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
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental x-ray technicians earned an average salary of $47,320 in 2021. The top 10 percent of dental x-ray technicians averaged closer to $71,740. The employment for dental x-ray technicians is expected to increase at a rate of 12 percent by 2030, which is faster than the national average.
This growth rate is faster than the national average - making now an ideal time to become a dental assistant with x-ray technician capabilities!