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Become a Dental Assistant in West Virginia - WV

West Virginia is an attractive state to pursue a career as a dental assistant. The length of training is an attractive point for those pursuing a career as a dental assistant. As stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many assistants learn their skills on the job, although there are dental assistant programs available and becoming increasingly popular. Most programs have a duration of one year or less. Employment is expected to increase by 29% by the year 2016, as noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This too is moving at a rate much faster than average for all occupations. As with dental hygienists, flexibility is a distinctive feature of this occupation. About 35% of dental assistants work part-time and in more than one dental office.

How to Become a Dental Assistant in West Virginia

West Virginia does not require a certification for a dental assistant to perform certain simple dental procedures that are supportive in nature under the supervision of a dentist and indicated by the state dental practice act. Although, one must adhere to the West Virginia dental assistant's function and requirement list. As far as job duties, there are no radiology requirements for dental assistants in the state of West Virginia. All dental assistants may legally perform dental radiologic procedures and operate dental x-ray equipment. The list of following functions: prescriptions, diagnosis, and treatment planning, are not permitted by any level of dental assistant in the state of West Virginia. Another function not allowed by a dental assistant is surgical procedures, specifically on hard or soft tissue within the oral cavity. On the other hand, a dental assistant in the state of West Virginia may perform expanded duties, once a course and exam has been completed.

Even though a certification is not required in the state of West Virginia, one may become a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) in order to increase marketability within the dental assistant profession. The following are steps to become a CDA.

  1. In order to become a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA), one must complete at least one of the 3 pathways to take the CDA exam. First, graduate from an accredited dental assisting program. Secondly, complete a minimum of 3,500 hours of work experience as a dental assistant over a period of a 2 to 4 year period. Lastly, be a former or current Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Certified Dental Assistant (CDA), a graduate of a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)-accredited DDS or DMD, or be a graduate from a foreign dental degree program.
  2. Be CPR certified.
  3. Fully complete the application, and pay the appropriate fees.
  4. The CDA exam is made up of 3 component exams: Radiation Health and Safety (RHS), Infection Control (ICE), and General Chairside Assisting (GC). One must successfully pass the CDA examination, or take and pass the 3 component exams within a 5-year period. After successfully passing the exam you are considered a registered dental assistant in West Virginia.
  5. Once the above steps are completed, you are eligible to perform job duties as a CDA in the state of West Virginia.

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