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Program Courses Overview

Getting Started / Getting an X-Ray License CDA Certificate Courses RDA Courses

Dental instrumentsDental Assistant Services provides a variety of courses designed to help you obtain and maintain your dental assisting credentials.  Below is a brief description of our program courses.  The course information below is not complete, but simply a summary.  Clicking on the name of the course will provide a more detailed course description.  If you prefer you can also: 

Typical Course Sequence

This chart displays the usual order that students will take our courses and the order in which they obtain their credentials.  For a more detailed overview, please click here.

Credential/License: Courses:
N/A 1. Introductory Dental Assisting None
Dental X-Ray License (LDRT)
2. Dental Radiology
Radiation Health & Safety (RHS  [DANB Disclaimer])
Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) Certificate  [DANB Disclaimer]
3. Review of Radiation Health & Safety*
4. Infection Control
5. General Chairside
Radiation Health & Safety (RHS  [DANB Disclaimer])
Infection Control
General Chairside
Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)
6. Expanded Functions
Expanded Functions

*If you obtained your dental x-ray license in NJ you will most likely not have to take the Review of Radiation Health & Safety course in order to obtain a CDA  [DANB Disclaimer]certificate.

Getting Started

Introductory Dental Assisting

The Introductory Dental Assisting course is designed for the student with little to no experience or knowledge about the dental field.  It is highly recommended that you take this course first.  Class sizes are limited to a maximum of only three students to ensure that you get ample time for asking questions and personal attention.  Students will learn about basic dental assisting terminology, procedures, and materials.  Hands on practice opportunities are also provided.  Click on the course title for more information.

Dental Radiology

Our Dental Radiology course is approved by the Bureau of X-Ray Compliance (which is part of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection) and is designed to prepare students to take a licensing exam that will lead you to become a Licensed Dental Radiologic Technologist.  Based on state requirements this course is over 70 hours in length and consists of a didactic (or instructional) component, a laboratory component, and a clinical component (like an internship) at a state approved dental office.  If you are looking to get your dental x-ray license in NJ, an approved program such as this one is required.  Click on the course title for more information, including information for non-NJ residents.

Working towards your CDA Certification

Becoming a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA  [DANB Disclaimer]) certificant entails successfully passing three of the Dental Assisting National Board's (DANB's  [DANB Disclaimer]) exams.  Each of the three courses below can help you in preparing for the associated DANB exam.  Dental assistant sitting in chairThere is a natural progression to the courses and as a result the majority of students will take the courses in the order listed below.  General Chairside has an experience requirement of at least two years, which leads many students to take the other courses while building up the required two years of work experience.  That being said, it is not mandatory that you take the courses in this order (just recommended).

In order to obtain your CDA  [DANB Disclaimer]certificate you will need to successfully pass three component exams.  These DANB  [DANB Disclaimer]exams include: Radiation Health & Safety (RHS  [DANB Disclaimer]), Infection Control, and General Chairside.  Most New Jersey based dental assistants will take the full Dental Radiology course and DANB's RHS exam as part of the requirements to obtain their dental x-ray license.  Although some people may have obtained their license without taking the RHS exam in New Jersey (for example, they may have taken a similar exam out of state), if you already passed the RHS exam in order to obtain your New Jersey dental x-ray license (and you did so within the last five years) you will not need to take the Review of Radition Health & Safety course or retake the RHS exam in order to obtain your CDA certificate. 

We understand that this can be quite confusing.  Please click on the link below if you would like further information about the Review of Radiation Health & Safety course.  Otherwise, assuming that you do not need to take this course you can move directly onto Infection Control.

Review of Radiation Health and Safety (RHS)

This course is not a requirement for obtaining your CDA  [DANB Disclaimer]certification.  This course is an abbreviated yet thorough version of the didactic (or instructional) component of the New Jersey state approved Radiology course for those that wish to take it to help in passing DANB's  [DANB Disclaimer]RHS  [DANB Disclaimer]exam.  As this course is not the same as the Dental Radiology course described above, it is not approved by the state to meet the educational requirement for obtaining a dental x-ray license. 

Most of our students will have taken DANB's  [DANB Disclaimer]RHS  [DANB Disclaimer]exam after taking the NJ State-Approved Radiology course.  All three component exams (RHS, Infection Control, and General Chairside) must be completed in a five-year period.  If you passed the RHS exam within the last five years to earn your dental x-ray license in NJ you should not have to take it again as part of earning your CDA  [DANB Disclaimer]certification. 

Individuals who fall into any of the following categories may consider taking this course, while others can safely bypass this course and skip down to the Infection Control course below. Image of a periapical film
      • Dental Assistants who obtained their dental radiologic technologist license (dental x-ray license) more than 5 years ago and have not since earned a CDA  [DANB Disclaimer]certificate..
      • Individuals who have previously taken and not passed DANB's  [DANB Disclaimer]RHS  [DANB Disclaimer]exam.
      • Individuals who may have taken a program in the past or elsewhere and don't feel fully prepared to take the RHS  [DANB Disclaimer]exam.
      • Doctors from outside the United States who have a dental degree or license from another country and are interested in obtaining a NJ dental x-ray license.
      • Individuals who live outside of New Jersey and are preparing for the DANB  [DANB Disclaimer]RHS  [DANB Disclaimer]exam in their own state.  Please check with your local governing board regarding the requirements in your home state. 
For further information about this course, please click on the title above.

Infection Control

This course will introduce you to all of the important infection control terminology, techniques, and procedures.  Some of the subjects covered include transmittable and bloodborne diseases, cross infection, modes of transmission, the potential for employee exposure to infectious materials, sharps disinfection, sterilization, barrier protection, personal protective equipment, and exposure incident procedures. All current and applicable OSHA regulations and CDC guidelines will also be covered.  Please click on the course title for further information.

General Chairside

The General Chairside course will introduce you to the dental materials and procedures necessary to be a fully qualified and functioning chairside assistant.  Some of the topics covered in this course include oral pathology, pharmacology, medical emergencies, anesthetics, charting, and four-handed techniques.  Only after you have met the two-year experience requirement and have a valid CPR certificate can you take the DANB  [DANB Disclaimer]exam on general chairside procedures that this course prepares you for.  Please click on the course title for further information.

Working towards your RDA

Becoming a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) is the highest level of credentialing that a New Jersey dental assistant can legally obtain and allows you to perform the widest array of functions and take on the most responsibility.  Additionally, being licensed as an RDA will afford you the greatest range of employment opportunities and a higher potential salary.  Unlike earning your CDA  [DANB Disclaimer]certification, an RDA license only requires one additional examination.

However before you can take DANB's  [DANB Disclaimer]exam on expanded functions, which is the one designed to help you obtain your RDA, you must already have a CDA  [DANB Disclaimer]certificate and at least two years of experience as a dental assistant within the last five years.

Expanded Functions

The Expanded Functions course will teach you about the various expanded (or additional) functions that a Registered Dental Assistant can legally perform.  These include functions such as rubber dams, retraction cords, construction of temporary crowns, cementation, periodontal dressing, matrix placement, pit and fissure sealants, and topical fluoride.  This course will not only prepare you for the Expanded Functions exam, but will also provide you with the necessary information to pass a brief jurisprudence exam that is also required as part of the process of becoming an RDA.  Please click on the course title for further information.

Additionally, practice tests are available at our office and available for both current students preparing to take a DANB  [DANB Disclaimer]exam as well as prospective students who would like to test their knowledge before registering for a course with us.  These tests are taken on a computer (as are the actual DANB exams) and allow you the opportunity to go back and look at what questions you may have gotten wrong so that you can learn from your mistakes.  Practice tests are available in four subject areas to correspond to the applicable DANB exams.  Please click on the link for further information.

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