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How to Become a Dental Assistant in Mississippi

Entry-level dental assistants in Mississippi need not fulfill any special licensing requirements, under the rules of the Mississippi State Board of Dental Examiners. In order to operate x-ray equipment and take dental radiographs, however, dental assistants in Mississippi must be properly educated and trained.

As this is a common requirement for dental assistant jobs in Mississippi, many dental assistants choose to complete optional educational and examination requirements and become nationally certified. This education and training shows prospective employers that a job candidate meets recognized competency standards for the profession.

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Meeting the Requirements to Become a Dental Assistant in Mississippi

Basic Dental Assistant – Dental assistants in Mississippi are not required by law to fulfill any licensing requirements in order to legally work in the state, although employers routinely seek job candidates qualified through education, CDA certification or experience.

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Dental assistants must complete CPR training and maintain this certification.

This basic type of entry-level dental assistant may perform simple, supportive dental procedures specified in Mississippi’s Dental Practice Act and only under a licensed dentist’s direct supervision.

Authorized to Operate Radiographic Equipment – In order to operate radiographic equipment and take dental x-rays, dental assistants in Mississippi must fulfill certain requirements. The Mississippi Board of Dental Examiners’ educational requirement for dental assistants who wish to obtain a radiographic permit offers candidates many options. In order to obtain a radiographic permit, dental assistants in Mississippi must fulfill ONE of the following:

  • Graduate from a dental assisting program that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) within 12 months of applying for the permit. CODA-accredited programs in Mississippi are located in:
    • Raymond
    • Meridian
    • Hattiesburg

OR

  • Graduate from a dental assisting program that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) more than 12 months from applying for the permit, and provide sworn statements from previous employers of having assisted in administering dental x-rays during the five years preceding the application.

OR

  • Complete a Board-approved radiology seminar and exam within 90 days of applying for the radiographic permit (a list of Board-approved radiology seminars is available here). As of 2014, radiology seminars are held a few times a year in the following Mississippi cities:
    • Jackson
    • Hattiesburg
    • Horn Lake
    • Meridian
    • Gulfport
    • Booneville
    • Pascagoula

OR

  • Complete the requirements to obtain the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) credential.
    • In order to sit for the exam, an aspiring dental assistant must meet one of the following educational requirements:
      • Have a high school diploma/GED and 3500 hours of approved work experience

OR

OR

  • Had a CDA credential in the past, or completed a CODA-accredited dentistry education program, or completed a dental degree program in another country
  • Pass the DANB Certified Dental Assistant Exam, consisting of three sections:
    • General Chairside Assisting – 120 multiple-choice questions Infection Control – 100 multiple-choice questions
    • Radiation Health and Safety – 100 multiple-choice questions
    • The CDA exam is given at Pearson Vue testing centers. In Mississippi and nearby states, these testing centers can be found in:
      • Tupelo
      • Jackson
      • Mobile, AL
      • Birmingham, AL,
      • Montgomery, AL
      • Baton Rouge, LA
      • Metairie, LA
      • Memphis, TN
      • Decatur, AL

Once the educational requirement of the Mississippi State Board of Dental Examiners has been fulfilled, those who wish to take dental x-rays in Mississippi must apply for a radiographic permit by completing the Application for Mississippi Radiology Permit. Along with the completed application, applicants must send:

  • A color passport-sized photo of the applicant, taken no more than 6 months prior to the application date
  • Have the dental assisting program mail an official transcript to the Board(if applicable)
  • Have previous employers from the past five years send sworn statements to the Board attesting that the dental assistants has or has not administered radiographs as part of the dental assisting duties (if applicable)
  • Copy of DANB CDA certification card (if applicable)
  • Copy of Mississippi Board-approved radiology seminar certificate of completion (if applicable)
  • Check or money order for $60 payable to Mississippi State Board of Dental Examiners

Everything should be mailed to the Mississippi State Board of Dental Examiners, Suite 100, 600 East Amite Street, Jackson, MS 39201-2801.

Maintaining a Dental Assistant Certification and Radiographic Permit in Mississippi

The DANB’s national CDA credential renews every two years. All CDAs must complete 12 continuing dental education credits each year in order to renew their credential (although the DANB recommends completing more than 12 CDEs per year). CDE must be relevant to the practice of dental assisting in order to count for credit.

The types of CDE that CDAs may complete include:

  • Clinical Practice – may account for a maximum of 12 CDEs per two –year certification period
  • DANB and other dental related exams – may account for a maximum of 12 CDEs per two –year certification period
  • Dental Office Management – may account for a maximum of 3 CDEs per two –year certification period
  • Volunteer service or scholarly activity – may account for a maximum of 3 CDEs per two –year certification period
  • Programs must be at least 45 minutes long to qualify for CDE credit
  • All CDE may be earned through online providers

Additional information on the DANB’s continuing dental education program may be found at the DANB website.

A radiographic permit for dental assistants in Mississippi renews every two years. Renewals are handled online, where renewal fees may also be paid. No continuing education is required to renew a radiographic permit for dental assistants in Mississippi.

Additionally, ALL dental assistants in Mississippi must maintain CPR certification.

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