Information for Texas Dental Assistant Certification Online
Dental assistant certification programs are designed to help prepare students for entry-level careers. Training programs in dental assisting are not required for aspiring dental assistants in Texas, but these programs can help prepare students for state-level certification exams that lead to the Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) credential. This credential allows dental assistants to operate x-ray equipment.
Dental assistant certification programs in Texas are available in completely online and blended formats. Several programs include a clinical externship portion to give students hands-on experience in the field. These certification programs may be set up as a course that takes anywhere from 16 to 100 hours of work or as a program that is completed over 36 weeks.
Requirements for Online Dental Assistant Certification Programs
Online dental assistant certification programs help teach students the administrative and clinical skills needed to help dentist offices continue to run smoothly. These assistants also work closely with dentists and dental hygienists to help patients improve their dental health.
Information and Requirements
Coursework for online dental assistant certification programs may cover a wide range of administrative tasks, such as patient charting and the maintenance of records, as well as skills needed to assist on various dental procedures. Specific course topics for these programs may include office procedures, dental materials, dental procedures, dental radiographs, dental equipment maintenance, infection control, and more. Some programs include a clinical externship that requires 40 to 180 hours of hands-on experience.
In addition to becoming eligible to take the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE) Dental Assisting Exam and become a Registered Dental Assistant, students who complete an online dental assistant certification program in Texas can qualify to take the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) - Infection Control Exam (ICE) and the DANB - Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam. Some programs also include training for CPR certification.
List of Online Dental Assistant Certification Programs in Texas
Texas is home to several schools that offer online dental assistant certification programs. Applicants to these programs typically need to have a high school diploma or GED.
Texarkana College offers an online dental assistant professional development certificate program that gives students access to instructional materials for 6 months. The course is self-paced and provides students with 24/7 mentoring, simulations, labs, interactive modules, and more. Students also have access to a career portal and are eligible for state and national certification exams after completion of the program. Students in the program must complete pre- and post-assessments.
University of Houston Downtown
The University of Houston Downtown provides a dental assistant program with a clinical externship opportunity. The curriculum can be completed with 100 hours of online coursework and 40 hours of the clinical externship. Students who complete the program are eligible for state and national exams.
Tarrant County College
Tarrant County College has an online RDA course that requires students to complete 16 hours of preparation before sitting for the TSBDE certification exam at the conclusion of the program. Students must pass the exam with a 70% or higher to earn the RDA credential, and they can retest online up to 2 times. The course covers topics in infection control, radiology, and more and can count as 1.6 continuing education units (CEUs).
Career Outlook for Dental Assistant Certification
Graduates of online dental assistant certification programs in Texas may choose to take the TSBDE exam and pursue careers as dental assistants in the state. Typically, dental assistants need to have a postsecondary nondegree award and pass an exam to meet state requirements; however, some states only require on-the-job training, such as Texas. These assistants' job duties may vary by state but could include scheduling appointments, preparing and sterilizing equipment, and assisting dentists during procedures.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, the job outlook for dental assistants from 2018 to 2028 is 11%, nationwide. This job outlook is much faster than average and is due in part to the growing need for dental work among the baby boomer population. The BLS also reported that as of 2019, the average annual salary of dental assistants in Texas was $38,630.
There are several online dental assistant certification programs available in Texas that, although not required, can help train students for a state certification exam in the field. These programs range in length and format but may include a clinical externship that must be completed in-person.