A registered dental assistant is an educationally based, licensed credential. An RDA must graduate from an ADA accredited dental assisting program, pass a comprehensive written and clinical exam, and maintain their license. The RDA exam is both a written and clinical exam. The clinical portion of the RDA exam is supervised through the state dental board and is typically administered at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry or Ferris State University. The state of Michigan will not recognize any outside testing agency; in order to become a RDA, the dental assistant must take Michigan's RDA exam. The state does, however, recognize DANB's standards for continuing education for RDA's. RDA's are allowed to perform expanded functions. The state of Michigan only recognizes the RDA credential in the delegation of duties.
A New Pathway to Your RDA
Washtenaw Community College has an educational program for dental assistants who want to earn the Registered Dental Assistant credential and become more valuable members of the dental team.
WCC in association with the Michigan Dental Association and Delta Dental is currently accepting students in its Alternative Dental Assistant Education Project (ADAEP). The program is designed to help on-the-job trained dental assistants obtain a credential or a license as a Registered Dental Assistant. Registered dental assistants can perform additional delegated functions, increasing the efficiency of your office.
The Dental Assisting Program at Washtenaw Community College is formatted into three distinct pathways designed to educate students at different levels in their dental assisting careers.
- The first pathway (Pathway I/Option A) is designed for the traditional student with no prior dental assisting experience who is not employed in a dental office. Students attend classes on campus at WCC and complete the program in three semesters.
- The second pathway, (Pathway/Option B) is an online program. It is designed for the student who is a new employee or who has less than two years work experience in the dental office. Students enroll in the same curriculum as Pathway I/Option A and complete all coursework in six semesters while working full-time for a dentist/mentor. Students attend on campus seminars at the beginning of each semester but all courses are taken online
- The third pathway, Pathway II is also primarily an online program. It is designed for the dental assistant with two or more years work experience in a dental office and who is a Certified Dental Assistant through the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). This student completes all required coursework online over the course of one academic semester. The Pathway II student comes to the Ann Arbor campus two times. The initial visit to WCC’s campus is for a mandatory two-day workshop. The student then returns to their office of employment and completes all course requirements under the supervision and support of his or her dentist/mentor. The second time the student comes to WCC is to take a clinical final examination modeled after the state’s Registered Dental Assistant clinical examination. This pathway allows students who are already Certified Dental Assistants to complete the necessary coursework in just one semester in order to be eligible to take the RDA examination.
Please direct any question about the program to Program Director Kathleen L. Weber, CDA, RDA, BAS, at (734) 973-3338. You may also get program information by visiting the Washtenaw Community College Web site.