

Candidates must complete at least 16 continuing education hours if they graduated from the program for more than a year before applying.

The QDAs and RDAs must pass the North Dakota jurisprudence examination as well.

In 2013, about 63% of dental assistants had a post-secondary certification in the field.

The salary will depend on the diploma a person has, as well as on other factors.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Grand Forks$32,929
West Fargo$35,372
Devils Lake$32,364

North Dakota Schools and Programs for Dental Assistants

The easiest way of becoming a QDA or an RDA is by graduating from a training program for dental assistants.

These programs usually last for under a year and a minimum of 650 hours.

Regardless of where they’re offered, they mostly cover the same content and include classroom education and on the job practice.

Some of the programs offer an associates degree though these ones are for those who want to become a dental hygienist who will perform more tasks than a dental assistant.

CODA is the sole accrediting body in the United States for dental assistant programs, and both the U.S. Department of Education and the American Dental Association recognize it.

There are training programs who are not CODA-accredited but may be recognized by the North Dakota State Board of Dental Examiners instead.

School NameAddress
North Dakota State College of Science800 N 6th St, Wahpeton, North Dakota 58076-0002


At the end of the training program, future QDAs and RDAs must pass a series of exams, for which they need to apply.

The application costs $130 and both the application and the fee must be sent to the North Dakota State Board of Dental Examiners.

The applications might take up to 10 days to process.

Once this stage is completed, the candidates must take the jurisprudence exam as well.

If more than 1 year passed since taking the CDA examination, candidates must submit proof of completing 16 hours of continued education.

This exam is for those who want to become registered dental assistants.

Another exam component of the CDA is the Chairside Assisting (CA) exam.

Future qualified dental assistants also need to pass the Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam and the Infection Control (ICE) exam, both offered by DANB.

If the individual wants to work in a different field, they will have to pass other tests specific to the chosen niche:

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

All the certifications must be renewed every year, but 30 continuing education credits need to be completed before the renewal process.

The best place to meet this requirement is at the DALE Foundation, which is affiliated with DANB.

Extra Information

Most of the jobs available for dental assistants are in the healthcare or social assistance settings, and less than 5% are found in a government setting.

Professional associations help their members find employment faster, especially if they just became certified and are complete beginners in the dental field.

USA Dental Assisting by State

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