12-week in-office dental assistant training curriculum now available to CDA members

In-office dental assistant training has arrived for the many CDA members who continue to have challenges finding and hiring qualified dental assistants for their practice.

The Dental Assistant Training curriculum provides 12 weeks of supportive online learning for use alongside in-office training to help get potential dental assistants trained efficiently and working in the practice as quickly as possible. The curriculum teaches participants the foundational skills required for a successful career in dental assisting, including for individuals who have no prior knowledge of or experience in dental care.

Helping to solve dental assistant shortages

Available to members for a nominal cost, the training curriculum is CDA’s latest offering to address, and help solve, the staffing shortages that dental practices throughout California are experiencing.

Surveys show dental staffing challenges persist across the U.S. In an ADA Health Policy Institute poll distributed in June to participating dentists, nearly 58% of respondents said recruiting for dental assistants was “extremely challenging” with another 33% calling it “very challenging.” Nearly 40% said they recently recruited or are currently recruiting dental assistants — more than any other position in the practice and slightly higher than the number reported just over a year ago.

Difficulties recruiting and maintaining dental assistants have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the “Great Resignation.” The training adds a new, immediately usable option for dental practices, building on CDA’s ongoing legislative and state budget advocacy, as well as the existing pilot training programs launched in 2021 as part of the Smile Crew CA campaign and in partnership with outside training partners.

Providing the core competencies: A closer look at the training

The Dental Assistant Training curriculum leverages the newest (13th) edition of “Modern Dental Assisting” allowing dentists to train a new dental assistant on the job in conjunction with supportive online courses.

Twelve weeks of online learning through individual lesson modules cover focus areas such as:

  • Dental terminology
  • HIPAA guidelines and policies
  • Infection control and aseptic techniques
  • Use and care of equipment and materials
  • Foundational procedure setups
  • Introductory chairside dental assisting techniques

In each lesson, interactive activities based on real scenarios test the trainees’ reading comprehension, and each lesson ends with an examination to ensure trainees’ full understanding of the content.

CDA members who want an even closer look at the content can watch a video highlight of the training, but course content can also be viewed easily within the learning platform.

The dental assistant trainee will need to complete separate required certifications to be able to sit for the RDA exam. Included in the dental assistant training materials is a link to training providers approved by the Dental Board of California for specific certifications.

Using additional recruiting and other resources from CDA

To help practice owners ensure their trainee is successful, purchase of the training curriculum comes with a brief introduction course for dentists that describes the program and explains how to use all the CDA recruiting, hiring, onboarding and training resources to assist with each step in bringing a dental assistant on board, from the pre-hiring assessment to managing expectations.

The entire curriculum is available to CDA members at special pricing of $255, and each unique license lets the dental assistant trainee access the online curriculum for three years.

Purchase the online curriculum now or learn more through the FAQ and video. Also available as a free benefit of membership is the Dental Assistant Training Roadmap — a downloadable set of CDA recruiting, hiring and onboarding resources.

To learn about other CDA efforts around dental staffing, including successful state budget advocacy and the Smile Crew CA dental assistant training bootcamps, visit the CDA newsroom.


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