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).

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
1 Program(s) Found
  • Part of the Lincoln Group of Schools.
  • Lincoln Group of Schools made over $12 million available through scholarships to qualified students in 2014.
  • Lincoln Group of Schools were designated a Military Friendly School for the 6th year in a row by Victory Media.
  • Campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) and Accrediting Commission of Career Schools (ACCSC).
  • 8 campuses across the United States.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
2 Program(s) Found
  • Part of the Lincoln Group of Schools.
  • Lincoln Group of Schools made over $12 million available through scholarships to qualified students in 2014.
  • Designated a Military Friendly School for the 6th year in a row by Victory Media.
  • First campus was opened in 1946, now with 22 campuses across the United States.
  • Campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), Accrediting Commission of Career Schools (ACCSC), and Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Financial Aid
4 Program(s) Found
  • Dedicated to providing a hands-on, career-focused education since 1953.
  • Offers classes online, as well as at 14 campuses across California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois and Virginia.
  • Develops curriculum with input from employers, subject matter experts.
  • Has small class sizes to promote one-on-one, student-teacher interaction.
  • Makes no-cost tutoring available in every subject to every enrolled student.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
2 Program(s) Found
Fortis Institute , Montgomery
  • Provides a 24/7 myCampusLink system that lets students access their records, e-mail, communicate with faculty, and more.
  • Designated a 2014 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
  • Educates with the mission to serve the needs of the local community and graduates by matching opportunities to skills.
  • Offers career education in nursing, dental, business, information technology, and more. 
  • Has 44 campus locations across 15 states, with online options as well.
Show more [+]
  • Financial Aid
1 Program(s) Found
ITT Technical Institute , Rancho Cordova
  • Students who qualify may apply for the Opportunity Scholarship, which can help lower education costs.
  • Offers career-focused, degree programs to over 70,000 students at over 140 ITT Technical Institutes in 35 states.
  • Classes are offered year-round, with day and evening course options.
  • Online courses can be accessed from anywhere, 24 hours a day.
  • Nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.
Show more [+]
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
  • Has taught thousands of graduates since its founding in 1989 as a career training school.
  • Proud to be a Microsoft IT Academy member.
  • Offers English as a Second Language programs to international students through their ESL Academy campuses in Illinois and Massachusetts.
  • Aims to provide quality, career-focused training led by enthusiastic professionals.
  • Established with campuses in Skokie, Chicago, Elgin, and Gurnee, Illinois.
  • Presents several scholarships—including military and merit-based awards for those who qualify.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
1 Program(s) Found
  • Provides a 24/7 myCampusLink system that lets students access their records, e-mail, communicate with faculty, and more.
  • Designated a 2014 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
  • Educates with the mission to serve the needs of the local community and graduates by matching opportunities to skills.
  • Offers career education in nursing, dental, business, information technology, and more. 
  • Has 44 campus locations across 15 states, with online options as well.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid

Login to your account

Can't remember your Password ?

Register for this site!