How to Become a Dental Assistant in Georgia
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
Completing the proper training course is an essential first step for those wondering how to become a dental assistant in Georgia. Hopefuls can enroll in an accredited dental assistant trade school or community college to learn the required skills for this profession.
Dental Assistant Schools in GA
Dental assistant school programs in Georgia prepare students for successful dental assistant careers by providing quality instruction from industry professionals.
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.
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
- Venipuncture Procedures
- Intravenous Access
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.
Some longer dental assistant certificate programs in Georgia are six to 15 months long. However, depending on where you enroll, you might be able to finish your training in as little as 12 weeks. Associate’s degree courses for aspiring dental assistants in GA take at least two years to complete.
How Much Does Dental Assistant School Cost?
Dental assistant trade schools in GA charge different rates for tuition, books, study materials and fees. Program costs for a certificate or diploma program might be about $2,000 at a community college or roughly $23,000 at a vocational or technical school. Meanwhile, tuition for dental assistant degrees in GA ranges from $5,000 to $35,000.
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
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
The Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) offers a certification exam consisting of three parts:
- The General Chairside Assisting Exam (GC)
- The Infection Control Exam (ICE)
- 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 $44,200 per year. However, the average annual dental assistant salary in Georgia may differ depending on which part of the state you live in. Take a look at the list below to discover regional salary information for Georgia dental assistants:
- Atlanta $46,779
- Macon $42,515
- Savannah $39,042
- Gainesville $45,490
- Agusta $41,434
- Columbus $40,560
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.
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
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.