Around the start of a new year, many dental assistants make personal and professional resolutions. For some, the latter might involve setting a goal to pursue continuing education to elevate their careers.

A new year also can spotlight the importance of earning or renewing DANB certification, which can be a critical asset for dental assistants’ professional development.

For those with their sights set on career advancement in 2021, why is DANB certification the perfect next step? There are many reasons.

1. Earn More

One of the top reasons to pursue DANB certification is that it can lead to a higher salary. In fact, DANB certificants earn $2 more per hour than dental assistants who are not certified, according to DANB’s 2018-2019 Dental Assistants Salary and Satisfaction Survey. See more survey results.

Katie L., CDA, is excited about her earning potential as a DANB certificant: “My husband is active-duty military, and I’ll be trying to find a new dental assistant job the next time we move. I’m confident that with DANB certification, I’ll be able to quickly find the right role for me, and be compensated accordingly.”


2. Learn More

Another key reason to pursue DANB certification is that it’s an investment in your education and future. Through earning and maintaining their DANB credentials, certificants can grow their knowledge base and skill sets, all while demonstrating their dedication to lifelong learning. Plus, certificants make a number of contributions to the dental practice, and are more likely to be seen as dental team leaders.

“I’ve learned so much in my career,” says Carmen M., CDA. “And I’ve recently earned CDA certification through DANB! Being a CDA certificant makes me feel strong in my position and full of knowledge that I can pass to my coworkers and my patients. I’m more confident now in my career.”

Natalie K., CDA, COA, CPFDA, CRFDA, CDPMA, COMSA, also credits DANB for helping her build a strong foundation to support a thriving career, even in an ever-changing profession. “Holding DANB certification is akin to maintaining a finger on the pulse of what you need to know in dental assisting,” she says.

Stand Out

Certificants also tend to have a professional advantage over their non-certified dental assistant colleagues, especially when transitioning to other roles at their current practice, or to a new office. Consider that some employers prefer to hire job candidates who hold DANB certification, and recruiters often seek out DANB certificants to fill dental assisting positions.

Additionally, through passing DANB exams, dental assistants can demonstrate knowledge in infection control — and potentially even step into infection control coordinator roles at the practice. Another key way that dental professionals, including assistants, can demonstrate infection control expertise — plus a commitment to dental patient and staff safety — is through completing the OSAP-DALE Foundation Dental Infection Prevention and Control Certificate Program™. Learn more.

Or, passing DANB’s Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam can position some dental assistants to meet requirements to perform expanded radiography duties in states where it’s allowed.

“Dental assisting is not an easy job, and I believe that everyone who is working as an assistant must be certified,” says Marcia A., who holds DANB’s RHS certificate of knowledge-based competence and is considering earning DANB certification. “When a dental assistant is certified, knowledgeable and experienced, it shows,” Marcia believes.

4. Achieve More with Pride

Lastly, having earned and maintained DANB certification is a great source of pride for motivated dental assistants.

“I’m proud that I pursued DANB CDA certification and enjoyed a fulfilling, satisfying dental assisting career,” shares Andrea S., CDA-Emeritus, who is now retired. “And I’m proud of all CDA certificants who have followed the same path — and especially those who are working during the pandemic.”

Natalie K. agrees wholeheartedly that DANB certificants deserve recognition, because certification is worth pursuing. In fact, for those who may be considering making a DANB certification new year’s resolution, Natalie asks: What are you waiting for?

“Being certified is a sign of achievement and fosters professional growth,” Natalie elaborates. “As a career dental assistant, I feel every dental assistant should become certified, maintain their certification and use the credentials proudly.”

Become DANB Certified

DANB’s certifications and exams are recognized or required by 37 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Earning DANB certification can help you qualify to perform expanded functions and additional duties.

To learn more about DANB exams and certification, visit