Inside Dental Assisting
Mar/Apr 2011
Volume 7, Issue 2

A Bright Future on DANB’s Horizon

DANB’s Executive Director Cindy Durley, MEd, MBA, sheds light on DANB’s history and, more importantly, steering its future.

For more than 60 years, the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. (DANB) has been testing and certifying dental assistants. Recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA) as the national certification board for dental assistants, DANB annually tests about 20,000 dental auxiliaries—with more than 33,000 DANB Certificants nationwide.

DANB offers two national certifications: Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) and Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA). Covering the important duties that dental assistants perform every day, DANB’s CDA exam includes exams on General Chairside (GC), Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) and Infection Control (ICE). DANB’s COA exam covers Orthodontic Assisting (OA) and ICE. DANB has information about the steps and requirements to apply for DANB exams on its website at www.danb.org.

This is an exciting time for dental assistants. The profession is growing, and many states are expanding the duties that assistants are allowed to perform. To keep up with these changes, DANB has developed a new certification scheduled to be available in April 2011, which includes component exams on coronal polishing, sealants, topical fluoride, and topical anesthetic. Currently, 43 states allow dental assistants to perform coronal polishing procedures, 38 allow dental assistants to apply sealants, 45 allow dental assistants to apply topical fluoride, and 49 allow dental assistants to apply topical anesthetic. Although each state sets its own requirements to perform these functions, DANB is proud to be able to offer an objective, reliable, and valid exam to measure competency in these expanded duties.

Charting a Course of Excellence

There are numerous benefits to passing DANB exams and working toward Certification. Currently, DANB’s exams are recognized or required to perform dental assisting duties in 38 states and the District of Columbia, and by the US Air Force and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Because every state has different regulations, earning DANB Certification can make state-to-state job relocation easier. In fact, passing DANB exams is often required to perform additional duties or expanded dental assisting functions.

According to DANB’s 2010 Salary Survey, DANB CDAs report earning $18.50 per hour, which is $2.04 more than non-certified assistants. Beyond higher pay, the benefits of earning DANB Certification include self-gratification, employer recognition, elevating the profession, patient respect for credentials and recognition in the dental community—not to mention patient and public safety.

DANB Certification renewal requires earning at least 12 Continuing Dental Education credits annually, which means that DANB Certificants are lifelong learners who are on the leading edge of their profession. Frequently, employers look for or require DANB Certification because DANB Certificants are dental professionals. DANB Certificants are often able to increase practice efficiency, have greater employer loyalty, and take their dental assisting career seriously. Holding DANB Certification helps dental assistants stand out in the job market.

DANB Certificants also receive a frameable certificate and lapel pin, quarterly issues of DANB’s Certified Press newsletter, and recognition gifts from DANB at dental meetings and on their certification anniversaries. The benefits go on and on.

Sailing Ahead

This year is proving to be quite eventful. DANB is proud to soon launch its redesigned website in July, which will feature a new look, expanded functionality, and all of the important DANB resources visitors may need. Visit www.danb.org to download exam applications, set up a personal DANB account, look up state-specific dental assisting requirements, and read the latest DANB news.

The DALE Foundation will debut this year. For the last year, DANB has offered interactive, online learning courses, but by this summer, these courses will be rebranded and delivered by the DALE Foundation. Current course offerings include Convention Dental Radiography, DANB RHS Review, and DANB ICE Review. The DALE Foundation also offers certificate programs for dental office managers on topics such as human resources and accounts receivable. As an independent affiliate of DANB, the DALE Foundation is dedicated to providing interactive e-learning for oral healthcare professionals. DANB and the DALE Foundation are thrilled to bring these valuable supplemental education opportunities to the dental community.

For more information about DANB or the DALE Foundation, contact 800-367-3262 or e-mail communications@danb.org.

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