Becoming an Expanded Functions Dental Assistant (EFDA) is a goal that many dental assistants have. To answer your questions about how to earn this credential, we’ve turned to the experts. We spoke with Rebecca Anderson from the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). Rebecca travels around the country representing DANB at dental meetings and talking with dental assistants about their questions. Rebecca tells us how you can become an EFDA and take on more responsibilities around the office! 


Hi Rebecca, thanks for talking with us today! “How do I become an EFDA?” is one of the most popular questions. What should a dental assistant who wants to become an EFDA do first?

Rebecca: Becoming an EFDA is definitely one of the most common questions, but it can be confusing because each state is different. So, the first step is to look up the requirements in your state. DANB has a handy Search-by-State Map where you can look up every state with one click. Some states don’t use the term “EFDA” – they might have registration or licensure or some other credential like “EDDA” – Expanded Duties Dental Assistant. Believe it or not, there are 41 different titles for dental assistants in the United States!


That’s interesting! It makes moving to another state quite challenging, isn’t that right?

Rebecca: That’s true. But there are some things dental assistants can do. For example, to perform expanded functions, many states recognize dental assisting programs that are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, or CODA. DANB has a list of CODA-accredited programs on its website.


Good to know! But what if someone can’t go to a CODA-accredited program?

Rebecca: There is usually more than one way to become an EFDA or become qualified to perform expanded duties. Earning DANB certification, for example, is a great choice. DANB’s exams and certifications are recognized or required by 39 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Air Force, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. To learn more about earning DANB’s Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification or other certifications, visit the Exams & Certifications section of DANB’s website.


Thanks Rebecca! But what if someone still has questions?

Rebecca: If you’re still not sure, you can contact your state dental board, or contact DANB at


Are you an EFDA? What was the process like for you? Tell us in the comments!