Licensing Requirements for Dental Assistants vary by state. In some states you don’t even have to be licensed, only show that you have completed a Dental Assistant course of on the job training. If your particular state offers a licensing option, it is to your advantage to obtain licensing as you will have a better chance of being hired over those who aren’t licensed. In general, you can also expect to be paid more than those who are qualified, yet not licensed. There are not Federal Guidelines in regards to Dental Assistant licensing. Everything takes place on the state level.
The Dental Assistant licensing exam is often referred to as DAT, short for Dental Admission Test. The test may be complied of basic information including tools used in dental offices, procedures, safety, and technology. Many states require you to complete procedures you will actually use in a dental office for an examiner. This will likely include showing your skills on safety and proper cleansing of tools.
Most Dental Assistant programs and on the job training programs are well aware of the licensing requirements in your state. The programs are customized to meet all those requirements and help prepare you for both the written and procedural portions of the exam. They can also assist you in finding out when the exam will be conducted in your area.
Regardless if licensing is required in your state or not, not employers require Dental Assistants to complete a background check prior to starting employment. This is for the safety and protection of the patients as well as the staff. If you have a criminal background, it may prevent you from being able to work as a Dental Assistant in some states. In others, you will only be barred if the crime was sexual in nature or violent in nature. Still yet, other states only prevent you from being hired as a Dental Assistant if you have a felony conviction in the past seven years.
If you think your background check will be a factor in gaining employment as a Dental Assistant, it is very important to check into the state requirements prior to enrolling in and completing a program. It is not advised to lie on your application either as almost all dentist offices will conduct a thorough background check on all individuals they are considering offering employment to.
Most Dental Assistant licenses are valid for a certain length of time. Generally three to five years. As your renewal comes due, you will be sent a questionnaire from your State Medical Board. It will ask you questions pertaining to your employment, about any convictions or pending issues that have taken place. Keep in mind that your Dental Assistant license can be revoked if the information you place on the renewal is found to be inaccurate or if you have been involved in criminal activity during the licensing period.
It is very important that you understand Dental Assistant licensing requirements vary greatly from state to state. Therefore, if you are planning to move to another state make sure you can transfer your license to that state. You will be able to if your license is in good standing and the State Dental Board is not investigating any complaints about you. The state you are transferring your license to must have the same level of requirements or less. It the new state requirements are more than you have, then you will need to obtain the missing skills or classes in order to obtain a license.
Licensing as a Dental Assistant can help you have an edge on the completion for that great job you want. It also implies to patients that you are qualified to be working in a dental office and meeting their dental needs. It can also increase your level of pay in some states where licensing is available but not required. You can obtain information about licensing exams in your area from the State Dental Board or you course instructor. The exam is generally written and procedural.