If you are interested in becoming a dental assistant and want to do the full range of job duties, think about training to take x-rays. Most states require extra education: Here’s how to get your dental x-ray certification.
Selecting The School
To become a dental x-ray technician, you will need to go to a school that offers a diploma or degree in dental assisting. While schools don’t offer a degree path toward becoming a dental x-ray technician specifically, you can find schools that have radiology as part of the curriculum. While there are some offices that will hire you for entry-level positions without formal training, it’s generally recommended that you complete a program from an accredited school. Having that education will help you find a job and advance quickly.
Work to complete your dental assisting coursework. Most programs last a year, though some can take up to two years. Next, check with your state board to see if you need further education to perform radiologic duties.
You can get the Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) certification or the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) designation, both from the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). Certification consists of one course plus an exam.
There are no prerequisites to earning an RHS certificate, but you'll need a CPR certification and high school diploma or GED to qualify for a CDA program. You also must have three months of on-the-job training to be eligible. After completing the certification, you may be required to register with the State Board of Dental Examiners.
Job Outlook and Salary
As a dental x-ray technician, you’ll make a median salary of $37K, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent make $53K. Pay is a reflection of location and length on the job.
Employment of dental assistants is expected to grow 19 percent through 2026. With the average job growth ranging between 5-8 percent, it's a great time to become a dental assistant with x-ray capabilities!