How to Become a Dental Assistant in Florida

The US government says dental assisting jobs will continue to grow and provide steady job opportunities. You can earn good pay in a stable, clean work environment.

Education & Training

Attending a dental assistant trade school is the place to start. Most programs take less time than other dental professions.

Search Dental Assistant Programs

Get information on Dental Assistant programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Program Benefits

In addition to becoming qualified fro an entry level job, you be ready to take the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) or Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exams by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

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How Long Does It Take?

Between 6 to12 months.  The time it takes to complete the course is based on the study schedule that you determine.

How Much Does it Cost?

$2,000, but financing is available.

What Do You Study?

Modules will cover topics such as

  • How to manage a dental office
  • Common dental terminology
  • Patient dental problems
  • Appointment management software
  • Accessing patient records
  • Accounting and recall systems
  • Insurance claims
  • Industry codes

Assistance with externships is also a component.

More Local Programs

    Arizona College of Nursing
    9 month hybrid program that includes Radiation Health and Safety Certification. No GED required.

    • Fort Lauderdale, Sarasota, Tampa


    Broward College
    The Dental Assisting, Applied Technology Diploma program at Broward College offers a comprehensive 12-month curriculum designed to equip students with specialized dental science knowledge, clinical skills, and office management proficiency. Located primarily at the A. Hugh Adams Central Campus, the program awards graduates the Expanded Functions Certificate and the Dental Radiographer Certificate, recognized by the state of Florida. Clinical training is conducted at the on-campus Broward Dental Research Clinic (BDRC) and various community health facilities.

    • Davie


    Concorde Career Institute
    8 month program for Florida Dental Radiology License and Expanded Functions Certificate in flexible learning environment. Approved by the Florida State Board of Dentistry.

    • Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Miramar


    Dental Assisting Institute
    Offers a fast 10-week training program. Hybrid programs(online & classroom) in CPR, Florida X-ray & EFDA approved by Florida Board of Dentistry.

    • Pinellas Park


    ECPI University
    15 month Associate of Applied Science in Dental Assisting for RHS, RDA & ICE certifications.

    • Orlando


    Florida Career College

    • West Palm Beach, Lauderdale Lakes


    FORTIS College
    Provides classroom and lab training in ultrasonic and x-ray units, clinical, radiographic, and admin procedures.

    • Cutler Bay, Orange Park, Pensacola, Port St. Lucie


    Herzing University
    CODA accredited diploma and associates degree programs. Hybrid Track provides online format for main coursework and on campus classes. Graduates can take Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exams by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

    • Orlando, Tampa


    Pinellas Technical College
    ADA accredited Certified Dental Assistant to Dental Assisting Technology and Management, A.A.S./A.S. Degree

    • Clearwater, St. Petersburg


    South College
    Get ready for the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) exam with this certification program.

    • Orlando


    South Florida Dental Assisting School
    Affordable 12 week accelerated dental assisting programs as well as advanced certification courses.

    • Lauderdale, Miami


    Tallahassee Community College
    The Dental Assisting Technology and Management program at TCC prepares students for certification in dental assisting and the Dental Assisting National Board Exam. The program emphasizes quality patient care and the development of skilled dental assistants, offering 50 credit hours of coursework over two years, and provides a pathway to becoming a dental hygienist.

    • Tallahassee


    Ultimate Medical Academy
    12 month diploma program for the Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) certification exam. Includes expanded functions like X Ray. Online & on campus.

    • Clearwater


Educational Requirements

While you may not always need your high school diploma or GED, you still must be 18 years or older to attend a Florida dental assistant training school.

Dental Assistant Requirements In Florida

Most dental assistant training programs in Florida prepare students for entry-level jobs.

At the same time, there are supplementary training requirements needed if you want to qualify for more jobs and greater pay, which includes expanded duties training in addition to a certificate as a dental radiographer.

Expanded Functions Dental Assistant

With formal training, dental assistants can perform various basic tasks without direct supervision. To work alongside a dentist and perform procedures yourself, you must receive special training as an Expanded Functions Dental Assistant or EFDA.

There are two ways a student can become an EFDA in Florida:

  1. Complete a dental, dental hygiene, or dental assisting training program with expanded functions that are part of the curriculum OR
  2. Complete additional expanded duties training via a Florida Board of Dentistry-approved institution

Dental assistants with sufficient training and direct supervision can do advanced tasks such as performing coronal polishing and removing sutures after oral surgery.

The two tasks essential to an EFDAs work that you can only perform with expanded training are monitoring nitrous oxide and operating x-ray equipment.

Monitoring Nitrous Oxide Analgesia

Nitrous oxide, when used in dentistry, helps relieve pain and anxiety felt by patients during procedures. To monitor this treatment, dental assistants must have the right training and certification.

They may either attend a two-day course approved by the ADA or receive certification by the American Heart Association, American Red Cross, or similar organization regarding adult and infant CPR, obstructed airways, and the use of a defibrillator.

Dental Radiography

Performing dental radiographic procedures, or operating x-ray equipment, is an essential and regular task in dentistry.

Because of this, dental assistants must undergo special training to receive certification as dental radiographers. Many earn this education during the initial dental assistant training.

If you do not attend a school that teaches radiography, you must instead complete three months of on-the-job training and learn how to position and expose dental radiographic film under the supervision of a dentist. You should also take a board-approved radiology course within the year.

Regardless of how you receive the training to be a dental radiographer, you still have to apply for certification through the Florida Department of Health. The current fee is $35.00.

Do Dental Assistants Need a License in Florida?

Unlike dentists, Florida does not license dental assistants and there is no exam needed to work in the state.

If you want to work in this career field, you need your dental assistant certification in Florida with proper expanded duties training and on-the-job experience provided by approved and accredited institutions.

Dental Assistant Salaries in Florida

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average dental assistant salary in Florida is $46,420.

Below are some average salaries and hourly wages for areas of the state.

Area Hourly Annual
Cape Coral-Fort Myers $23.14 $48,130.00
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin $22.08 $45,920.00
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach $21.04 $43,750.00
Gainesville $21.44 $44,590.00
Homosassa Springs $20.88 $43,440.00
Jacksonville $22.09 $45,960.00
Lakeland-Winter Haven $21.30 $44,310.00
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach $21.96 $45,670.00
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island $26.99 $56,150.00
North FL $21.81 $45,370.00
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton $23.20 $48,250.00
Ocala $21.02 $43,720.00
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford $22.09 $45,960.00
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville $22.58 $46,970.00
Panama City $21.82 $45,390.00
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent $21.02 $43,720.00
Port St. Lucie $21.65 $45,040.00
Punta Gorda $21.54 $44,800.00
Sebastian-Vero Beach $21.51 $44,740.00
Sebring $19.76 $41,090.00
South FL $22.31 $46,410.00
Tallahassee $19.66 $40,890.00
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater $23.35 $48,570.00
The Villages $21.72 $45,170.00

Occupation: Dental Assistants(SOC Code319091)
source: data.bls.gov

Job Description

What Do They Do?

Dental assistants are full-time employees who help oral surgeons and dentists with procedures.

They may also perform clerical work like keeping records. Associated tasks depend on the kind of training you received in your education.

With more training and certifications, you can take on expanded functions.

Job Duties

A dental assistant’s duties in Florida can involve basic tasks as well as more complex assignments related to patient care. These duties include:

  • Prepping patients for exams
  • Performing X-rays
  • Completing patient documents
  • Sanitizing and preparing equipment
  • Assisting the dentist with procedures
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Working with insurance companies to resolve issues

Career Outlook

Being a dental assistant is a promising career path with evidence of consistent demand, stability, and growth.

Florida has the third largest level of employment for dental assistants in the U.S., employing just over 21,000 people in this position. Dental assistant jobs in Florida are vital since the state has a large elderly population requiring more dental care than other age groups.

The BLS reports that the expected national growth rate for dental assistants is 11% between 2020 and 2030, which is faster than most occupations. This projection could mean up to 44,000 job openings yearly from people retiring or changing jobs.

In other words, Florida’s dental assistant jobs will likely increase over the next few years.

Search Dental Assistant Programs

Get information on Dental Assistant programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Dental Assistant vs Dental Hygienist