How to Become a Dental Assistant in Georgia

dental assistant looking at x ray

Dental assisting is a popular entry-level healthcare job choice for people who want to become dentists and orthodontists.

If you’re wondering how to become a dental assistant in Georgia, this article provides helpful information about the type of education, training, and certification you need to succeed in this profession.

Education & Training

Candidates should enroll in an accredited dental assistant trade school or community college to learn the required skills for this profession.

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Completing the proper training course is an essential first step for those wondering how to become a dental assistant in Georgia.

Beneficial Outcomes of the Program

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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What Do You Study?

While course curriculum varies across different schools, students in dental assistant programs usually take the following classes:

  • Foundations of Clinical Dentistry
  • Dental Instruments and Materials
  • Patient Assessment and Communication Skills
  • Oral Health and Dental Disease and Infection Prevention
  • Assisting in Comprehensive Dental Care
  • Radiographic Imaging
  • Occupational Health and Safety

Externships and Other Training

In addition to learning about the theory of dental assisting through in-class instruction, students train in on-campus workshops and participate in externships at local clinics and dental offices to gain hands-on experience.

During this portion of the program, you’ll be able to apply the patient care techniques and chairside dental assisting practices you’ve learned in class to real-world situations.

How Long Does it Take?

6 to 12 months long depending on how quickly you study and advanced through the modukes.

Associate’s degree courses for aspiring dental assistants in GA take at least 2 years to complete.

How Much Does it Cost?

The programs above cost about $2,000, and financing is available.

Meanwhile, tuition for advanced dental assistant degrees in GA ranges from $5,000 to $35,000.

More Local Programs

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

    • Smyrna

    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).

    • Atlanta

    Lincoln Tech

    • Marietta

    Miller-Motte College
    15 month hybrid diploma program.

    • Augusta, Columbus, Macon

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

    • Atlanta

    UEI College
    10 Month online and in-class program with externship requirments.

    • Morrow, Stone Mountain

Georgia Dental Assistant Requirements

Being at least 18 and having a high school diploma, GED or equivalent are the minimum requirements for becoming a dental assistant in GA.

Hopefuls with these qualifications can sometimes receive on-the-job training and perform general patient care tasks while working in dentists’ offices.

Dental Assistant Certificate or Degree

Although formal schooling is optional for these professionals, having a dental assistant certificate or degree can make it easier to qualify for dental assistant jobs in Georgia.

Expanded Duty Dental Assistant

Completing an accredited training course is essential if you want to become an Expanded Duty Dental Assistant (EDDA) and perform more advanced duties like:

  • Preparing dental charts
  • Applying topical anesthesia
  • Coronal polishing
  • Taking X-rays and dental impressions
  • Applying fluorides and sealants
  • Removing prosthetics

Dental assistants in GA must also have prior training or at least eight hours of supervised experience before they can perform procedures that involve using rubber cup prophy on primary dentition.

Additional Requirements

To qualify for an EDDA position, dental assistants in GA must obtain a CPR credential and meet one of the following requirements:

  • Graduate from an accredited one-year training course OR
  • Complete at least six months of supervised work experience as a chairside dental assistant OR
  • Obtain a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)credential

Specialized Training Requirements

GA dental assistants might also need specialized skills and certifications to perform certain dental procedures. If you hope to assist with oral and maxillofacial surgeries, you must complete Georgia Board of Dentistry-approved training in the following disciplines:

  • Infection Control
  • Phlebotomy
  • Venipuncture Procedures
  • Intravenous Access

CDA Certification

The Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) offers a certification exam consisting of three parts:

  1. The General Chairside Assisting Exam (GC)
  2. The Infection Control Exam (ICE)
  3. The Radiation Health and Safety Exam (RHS)

Applying for the Certification Exam

Apply for your CDA certification exam by creating an account on the DANB website, filling out an application form, submitting proof of your age, education, and CPR credentials, and paying the $450 application fee.

Once you pass these exams, you’ll be eligible for advanced dental assistant jobs in Georgia clinics and dental hospitals.

Dental Assistant Salaries in GA

Most dental assistants in GA make about $43,700 per year. However, the average annual dental assistant salary in Georgia may differ depending on which part of the state you live in.

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

Area Hourly Annual
Albany $20.14 $41,900.00
Athens-Clarke County $19.79 $41,160.00
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell $21.72 $45,180.00
Augusta-Richmond County $19.96 $41,510.00
Brunswick $19.92 $41,440.00
Columbus $19.98 $41,570.00
Dalton $18.79 $39,090.00
East GA $19.27 $40,080.00
Gainesville $20.71 $43,070.00
Hinesville $20.36 $42,350.00
Macon $19.47 $40,490.00
Middle GA $18.42 $38,310.00
North GA $22.07 $45,910.00
Rome $19.53 $40,620.00
Savannah $20.70 $43,060.00
South GA $19.65 $40,870.00
Valdosta $18.76 $39,010.00
Warner Robins $19.78 $41,140.00

Occupation: Dental Assistants(SOC Code319091)

If you have a certificate or diploma from an accredited dental assistant training course, you might be able to negotiate higher wages. Likewise, licensed dental assistants in GA might earn more than non-certified hopefuls. Dental assistants specializing in pediatric dentistry or oral surgery typically earn even more.

Job Description

Dental assistants work in dentist’s offices, performing many of the same duties that medical assistants perform in hospitals and health clinics.

A typical workday for a dental assistant might include:

  • Preparing examination rooms before each appointment
  • Sterilizing and setting up dental tools
  • Ensure patients feel comfortable and relaxed in the dental chair
  • Process dental X-rays
  • Helping dentists create crowns, bridges, and dentures using impressions and molds of the patient’s teeth
  • Passing dental instruments to the dentist during examinations and procedures
  • Instruct patients on proper oral hygiene
  • Scheduling follow-up appointments

Career Outlook

Research suggests that the demand for dental assistants in the U.S. may be on the rise over the next decade. Reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate an eight-percent increase in dental assistant jobs between 2021 and 2031.

Hopefuls with the proper training and certification have a better chance of getting some of the higher-paying dental assistant jobs in their areas.

Search Dental Assistant Programs

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

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