Dental Assistant Radiology and X-Ray Certification Information

Read details about how dental assistants can achieve radiology and x-ray certification. Find information about course topics, clinical training, continuing education options and employment statistics, including salary trends, for those certified in this field.

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Essential Information

Dental assistants certified in x-ray and radiation techniques must be aware of and employ proper safety procedures to reduce risks. Certification programs for a dental assistant help develop a student's theoretical and practical knowledge of x-rays used in a dental setting. Radiology and x-ray certification for dental assistants typically consists of one course in which students learn, in a mostly interactive environment, the techniques involved in using and developing dental x-rays. Students also learn about the properties of radiation and x-ray production as well as becoming familiar with the equipment used and the techniques involved in processing film. This certification is also helpful for dental hygienists. After completing a certification program, individuals may be required to register with the State Board of Dental Examiners. Most certification programs require a high school diploma as well as three months of on-the-job training.

Program Coursework

In general, certification programs entail two educational components - a lecture session and a clinical session. The latter includes a hands-on and demonstrative approach, exercising the concepts taught in the lecture session. Elements of this certification course may include:

  • X-ray exposure and evaluation
  • Radiology safety
  • Film processing
  • Mounting and labeling radiographs
  • Radiation biology
  • Darkroom procedures
  • Troubleshooting and processing errors

Employment Outlook and Career Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), between 2010 and 2020, employment for dental assistants was expected to grow 31% (www.bls.gov). Job prospects were anticipated to be excellent. As of May 2012, the median annual salary of a dental assistant was $34,500 (BLS data).

Continuing Education

After completing certification (including clinical experience), an individual is qualified to take x-rays in a dental environment. X-ray and radiology certification is suited for dental assistants wishing to take the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) examination in order to become a CDA.

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