To help current and aspiring Dental Assistants achieve their goals, we developed the following study guide for DA certification and licensure.
Dental Assisting certification can offer many benefits, including greater job opportunities, higher salaries, and further career advancement in the dental profession.
This study guide will focus on the RDA, which stands for Registered Dental Assistant. Our RDA Exam prep is specifically designed to prepare you to earn the Registered Dental Assistant credential as mandated by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE).
What Is the RDA Exam? [ RDA Prep exam Texas ]
The RDA prep exam is a professional license that qualifies you to become a Registered Dental Assistant.
RDAs are licensed healthcare professionals who provide dental care for patients. Their duties are a mix of patient care, laboratory procedures, and clerical work. The Registered Dental Assisting exam validates your skills and knowledge in the field of oral care to your patients as well as to your current and future employers.
What Are the Requirements to Take the RDA Exam? [ RDA Prep exam Texas]
A dental assistant in the state of Texas can earn status as a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) by formally registering with the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE). To qualify, one must:
1. Graduate from an accredited high school or hold a GED, AND
2. Successfully complete a current hands-on course in basic life support, AND
3a. Successfully complete a mandatory course of training specified by the TSBDE that includes procedures for positioning and exposing dental x-rays, jurisprudence, and infection control, or
3b. Earn the national DANB CDA certification and complete the Texas Jurisprudence Assessment, AND
4. Apply to the TSBDE for registration AND
5. Submit fingerprints for the retrieval of criminal record information.
To qualify to monitor the administration of nitrous oxide, an RDA must:
1. Complete a minimum of 8 hours of didactic education and testing in monitoring the administration of nitrous oxide taken through a CODA-accredited dental, dental hygiene or dental assisting program approved by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE) AND
2. Complete a current course in Basic Life Support, AND
3. Apply to the TSBDE for a nitrous oxide monitoring certificate
There are two pathways to becoming an RDA in Texas: a state-specific pathway and a national certification pathway. The prospective RDA must in all cases hold BLS certification.
A dental assistant who is not nationally certified must pass a course that is approved by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE). The Board notes that courses taken in other states are not recognized in Texas. A person who is working as a dental assistant but does not have x-ray experience may work under supervision for up to a year before meeting requirements.
Radiography courses are brief: typically eight to sixteen hours in length. The Board has provided a list (http://www.tsbde.texas.gov/RDA.html).
National certification is granted by the Dental Assisting National Board. Certification is based on a combination of 1) examination and 2) education or experience. A qualifying education is one that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. CODA-accredited programs may result in certificates or associate degrees. Dental assistants who do not complete CODA-accredited programs are eligible after two years of experience (provided that they have accrued at least 3,500 qualifying hours).
The CDA examination includes three component exams: Radiation Health and Safety (RHS), Infection Control (ICE), and General Chairside Assisting (GC). A candidate can begin the examination process before meeting prerequisite requirements but must wait to take the GC. Candidate guides can be downloaded from the DANB website (http://www.danb.org/Become-Certified/Exams-and-Certifications/CDA.aspx).
An individual who qualifies based on national certification will need to pass a state jurisprudence examination.
Your first renewal may be immediate depending on your birth date and the day you are licensed. If your birth year is an even number, then you will always expire in an even year on the day of your birthday. Alternatively, if your birth year is an odd number, you will always expire in an odd year on the day of your birthday.
- Even number example
Birthday: January 2, 1976
Licensed on: October 1, 2007 (prior to your next even year birthday)
Expirations would be: January 2, 2008; January 2, 2010; January 2, 2012…
- Odd number example
Birthday: May 21, 1981
Licensed on: January 1, 2007 (prior to your next odd year birthday)
Expirations would be: May 21, 2007; May 21, 2009; May 21, 2011…
Dental Assistant Salaries [ RDA Prep exam Texas ]
According to 2019 figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 31,550 individuals employed as dental assistants in Texas. The highest level of employment for detail assistants was in the Houston/Woodlands/Sugar Land metro area, where salaries averaged $36,490.
State Requirements [ RDA Prep exam Texas ]
State requirements for dental assistant X-ray certification vary widely. For the most accurate information, contact your state’s board of dental examiners. For example, Arizona allows dental assistants who process X-rays to hold a current certification from another U.S. jurisdiction, while the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners does not recognize radiology certificates issued by other states or U.S. jurisdictions.