How to Become a Dental Assistant in Virginia

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How to Become a Dental Assistant in Virginia

Back in 2012, the Labor Market Information in Virginia counted 8,455 dental assistants working in the Commonwealth and foresaw a 37% increase in jobs in this field.

Dental assistants in Virginia don’t need a license but they do need to be registered with the Board of Dentistry in the state if they want to perform expanded functions.

Expanded functions can mean a higher salary.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Virginia Beach $36,111
Norfolk $35,567
Chesapeake $35,522
Arlington $41,804
Richmond $37,857
Newport News $35,386
Alexandria $41,804
Hampton $35,386
Roanoke $34,886
Portsmouth $35,567

There are 2 practice levels that the Board recognizes:

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  • Dental Assistant I (DA I)
  • Dental Assistant II (DA II)

Dental Assistant I

These assistants can perform basic procedures that are supervised by a licensed dentist.

They don’t have to undergo special training for this position.

Dental Assistant II

These assistants still need to be supervised by a dentist with a license, but they can perform more procedures than DA I.

Some of these tasks include:

  • Pulp capping procedures a
  • Apply base and cavity liners
  • Fabricate master casts and make final impressions
  • Place/remove non-epinephrine retraction cords
  • Place, finish and cure composite resin restoration handpieces
  • The duties of a DA I

There are some requirements an individual must meet in order to become a DA II:

  • Be a DANB Certified Dental Assistant;
  • Graduate from a Board-approved and CODA-accredited training program for expanded functions
  • Apply to the Board for a DA II registration, on the basis of education

CODA-Accredited Dental Assisting Programs

CODA is the main accrediting body for dental assistants in the US, with national recognition.

The programs accredited by CODA may result in either a certification or associate’s degree.

As such, the programs for certification last about 1 year, they include an internship and provide the students with all the knowledge they need in their future careers.

The associate or in some cases bachelor’s degree can be obtained in one of the following fields:

  • Dental hygiene
  • Healthcare administration
  • Business administration

DANB National Certification

The Dental Assisting National Board offers another nationally recognized certification, the CDA.

To obtain it, candidates must pass 3 different exams:

  • General Chairside Assisting
  • Infection Control
  • Radiation Health and Safety

To be able to take Xrays, dental assistants have to meet one of these requirements:

  • Complete a radiology training program that was accredited by CODA
  • Complete the DANB RHS Review course and pass the radiation exam
  • Earn the certification from American Registry of Radiologic Technologists
School Name Address
Centura College 7020 N Military Hwy, Norfolk, VA 23518
Dental Assisting Institute of Virginia 3600 Boulevard, Colonial Heights, VA 23834
Fortis College 2000 Westmoreland Street, Suite A, Richmond, Virginia 23230
Fortis College 6300 Center Dr Bldg 22, Norfolk, Virginia 23502-4101
Germanna Community College 2130 Germanna Hwy, Locust Grove, Virginia 22508-2102
Medical Careers Institute Commerce Plaza, 2809 Emerywood Pkwy, Suite #400, Richmond, VA 23294
Practical Dental Assisting 348 Southport Circle, Suite 102, Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Tidewater Community College 1700 College Crescent, Virginia Beach, VA 23453
Today’s Dentist Assisting School 7450 Richmond Road, Williamsburg, VA 23188
Virginia Highlands Community College 100 VHCC Drive, Abingdon, Virginia 24212-0828
Wytheville Community College 1000 E Main Street, Wytheville, Virginia 24382-3308

There are other certifications that dental assistants can obtain:

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

These credentials are obtained by passing between 2 and 4 exams that are administered through Pearson Vue.

All the credentials have to be renewed every year after the individual completes 30 credits of continuing education.

DALE is the best institution to help in this regard.

Registration Requirements

To register as a DA II, a candidate has to make sure they have these documents:

  • Form A: the Certification of Dental Assisting Education, that has to be completed by the institution where the education was received
  • Form B: This paper covers the duties of the position and is to be filled out by the employer
  • Form C: Certification of Authorization to Perform Expanded Duties as a Dental Assistant

All these documents along the application fee of $100 have to be sent to the Board of Virginia.

USA Dental Assisting by State

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