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How to Become a Dental Assistant in Illinois

How to Become a Dental Assistant in Illinois

If you have a passion for oral health and enjoy working with people, a career as a dental assistant might be a perfect fit for you. Dental assistants play a crucial role in dental offices, providing support to both dentists and patients. In the state of Illinois, there are certain requirements and steps you need to follow to become a dental assistant. This article will guide you through the process and answer some commonly asked questions.

Education and Training

While Illinois does not have specific educational requirements for dental assistants, completing a dental assisting program is highly recommended. These programs are offered by community colleges, vocational schools, and dental schools. They typically take around one year to complete and can provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in this field.

During your training, you will learn about dental terminology, oral anatomy, dental procedures, infection control, and radiography. You will also gain hands-on experience through internships or clinical rotations, where you will work alongside experienced dental professionals.

Certification and Registration

Although not mandatory in Illinois, obtaining national certification can significantly enhance your employment prospects. The Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) offers the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) credential, which is recognized nationwide. To become a CDA, you must pass three exams: Radiation Health and Safety, Infection Control, and General Chairside Assisting.

In addition to national certification, you may also choose to register with the Illinois Dental Assistants Association (IDAA). Registration with the IDAA demonstrates your commitment to professionalism and ongoing education within the field.

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Licensure and Expanded Functions

Illinois offers dental assistants the opportunity to perform expanded functions under the supervision of a licensed dentist. Expanded functions may include placing and removing dental dams, applying topical fluoride, taking impressions, and performing coronal polishing.

To qualify for expanded functions, you must complete an approved course and pass the corresponding examination. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) provides a list of approved courses and examinations on their website.


Q: How long does it take to become a dental assistant in Illinois?

A: The timeline for becoming a dental assistant in Illinois can vary. Completing a dental assisting program typically takes around one year. However, it may take longer if you choose to pursue national certification or additional training for expanded functions.

Q: How much does a dental assistant earn in Illinois?

A: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for dental assistants in Illinois is around $40,000. However, this can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and the type of dental office.

Q: Can I work as a dental assistant without certification?

A: While certification is not mandatory in Illinois, it is highly recommended. Many employers prefer to hire certified dental assistants as it demonstrates a certain level of competence and dedication to the profession.

Q: Are there any continuing education requirements for dental assistants in Illinois?

A: Illinois does not have specific continuing education requirements for dental assistants. However, staying up-to-date with the latest advancements in dental technology and techniques is crucial for career growth and professional development.

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Q: Can dental assistants perform X-rays in Illinois?

A: Yes, dental assistants in Illinois can perform dental X-rays. However, they must complete a course and pass the Radiation Health and Safety exam offered by the DANB.

In conclusion, becoming a dental assistant in Illinois requires completing a dental assisting program, obtaining national certification, and potentially pursuing additional training for expanded functions. While certification is not mandatory, it can significantly enhance your career prospects. By following the outlined steps and staying committed to professional development, you can embark on a rewarding career in dental assisting.

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