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What Is an X-Ray Certification for Dental Assistants?

Are you interested in the x-ray aspect of dental assistance? Did you know that some states require additional training and certification to conduct x-rays? Read on for more information on these requirements and what types of certification you might pursue.

X-Ray Certification for Dental Assistants

As a dental assistant, you'll work under the supervision of a dentist, preparing patients for dental work, setting up equipment for procedures and providing chairside assistance. You might also schedule appointments, manage patient records and handle billing.

Your state of employment will generally regulate what types of duties you can perform. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental assistants who conduct certain duties are required by many states to complete training and obtain certification (www.bls.gov). Dental assistants can obtain either Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) certification or the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) designation, both of which are offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2018) $38,660
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 19%
Entry-level Experience Post-secondary non-degree award
Work Environment Dental office
Similar Occupations Dental hygienist, medical assistant, pharmacy technician

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Radiation Health and Safety Certification

While each state has its own licensing and certification requirements, the DANB notes that the RHS exam is recognized by 22 states and qualifies you to conduct radiographic procedures in those states (www.danb.org). The 100-question exam covers topics like exposure and evaluation, radiologic processes and radiation safety. There are no eligibility requirements to take the RHS exam, though you may be required to meet other state-specific licensing requirements. After passing the exam, you'll receive a certificate of competency.

Certified Dental Assistant Designation

The DANB reports that 31 states recognize the Certified Dental Assistant certification for radiographic licensing purposes. Eligibility requirements for this certification include completion of an accredited dental assisting program and current CPR certification. You may substitute postsecondary education with 3,500 hours of work experience and a high school diploma. To obtain the CDA designation, you must pass the RHS exam as well as the DANB's infection control (ICE) and general chairside assisting (GC) exams. These exams need to be taken and passed within a five-year period. You must renew certification every year by earning at least 12 continuing education credits.