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Dental Radiology Certificate and Training Programs

Find out about certificate programs in dental radiology. Learn about the options for working with X-rays in a dental office, including as a dental hygienist or as a dentist with a certificate in oral and maxillofacial radiology.

What Certificate Programs are Available to Me?

Dental radiology certificate programs are available for aspiring dental assistants and hygienists, as well as for dentists who would like more familiarity with oral and maxillofacial radiology. Certificates for hygienists and assistants usually are offered by community colleges and continuing education programs, whereas programs in oral and maxillofacial radiology are offered at the graduate level. Often, certificates in oral and maxillofacial radiology are offered in conjunction with a master's program in oral science, stomatology or dental diagnostic science.

Certificate Levels Undergraduate and graduate
Degree Options Associate, bachelor's and master's in dental hygiene
Job Duties Routine cleanings, X-rays, instrument preparation, teeth and gum examinations
Median Salary (2018)* $38,660 (for Dental Assistants)
Job Outlook (2018-2028)* 11% (for Dental Assistants)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Other Education Options Might I Have?

Although dental assistants are only technically required to have a high school diploma, you might find it easier to obtain a job if you complete a certificate, diploma or associate degree program in dental assisting. You might need to complete additional coursework and earn licensure to be able to perform advanced tasks. For example, some states will require you to pass the Radiation Health and Safety examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board or take a state-approved course in order to be able to perform radiological functions.

To become a dental hygienist, you'll need to graduate from a dental hygienist degree program, which will include radiology courses. Degrees are offered at the associate, bachelor's and master's levels. Some schools also offer dental hygiene certificate programs. To work as a dental hygienist, you'll need to be licensed, which involves passing a series of exams.

An oral and maxillofacial radiologist needs to be licensed as a dentist, which includes having a degree from an accredited dental program, and passing a series of exams. You also might seek certification as a diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

What is Dental Radiology?

Dentists use radiology to help in diagnosis and preventative care of patients' teeth. Several types of professionals in the dental field utilize dental radiology, including dental assistants, dental hygienists, and oral and maxillofacial radiologists.

If you want to work in a dental office and do mostly routine x-rays for patients, you might want to become a dental assistant or hygienist. A dental assistant prepares instruments and helps a dentist during procedures. Dental hygienists do routine cleanings and examine teeth and gums. An oral and maxillofacial radiologist is a dentist who uses x-rays to help diagnose problems of the head and neck.