Top 11 Orthodontic Assistant Certifications

This article will provide an overview of the top certifications available for orthodontic assistants, including required courses and qualifications.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 16 min read

Certifications are important for an orthodontic assistant in the job market because they demonstrate a level of knowledge, expertise, and professionalism that employers look for when hiring. Certifications also give orthodontic assistants more credibility in the workplace and provide them with additional opportunities to advance their careers. A certification can also provide a competitive edge in the job market as it shows potential employers that the individual is dedicated to learning more about their profession and taking on additional responsibilities.

The purpose of this article is to review some of the top certifications for Orthodontic Assistants and explain how they can help enhance an orthodontic assistant's career.

What are Orthodontic Assistant Certifications?

Orthodontic assistant certification is a form of certification that is designed to provide orthodontic assistants with the knowledge and skills needed to perform their job duties. This certification helps orthodontic assistants become more knowledgeable in areas such as patient care, treatment planning, laboratory procedures, and radiographic imaging. It also helps them stay up-to-date with the most current advances in technology, materials, and techniques used in orthodontics.

By obtaining orthodontic assistant certification, an orthodontic assistant can demonstrate their commitment to providing quality patient care and show employers that they have the knowledge and skill to handle various tasks related to their job. The certification also serves as a way for them to stay current on the latest developments within the field of orthodontics. Furthermore, having this type of certification can often lead to higher wages or other benefits within the workplace.

Pro Tip: Make sure to stay up to date with the latest changes in orthodontic assistant certification requirements. Different states and provinces have different rules and regulations, so it's important to stay on top of any new developments that may affect your certification.

Related: What does an Orthodontic Assistant do?

Top 11 Orthodontic Assistant Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Orthodontic Assistants today.

1. Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA)

Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA) is a certification program offered by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). It is designed to recognize orthodontic assistants who have achieved a high level of knowledge and skill in the field. The COA certification requires successful completion of an examination that tests knowledge and skills related to patient care, orthodontic materials, instruments, and equipment.

The COA certification process takes approximately 4-6 months to complete. To become certified as a COA, applicants must first pass the AAO's written exam. After passing the exam, applicants must then complete a hands-on clinical assessment with an AAO-approved supervisor. Finally, applicants must submit documentation of their completed education and training requirements in order to be eligible for the COA certification.

The cost for obtaining the COA certification varies depending on the applicant's individual circumstances. Generally speaking, it costs around $500-$600 for all required exams, assessments, and materials needed for certification.

2. Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)

A Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) is a dental assistant who has achieved certification through the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). The CDA credential signifies that the dental assistant has met certain standards of knowledge and skill in the field of dentistry.

In order to become a CDA, an individual must have completed a minimum of 500 hours of on-the-job training or an accredited dental assisting program, pass a written exam administered by DANB, and complete a practical exam administered by an approved testing agency.

The length of time it takes to become certified depends on the individual's experience and education level. For those with no prior experience or education in dental assisting, it can take up to two years to complete all the requirements for certification. Those with prior experience or education may be able to complete all requirements within one year.

To get certified as a CDA, individuals must first register with DANB and submit proof of their educational background and/or work experience. Once registered, they must then take and pass the written exam administered by DANB. After passing the written exam, they must then take and pass the practical exam administered by an approved testing agency.

The cost of becoming a CDA varies depending on which exams are taken and how many times they are taken. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $400-$700 for registration fees, written exams, and practical exams combined.

3. American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) Certification

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) Certification is a voluntary certification program that recognizes orthodontists who have demonstrated advanced knowledge and skills in the practice of orthodontics. The AAO Certification is awarded after a rigorous process that includes an extensive written examination, peer review, and a clinical examination.

It typically takes two to three years to complete the certification process. During this time, orthodontists must complete a minimum of 150 hours of continuing education credits in addition to their regular clinical practice. They must also pass the written exam and submit three cases for peer review. Finally, they must pass the clinical examination which assesses their ability to diagnose and treat various orthodontic problems.

To get AAO Certification, orthodontists must first apply for eligibility through the AAO website. Once approved, they can begin the certification process by completing the required coursework and passing both the written and clinical examinations.

The cost for achieving AAO Certification varies depending on each individual's situation but typically ranges from $2,500 - $4,000 USD including application fees and exam fees.

4. National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology (NBCDLT)

The National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology (NBCDLT) is an independent, non-profit organization that provides certification to dental laboratory technicians. The NBCDLT was established in 2004 to promote the highest standards of quality and safety in dental laboratory technology. The NBCDLT offers two levels of certification: Certified Dental Technician (CDT) and Master Dental Technician (MDT).

To become certified, individuals must meet certain educational requirements and pass a comprehensive exam. To qualify for the CDT certification, applicants must have at least two years of experience as a dental lab technician and complete either a two-year accredited program or a four-year bachelor's degree program in dental laboratory technology. For the MDT certification, applicants must have at least five years of experience as a dental lab technician and complete either a four-year bachelor's degree program or an advanced master's degree program in dental laboratory technology.

The application process typically takes 4-6 weeks from start to finish. The cost of the exam varies depending on the level of certification being sought; however, it generally ranges from $400-$600 USD.

5. American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) Certification

The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) is a professional organization that offers certification for orthodontists. This certification is considered the highest level of recognition in the field and is a mark of excellence in orthodontic care. The ABO was established in 1929 and its mission is to promote excellence in the practice of orthodontics through a rigorous process of testing, evaluation, and peer review.

To become certified by the ABO, an orthodontist must first complete an accredited residency program and be licensed to practice dentistry or orthodontics. After this, they must pass both written and clinical examinations administered by the board. The written exam consists of two parts: a comprehensive written examination on all aspects of orthodontic treatment planning, diagnosis, and management; and an oral examination on specific topics related to clinical practice. The clinical exam requires candidates to demonstrate their skills in treating patients with various types of malocclusions.

The entire process takes approximately two years to complete, depending on how quickly you can prepare for the exams. It also requires a significant financial commitment as there are fees associated with each step along the way. In total, it can cost up to $10,000 or more depending on your individual situation.

Once certified, an orthodontist will receive a certificate from the ABO that attests to their expertise in providing quality patient care and demonstrates their commitment to continuing education in order to stay current with advances in technology and techniques within the field.

6. Certified Clinical Dental Technician (CCDT)

Certified Clinical Dental Technician (CCDT) is a professional certification that recognizes dental technicians who have achieved the highest level of clinical proficiency in their field. CCDT certification is granted by the National Board for Certification in Dental Technology (NBCDT). It is a voluntary certification that demonstrates a technician’s commitment to excellence and patient safety.

To become certified, applicants must meet certain educational and experience requirements, pass an exam, and submit to a criminal background check. The educational requirements include completion of an accredited dental technology program or equivalent training, as well as successful completion of at least three years of clinical experience in the field.

The exam consists of both written and practical components, testing knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathology, materials science, dental laboratory techniques, and other relevant topics. The practical portion includes fabrication of restorations on models and wax-ups according to NBCDT standards.

The cost for CCDT certification varies depending on the type of application being submitted (initial or renewal). Initial applications typically cost $500-$600 while renewal applications cost around $200-$300.

Overall, it takes approximately two years to complete all the requirements for CCDT certification.

7. Radiography Certification for Orthodontic Assistants

Radiography Certification for Orthodontic Assistants is a certification that allows orthodontic assistants to take radiographs of patients’ teeth and jaws. This certification is required in order to perform radiographic procedures in an orthodontic office.

The process of becoming certified typically takes around 6-8 weeks, depending on the individual state’s requirements. In order to become certified, orthodontic assistants must complete a course approved by their state dental board. The course typically covers topics such as radiation safety, radiation protection, and radiographic techniques. After completing the course, applicants must pass a written exam in order to obtain their certification.

The cost of obtaining Radiography Certification for Orthodontic Assistants varies from state to state. Generally speaking, the cost can range from $200-$500 and may include additional fees for materials or textbooks.

Once certified, orthodontic assistants will be able to take radiographs of patients’ teeth and jaws safely and accurately in accordance with their state regulations.

8. OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Training

OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Training is a comprehensive program designed to educate workers on the risks of exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials. The training covers topics such as the transmission of bloodborne pathogens, how to protect oneself from exposure, and what to do in the event of an exposure. It also includes information about medical surveillance, post-exposure follow-up procedures, and personal protective equipment (PPE). The training typically takes between one and two hours to complete and can be completed online or in a classroom setting. Most employers offer this training free of charge to their employees; however, some may require a fee for the course.

9. CPR/AED Certification

CPR/AED Certification is a certification that teaches individuals how to properly perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use an automated external defibrillator (AED). CPR/AED Certification is important for those who work in healthcare, as well as those who are around people in their daily lives. It can help save the life of someone who has gone into cardiac arrest.

The length of time it takes to get certified depends on the type of course you take. Most CPR/AED courses are offered online and can be completed in as little as 4 hours. In-person classes usually last between 4-8 hours depending on the instructor and level of instruction desired.

To get certified, you must first find a course that meets your needs. You can search online for courses or contact local organizations such as the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association for more information about courses near you. Once you have chosen a course, you will need to register and pay any applicable fees. After completing the course, you will receive a certification card or certificate verifying your completion of the course.

The cost of CPR/AED Certification varies depending on where you take the class and what type of certification you are seeking. Online courses typically range from $25-$100, while in-person classes can cost anywhere from $50-$200 depending on the instructor and level of instruction desired.

10. Infection Control Certification

Infection Control Certification is a credential that demonstrates a healthcare professional’s knowledge and expertise in infection prevention and control. This certification is awarded by the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology (CBIC), which is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to certifying individuals in this field.

It typically takes about 3-6 months to complete the certification process. To get certified, you must first meet all eligibility requirements set forth by CBIC, including having completed a minimum of two years of full-time clinical practice in infection prevention and control or its equivalent within the last five years. You must also pass the CBIC Examination for Certification in Infection Prevention and Control or its equivalent.

The cost of getting certified depends on several factors, such as how long it takes you to prepare for the examination, whether you need to take additional courses or workshops, etc. Generally speaking, it can range from $500-$1,000 USD.

Once certified, you will be required to renew your certification every five years by completing continuing education activities related to infection prevention and control.

11. HIPAA Compliance Training

HIPAA Compliance Training is a type of training that is designed to help organizations comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This training covers topics such as how to protect patient health information, how to handle a data breach, and the legal requirements for protecting patient information. The goal of HIPAA Compliance Training is to ensure that organizations understand and adhere to all applicable laws and regulations related to the protection of patient information.

The length of time it takes to complete HIPAA Compliance Training varies depending on the organization’s size and scope. Generally speaking, most organizations can complete their training within one day. The cost of HIPAA Compliance Training also varies depending on the organization’s size and scope, but typically ranges from $200-$1000.

Organizations can obtain HIPAA Compliance Training through a variety of sources, including online courses, in-person seminars, or consulting services. Additionally, many universities offer HIPAA Compliance Training programs that are tailored specifically for healthcare professionals.

Do You Really Need a Orthodontic Assistant Certificate?

Whether or not you need an orthodontic assistant certificate depends on your individual goals and circumstances. If you are already employed as an orthodontic assistant, then completing a certificate program can help you become more knowledgeable in the field, which may make you more attractive to employers and increase your chances of advancement. It also may provide additional income opportunities by allowing you to take on additional tasks such as scheduling appointments and filing insurance claims.

On the other hand, if you are just starting out in the field, then completing a certificate program may be beneficial in terms of making yourself more competitive for jobs. Many employers prefer to hire applicants who have completed some sort of formal training or education in orthodontics, so having a certificate could give you an edge over other applicants without one. Additionally, some states require that orthodontic assistants obtain a certain level of certification before they can legally practice in the profession.

In conclusion, whether or not you need an orthodontic assistant certificate depends on your individual situation. However, it is generally beneficial to complete one if possible since it can help make you more marketable and provide additional job opportunities.

Related: Orthodontic Assistant Resume Examples

FAQs About Orthodontic Assistant Certifications

1. What qualifications do I need to become an orthodontic assistant?

Answer: Generally, you will need to complete a high school diploma or GED, as well as receive on-the-job training and complete a certification program in order to become an orthodontic assistant.

2. How long does it take to get certified as an orthodontic assistant?

Answer: The amount of time it takes to obtain certification as an orthodontic assistant depends on the individual and the type of program they pursue. Generally, most certification programs can be completed within six months to one year.

3. Are there any prerequisites for becoming an orthodontic assistant?

Answer: Yes, some programs may require applicants to have prior experience in dental assisting and/or hold CPR certification. Additionally, some states may require additional certifications such as radiology or infection control certifications.

4. What is the cost of becoming an orthodontic assistant?

Answer: The cost of becoming an orthodontic assistant will depend on the type of program you choose and any additional certifications that may be required in your state. Generally, tuition for certification programs ranges from $500-$2,000 depending on the institution and length of the program.

5. What type of job opportunities are available for orthodontic assistants?

Answer: Orthodontic assistants often work alongside dentists and other healthcare professionals in dental offices or hospitals providing patient care and administrative support services such as scheduling appointments, taking X-rays, helping with laboratory tasks, sterilizing instruments or assisting during procedures.