If you plan to pursue dentistry as a career, you can start out as a dental assistant.
Note that there is a difference between the entry-level dental assistant position and the Expanded Functions Dental Assistant occupational role.
- License Requirement to Become a Dental Assistant in Pennsylvania
- 5 Dental Assistant Schools in Pennsylvania
- Frequently Asked Questions
License Requirement to Become a Dental Assistant in Pennsylvania
The state of Pennsylvania requires Expanded Function Dental Assistants (EFDA) to pass an exam assessing what they learned in a training program approved by the State Board of Dentistry.
Persons wishing to serve as a general Dental Assistant, however, have no educational or certification requirements.
Still, most DAs do end up seeking at least a certificate training, which usually takes between six and nine months to complete.
5 Dental Assistant Schools in Pennsylvania
You do not need to visit the Fortis campus for an in-person interview as of 2022.
A remote interview and application would serve your purpose to enter this school’s Dental Assisting and Expanded Functions Dental Assisting programs.
Training duration usually takes a year or two, depending on your career goals.
Expanded duties that you would learn how to perform include providing temporary crowns and bridges, taking dental x-rays and applying sealants, and providing whitening treatments.
You also will learn how to give patients anesthesia or administer fluoride treatments.
This coursework will introduce you to a variety of orthodontic techniques too.
2. All-State Career
If you have an interest in restorative dentistry, or work as an oral healthcare worker, you might want to consider the Expanded Functions Dental Assisting training track brought to you by All-State Career.
This program, which you could complete in about a year, will make you comfortable with dentist chair side assistance and work in an operating room or treatment room with a dentist present.
This EFDA will introduce you to the world of restorative dental materials and procedures.
In addition, you will learn how to sterilize instruments and set them up in their holding tray.
This instruction will also prepare you for removing debris in between teeth.
Some administrative and records keeping advice will also be given, and you may take X-rays, apply sealant, and other duties.
3. Berks Technical Institute (BTI)
Your training at Berks Technical Institute will teach you how to make a dental patient feel at ease.
Moreover, this school has the equipment to prepare you for a real-world work setting.
Your BTI dental assisting training program will also teach you how to schedule appointments and prepare patients for dental procedures.
In addition, you would become accustomed to sterilizing dental instruments, providing patients with instructions before oral care and following surgery, and taking X-rays.
You will also learn foundations, such as the pharmacology, microbiology, and morphology related to teeth.
During this 18-month program, your instructors will also make sure you understand dental history, laws, ethics, and specialties.
4. Institute of Medical and Business Careers
IMBC offers a dental assisting diploma program designed for people with busy schedules.
This coursework includes classroom instruction and an internship that teaches you equipment sterilization techniques that line up with OSHA, OSAP, and EPA standards.
While enrolled in this training, which takes about a year, you will learn how to help patients before, during, and after their dental procedures.
Instructors also prepare you for assisting with dental treatments.
For instance, you will learn how to take vital signs and offer care to patients after surgery, restorative dentistry appointments, teeth pulling, and routine cleanings.
5. YTI Career Institute
YTI has a nine-month Dental Assisting program that includes background anatomy and physiology training related to the head and neck.
This coursework will help you develop both digital and manual X-Ray taking and processing skills.
In addition, you will assist dentists with instrument sterilization, lab procedures, chairside treatments, and supply ordering.
You also will become comfortable performing front-end duties, such as checking in patients or processing their dental records.
Dental Assistant Schools in Pennsylvania – Summary Table
Top 5 Schools in Pennsylvania
|Fortis College||517 Ash St, Scranton, PA 18509|
|All-State Career||1200 Lebanon Rd #101, West Mifflin, PA 15122|
|Berks Technical Institute (BTI)||2205 Ridgewood Rd, Wyomissing, PA 1961|
|Institute of Medical and Business Careers||133 Jefferson Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15235|
|YTI Career Institute||1405 Williams Rd, York, PA 17402|
The average Dental Assistant salary reported in April 2022 totals about $40,728 per year.
The range for this profession equals approximately $36,122-$45,191.
Expanded Function Dental Assistants may make about $5,000-$10,000 more, depending on how many years they already practiced.
Examples of PA cities where you can find Dental Assistant jobs include Pittsburg, Harrisburg, Indiana, and Johnstown.Annual Salary Range:
Average Salary of Dental Assistants in Pennsylvania
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does Pennsylvania Dental Assistant licensing cost?
Entry-level dental assistants do not need to have a license.
However, EFDA assistants, dental hygienists, and dentists must pay $75.00 for the first time.
Then, they have to renew this license every two years.
This does not include the cost of formal training.
Likewise, it also does not cover the expense of preparing for and taking the certification exam required to become a dental assistant.
What is an Entry-Level Dental Assistant?
An entry-level dental assistant plays more of a supportive role than having direct contact with patients’ teeth.
For instance, they might sterilize all the equipment and help patients fill out their forms.
In addition, they will answer phone calls or perform non-invasive dental care activities.
They do not perform any tasks usually assigned by an EFDA.
What is an Expanded Functions Dental Assistant?
Every state has its own specialties that they classify as Expanded Functions Dental Assistant (EFDA) services.
For Pennsylvania, this includes the ability to remove or replace rubber dams, perform some restorative material placements and polish the teeth.
A DA in this state also can perform fluoride treatments and seal the teeth.
What cannot a dental assistant do?
They usually do not clean teeth or perform any tasks that require a drill or dental prick.
They also cannot perform treatments, administer medications or give patients anesthesia.
It is important to review current guidelines, some of which you can find here.
Your instructors will help you understand what you are allowed to do in PA as an entry-level dentist.
How long does dental assistant training take?
Dental assistant training can take you from about nine months to two years.
The second year usually includes courses you could apply to a dental hygienist or dental laboratory technician.
At this point, you would be about a third of the way to becoming a dentist, which takes about six to eight years.
Who does a PA dental assistant work for?
Some places you could work as a DA in the state include general dentistry, pediatric, or orthodontics practice.
You might also be interested in opportunities at endodontics, oral surgery, and periodontics clinics.
In addition, you might find work at a college or non-profit clinic.