Dental assisting titles can be confusing, especially since there are so many different ones! We explain what you need to know.

Believe it or not, there are over 40 different job titles for dental assistants across the country.

Your job title, education and exam requirements, and even what functions you’re allowed to perform can change depending on the state where you work.

Each state has its own requirements for dental assistants, which can make it confusing if you’re planning on moving.

We’ve answered some of the most commonly asked questions to help you understand your state’s requirements.


How can I check my state’s requirements?

Dental assisting requirements, job titles and allowable functions vary from state to state. And while some states have only one level of dental assistant, other states have up to five different levels and job titles. Visit the Dental Assisting Board, Inc. (DANB)’s Search-by-State Map to look up the requirements in each state.


What is an EFDA? Or an RDA?

These acronyms are all examples of dental assisting credentials and some of the titles states use. For example, EFDA stands for Expanded Functions Dental Assistant, RDA stands for Registered Dental Assistant. Your state might not offer one of these credentials, but instead allow you to become qualified or earn a state certificate in certain duties.


What if I don’t want to start over in a new state?

That is one of the biggest challenges as a dental assistant if you plan on moving. Since each state is different, you may find yourself not being able to work at the same level without more exams, education, or training. Although there is no hard-and-fast rule, there are a couple things you can do to make it easier to relocate:

  • Attend a CODA-accredited program
    If you can, attending a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)-accredited program is a good idea, since many states recognize or require these programs.
  • Earn DANB certification
    DANB 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.


What’s your job title? Do you think one day there will be uniform requirements? Let us know in the comments!