Education Career Articles

Connect Facebook Connect Twitter Connect Google+ Connect Pinterest Connect Stumbleupon

How to Become a Pediatric Dental Assistant

Job Descriptions November 6, 2012

A Pediatric Dental Assistant (PDA) is a professional who assists dentists in working with children as patients. In other words, the assistant works to improve the efficiency of a pediatric dentist in their treatment of children and related work. At times, a PDA may be required to do administrative work in the dentist’s office. To be eligible to do the work of a dental assistant, a high-school diploma is usually called for; in addition, a certificate is required. Such certification is awarded to an individual who pass a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) training program that carries the American Dental Association (the ADA) accreditation. Licensing or registration is mandatory in certain states.

Duties of a Pediatric Dental Assistant

The actual duties of a PDA can vary from state to state as defined by the rules and regulations, the individual’s primary responsibility is to tend to young patient in order to ensure their comfort. The assistant is responsible for administrative duties at a dentist’s office; their duties include ensuring dental tools are sterilized and set up, the examination room is cleaned while rendering assistance in various dental processes. In some states, the assistant is expected to apply fluoride treatments, take x-rays and advise patients about taking care of appliances that facilitate orthodontic treatment.

The Route to Becoming a Pediatric Dental Assistant

The ADA does not distinguish between a PDA and an ordinary office assistant working in a dentist’s office; therefore, a person who aspires to become a PDA must meet the same qualifications requirement of a dental office assistant. Apart from on-the-job training, a PDA can achieve accreditation via a six to twelve months training program undertaken at an accredited college followed by taking the certification test.  PDAs who choose to receive on-the-job training can take the test for certification by completing two years working at the dentist’s office. In 2002, as many as 256 dental assistant training programs in the United States enjoyed accreditation (source: ADA website, www.ada.org).

The Skills Needed

While specific knowledge and skills are mandatory for the efficient performance of duties by the assistant, a PDA is required to remain calm in their disposition and able to suppress the sense of fear and anxiety that young patients may have. Additionally, PDAs must perform duties similar to those of dental office assistants. Such duties may require them to create protocols relating to infection control to prevent infections from getting transferred from patients to staff or to other patients.

Career Prospect

Dental office assistants enjoy great job outlook (PDAs are not separately categorized) and the growth rate of jobs projected to be above average during the next decade. This is possibly due to younger dentists who have several assistants helping unlike dentists in the past where they relied primarily on one assistant. The figures for 2012 show variation in the wages earned by dental office assistants across the United States with average hourly wages ranging between $12.00 to $17.50 (source: www.bls.gov).

Showing schools in your area

Matching School Ads
3 Program(s) Found
  • The Fortis Dental Assistant program teaches skills through hands-on experience
  • Students will be shown how to work chair-side as dentists examine & treat patients
  • All Fortis colleges are accredited by ABHES, ACCSC, ACICS, or others
  • Fortis has a dedicated team in place to support US military students
  • Provides guidance & assistance to students exploring their financial aid options
Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
1 Program(s) Found
  • Provides the healthcare knowledge & technical skills students need to get ahead
  • SACS accredited with campuses in VA, FL, NC, SC & flexible online & on-campus courses
  • US News & World Report ranks Online Bachelor’s Programs among top 10%
  • Supportive learning atmosphere with small class sizes & plenty of academic support
  • Qualifying students can take faith in EPCI’s unwavering Fixed Tuition Pledge
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Ultimate Medical Academy is a nonprofit healthcare career school—and students are at the heart of everything we do.
  • That’s why we offer exclusive student services through your career training and beyond, beginning from the time you enroll online or at our campus in Clearwater, FL.
  • We’ll also guide you toward the right program for your goals, and help you understand the affordability of your career training.
  • So let us know you’re interested, and we’ll discuss how UMA can help you succeed.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Find Online Schools. 100% Online Accredited Courses
  • Get Matched to Programs In A Few Clicks!
  • Earn an Affordable Degree from Home at your own pace
  • Get College info today. Its Free and Easy!
  • Online Courses
  • eLearners.com Helps You Find the Right College within Minutes.
  • Get Matched to the Perfect Medical Degree Programs From Top Colleges Here.
  • Learn at Your Own Pace and Get Qualified to Pursue a Career You Will Love.
  • Answer a Few Questions and You Are One Step Closer to Enroll in a Top College!
  • Online Courses

Showing schools in your area

Matching School Ads
1 Program(s) Found
  • Ultimate Medical Academy is a nonprofit healthcare career school—and students are at the heart of everything we do.
  • That’s why we offer exclusive student services through your career training and beyond, beginning from the time you enroll online or at our campus in Clearwater, FL.
  • We’ll also guide you toward the right program for your goals, and help you understand the affordability of your career training.
  • So let us know you’re interested, and we’ll discuss how UMA can help you succeed.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Find Online Schools. 100% Online Accredited Courses
  • Get Matched to Programs In A Few Clicks!
  • Earn an Affordable Degree from Home at your own pace
  • Get College info today. Its Free and Easy!
  • Online Courses
  • eLearners.com Helps You Find the Right College within Minutes.
  • Get Matched to the Perfect Medical Degree Programs From Top Colleges Here.
  • Learn at Your Own Pace and Get Qualified to Pursue a Career You Will Love.
  • Answer a Few Questions and You Are One Step Closer to Enroll in a Top College!
  • Online Courses

Login to your account

Can't remember your Password ?

Register for this site!