Discover the Importance of Dental Assistant Certifications and Their Impact on Career Success

Dental Assistants play a critical role in providing quality oral care for patients and ensuring the efficient operation of dental practices. As a Dental Assistant, you may be responsible for a variety of dental duties, from patient education to assisting dentists chairside with dental procedures. Pursuing certifications in your chosen field not only demonstrates your commitment to providing professional, high-quality care but also has a tremendous impact on opening up new career opportunities.

In this article, we will delve into the various certifications available for Dental Assistants, explore why obtaining these credentials is essential, and discuss how our Dental Assistant programs at Northwest Suburban College can prepare you to excel in your professional journey.


Examining the Dental Assistant Certifications Landscape

To propel your career forward as a Dental Assistant, it’s invaluable to have a clear understanding of the certifications available in your field. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most prestigious credentials for Dental Assistants, along with their unique benefits and requirements.

– Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)

The Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) credential, administered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), is considered the gold standard for Dental Assistants across the United States. This certification demonstrates that the holder has met professional and educational standards and passed a rigorous, comprehensive examination. CDAs are often preferred by employers and enjoy increased marketability, better job opportunities, and a higher earning potential.

– Expanded Function Dental Assistant (EFDA)

The Expanded Function Dental Assistant (EFDA) certification allows Dental Assistants to perform a broader range of duties under a dentist’s supervision, enhancing their professional scope and marketability. While eligibility requirements and allowable duties vary by state, EFDAs typically receive training in advanced dental procedures, such as placing dental fillings, fabricating temporary crowns, and cementing restorations. This advanced skillset makes EFDA-certified Dental Assistants invaluable assets to dental teams and patients alike.

– Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA)

For Dental Assistants who would like to specialize in orthodontics, the Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA) credential, also offered by DANB, is an ideal choice. Acquiring the COA certification showcases expertise in orthodontic procedures and demonstrates a commitment to the orthodontic specialty. COAs tend to enjoy increased job satisfaction through expanded job responsibilities and opportunities for professional growth.

– Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA)

The Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA) credential, provided by DANB, enables Dental Assistants to perform specific preventive services under the supervision of a dentist. Acquiring this certification demonstrates a Dental Assistant’s expertise in preventive dentistry, further enhancing their skills and value to the dental team.


Why Pursue Dental Assistant Certifications?

Now that we’ve covered the range of certifications available, let’s explore some of the significant benefits of pursuing these credentials in dental assisting.

– Enhanced Career Opportunities

Certifications open doors to new career opportunities and help Dental Assistants stand out among their peers. Employers often prefer certified Dental Assistants due to the assurance of their professional expertise, and these qualifications can lead to higher salaries, promotions, and greater job security.

– Professional Development and Growth

Obtaining certifications allows Dental Assistants to expand their knowledge and skills, leading to increased confidence and competence in their role. Their pursuit of continuing education also demonstrates a commitment to professional growth and providing quality dental care to patients.

– Increased Patient Trust and Satisfaction

Certifications are a testament to a Dental Assistant’s dedication and expertise. When patients see that their dental care providers have invested in their professional development, they are more likely to feel confident in the treatment they receive. This enhanced trust can lead to improved patient satisfaction and dental practice success.


Preparing for Dental Assistant Certifications at Northwest Suburban College

At Northwest Suburban College, we understand the importance of obtaining certifications to advance in your career as a Dental Assistant. Our comprehensive Dental Assistant program emphasizes practical skills and knowledge and the necessary preparation for obtaining various certifications.

– Comprehensive Curriculum

We’ve designed our curriculum to include a deep understanding of dental assisting concepts and procedures to ensure our students have a strong foundation to pursue their desired certifications. Our program covers various pertinent topics, such as dental materials, radiology, infection control, and preventive dentistry, to name a few.

– Hands-On Training and Clinical Experience

Practical experience is crucial in the dental field, so our program includes hands-on training and clinical rotations designed to prepare students for the rigors of their professional roles. This experiential learning approach ensures our students have ample opportunities to practice and master the skills necessary for certification exams and real-world dental assisting positions.



Pursuing Dental Assistant certifications contributes to your personal and professional growth and impacts the quality of dental care for the patients and communities you serve. These valuable credentials can lead to better job opportunities, increased earning potential, and enhanced patient satisfaction.

Take the first step towards elevating your dental assisting career by enrolling in our Dental Assistant program at Northwest Suburban College, where we’ll provide you with comprehensive training, hands-on experience, and the support needed to propel your professional journey forward.

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