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How Long Does It Take to Become A Dental Assistant at An Accredited School?

How Long Does It Take to Become A Dental Assistant at An Accredited School?

How long does it take to become a dental assistant?  That’s a question a lot of young professionals are asking themselves today.  The field of dental assistants is exploding, being a relatively cheap and easy way to move into the medical industry, and with good pay and benefits as well.  It’s increasingly being seen as a strong alternative to more traditional office-based jobs or a way to work in medicine without the incredible time and money investment it takes to get a full PhD.

So, in this article, we’ll look at your options in becoming a dental assistant.

Becoming A Dental Assistant: The Two Types of Assistant

Here in New York, the state mandates are not as stringent regarding the amount of training a dental assistant must-have.   However, that doesn’t mean you can just walk into a job.  You will still want to receive accreditation, and there are two options for that: becoming a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) or a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).

In terms of job responsibilities, there is very little difference between RDAs and CDAs.  However, there is a major difference in accreditation.  When someone is a CDA, that means they have specifically passed a series of tests offered by the Dental Assisting National Board, considered the highest national body overseeing dental assistants.  An RDA, by comparison, must merely qualify under their local state requirements.

Basically, in New York, it is faster and easier to become an RDA, but a CDA will be better-respected and likely to land better and/or higher-paying jobs.

Three Ways to Become A Dental Assistant

So, how long does it take to become a dental assistant?  It depends on your career path.

  1. On-The-Job Training.  If you can join a dental clinic willing to take you on as an apprentice, you would need 3,500 hours of on-the-job training to qualify for the national CDA examinations.
  2. Associate Degree.  If you choose to get an associate degree from an accredited school, you’ll be looking at about two years of college.  However, you also get a higher education degree that could be leveraged in the future.
  3. Accredited Training.  If you attend an accredited school specifically focused on training dental assistants, you could qualify for the exam in nine to eleven months.

Westchester Medical and Dental Assistant Training

In other words, you could potentially be in a lucrative and enriching new career in less than a year!  Contact the Westchester School for Dental Assistants to learn more.


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