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How to Become a Dental Assistant in Vermont

According to the State of Vermont Department of Labor, there were 521 dental assistants employed in the state as of 2012. Between 2012 and 2022, the number of dental assistant jobs in Vermont is expected to grow at a rate of 1.2 percent per year.

The Vermont Board of Dental Examiners is responsible for administering the laws governing dental health professionals in Vermont and for setting standards for the profession by proposing statutes and adopting administrative rules.

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Dental assistants in Vermont may be classified as:

  • Traditional dental assistants: Requires being employed as a traditional dental assistant in a dental office and registering with the Board of Dental Examiners within 30 days of being hired

Under direct supervision, traditional dental assistants may perform coronal polishing, take radiographs (under a special endorsement), apply dental sealants, and perform other extraoral duties assigned by the dentist.

  • DANB Certified Dental Assistants (CDA) with State Certification: Requires holding the national Dental Assistant National Board (DANB) Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification and becoming licensed by a Vermont licensed dentist

Under direct supervision, DANB certified dental assistants with state certification may monitor nitrous oxide analgesia and perform all duties classified under the DANB certification.

  • Expanded Function Dental Assistant: Requires holding a DANB CDA certification and achieving employment by a Vermont dentist or being a licensed dental hygienist; AND completing a formal CODA-accredited program in expanded functions

Dental Assistant Schools in Vermont

Although the completion of a formal dental assisting program is not a requirement to work as a dental assistant in Vermont, dental assistants with aspirations of becoming either DANB CDAs or expanded function dental assistants must consider a formal program in dental assisting.

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These programs may be offered through dental schools, community colleges, or vocational/technical schools, and most culminate in a clinical experience. A typical dental assisting program results in a certificate or associate’s degree in dental assisting and is usually less than a year in duration.

In addition to online programs, in Vermont there is one Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)-accredited program, as well as one in New Hampshire and two in New York.

Although dental assisting programs generally do not confer credentials beyond an associate’s degree, dental assistants with aspirations of broadening their professional opportunities may choose to pursue an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene, which may provide them with more responsibilities and duties within a dental practice. They may also pursue associate’s or bachelor’s degrees in office or business administration so as to achieve supervisory positions within a dental practice.

Certification Options for Dental Assistants in Vermont

National certification may be pursued for advanced dental assistant positions in Vermont, such as the Dental Assistant National Board (DANB) CDA or the expanded function dental assistant, or it may be pursued for professional growth, particularly in specialty dental practices.

To achieve a DANB CDA or expanded function dental assistant title in Vermont, individuals must take and pass the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination, which consists of three, separate component examinations:

  • General Chairside
  • Infection Control
  • Radiation Health and Safety

Likewise, to legally operate dental x-ray equipment and perform dental radiographic procedures in Vermont, candidates must be CDA certified.

Other certifications available through DANB include:

  • Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant (CRFDA)
  • Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA)
  • Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA)

All DANB certifications must be renewed annually upon the completion of at least 30 continuing education credits.

Radiographic Requirements for Dental Assistants in Vermont

Dental assistants in Vermont who want to operate dental x-ray equipment and perform dental radiographic procedures must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years olds
  • Be a DANB CDA or expanded function dental assistant
  • Complete a CODA-accredited radiographic course within 10 years of applying for the radiographic endorsement
  • Work as a dental assistant for at least 6 months
  • Apply to the Board of Dental Examiners for endorsement

How to Apply for Registration as a Traditional or Certified Dental Assistant

All dental assistants in Vermont must apply for registration to the Board of Dental Examiners within 30 days of being hired by a licensed dentist.

To apply for registration, applicants must complete all sections of the Application for Registration as a Dental Assistant (Traditional/Certified) and send it, along with a registration fee of $60 (made payable to the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office), to:

Vermont Secretary of State
Office of Professional Regulation
89 Main Street
Montpelier, VT 05620

Questions regarding the application process can be directed to: Diane Lafaille, Licensing Board Specialist, at 802-828-2390 or diane.lafaille@sec.state.vt.us.

Working as a Dental Assistant in Vermont

The Board of Dental Examiners lists a number of functions that dental assistants are not allowed to perform, regardless of their registration/title:

  • Any other intraoral procedure that results in an irremediable alteration of the oral anatomy
  • Authorization for prosthodontic, restorative, or orthodontic appliances
  • Diagnosis, treatment, and planning
  • Oral debridement
  • Oral prophylaxis
  • Periodontal descriptions
  • Placing sub-gingival chemotherapeutic agents
  • Prescriptions, including prescriptions for drugs and medicine
  • Surgical procedures on hard and soft tissues within the oral cavity

Resources for Vermont dental assistants are readily available for dental assistants seeking to meet employment and professional goals:

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