Colorado doesn’t require dental assistants to hold DANB certification. But that hasn’t stopped Janet Trujillo, CDA, from encouraging her dental assisting students at Pueblo Community College (PCC) in Pueblo, Colorado, to pursue DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification.


Benefits of Certification

As Department Chair of PCC’s dental assisting program, Janet often discusses the benefits of DANB certification with students. She and other faculty stress the sense of pride that comes with earning certification. In addition, the professional achievement reflects a commitment to dental assisting excellence and helps assistants stand out in the job market.

“DANB certification is like a gold star that says my students have the background and know the whys and hows of dental assisting,” she says. “By passing the DANB exam, they demonstrate that knowledge.”


Study Aids

PCC, which is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, prepares students for DANB exams. For example, the curriculum uses reference materials and textbooks that cover topics in the exams. The students also take a review course in their last semester before graduation.

“We refer to the DANB exams throughout the whole curriculum, whether we’re talking about radiology or quality assurance or imaging or safety,” Janet says.


Worth the Cost

About 20 percent to 25 percent of PCC dental assisting students take DANB exams after they graduate. Janet says the cost of the exams sometimes prevents the students from pursuing certification immediately after graduation. As a result, Janet is developing a scholarship program to help students pay for the exams. She expects PCC will award the inaugural round of scholarships to six or seven students in May. However, the long-term goal is to provide scholarships to all the dental assisting students in the class so they can pursue DANB certification.

“Offering scholarship opportunities will make a big difference,” she says.


How has DANB certification opened doors for your career? Tell us in the comments below.