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Registered Dental Assistant

A Registered Dental Assistant is an educationally based, licensed dental assistant. A RDA must graduate from an ADA accredited dental assisting program, pass a comprehensive written and clinical exam, and maintain their license. The RDA exam has both a written and clinical component. The clinical portion of the RDA exam is supervised through the state dental board and is typically administered at several colleges in Michigan who have ADA accredited dental assisting programs. 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 the Dental Assisting National Board’s (DANB) standards for continuing education for RDA's. RDA's are allowed to perform expanded functions. The state of Michigan only recognizes the RDA license in the delegation of these duties.

A New Pathway to Your RDA

Washtenaw Community College, 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 their RDA license. RDA’s can perform additional delegated functions, increasing the efficiency and productivity of your office.

The Dental Assisting Program at Washtenaw Community College is formatted into two distinct pathways designed to educate students at different levels in their dental assisting careers.

Pathway I 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.

Pathway II (ADAEP) is the advanced standing option for the dental assistant with two or more years of experience as a dental assistant who has passed all three portions of the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Certified Dental Assistant examination.

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 RDA clinical examination. This pathway allows students who are already CDA’s to complete the necessary coursework in just one semester in order to be eligible to take the RDA examination. Click here for detailed descriptions of these pathways.

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.

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