Registered Dental Assistant Education Programs: Study to Become an RDA

Find an Accredited Program at a School Near You

In Michigan and throughout the U.S., Registered Dental Assistants are in high demand. The profession is expanding at an 11% rate — that’s much higher than other entry-level positions in many industries. Every year, there are hundreds of job openings for RDAs all across the state.

Dental Assistant

According to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average base salary for a full-time RDA in Michigan is $37,140 a year.

To enter this field, you don’t need a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, or years of college. In just one year, you can complete a post-high school CODA-Accredited Dental Assistant Education Program, gain RDA licensure, and find full-time employment!

Read on to learn more about the profession, educational requirements, and the career opportunities that await you as a Registered Dental Assistant!

CODA-Accredited Dental Assistant Education Programs in Michigan

Use the links provided to learn more about the program nearest you.

Delta College Dental

Assisting Advanced Certificate

1961 Delta Road

University Center, MI 48710

Grand Rapids Community College

Dental Assisting Program

143 Bostwick Street N.E.

Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Lake Michigan College

Dental Assisting

2755 East Napier Avenue

Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Mott Community College

Dental Assisting

1401 East Court Street

Flint, MI 48503

Northwestern Michigan College

Dental Assistant Degrees and Certificates

1701 East Front Street

Traverse City, MI 49686

Washtenaw Community College

Dental Assisting Programs

4800 East Huron River Drive

Ann Arbor, MI 48105

Wayne County Community College

District Dental Assisting

8200 West Outer Drive

Detroit, MI 48219

What is a Registered Dental Assistant?

A Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) is an educationally based, licensed dental assistant. In Michigan, state licensure allows RDAs to legally perform independent duties and administer expanded treatment in a clinical dental setting.

What is the difference between a dental assistant and a Registered Dental Assistant?

As opposed to dental assistants, or “on-the-job-trained” dental assistants, RDAs are licensed dental practitioners. They are legally able to perform comprehensive procedures, such as filling cavities and assisting with orthodontic procedures.

What does an RDA do?

As a member of a dental team, RDAs assist dentists in providing patients with restorative, preventative, and surgical care. They take and expose x-rays, carry out laboratory testing, and maintain infection controls.

RDAs perform a variety of other duties, from handling administrative rolls in the office to educating patients on oral health best practices. Many employed in the field say no two days on the job are ever the same!

Why study for the RDA at a CODA-Accredited School?

It is important to obtain your dental assistant education from a school accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). In order to become a licensed RDA, you must graduate from a program at a CODA-accredited school. Many schools offer dental assistant education programs, but only a handful are accredited. If the school isn’t accredited, you will not be eligible for RDA licensure. Without an RDA license, you will not be able to perform more procedures than an “on-the-job-trained” dental assistant.

Which Michigan schools have CODA-Accredited Dental Assistant Education Programs?

Seven community colleges, vocational schools, and private colleges in Michigan offer Dental Assistant Education Programs accredited by The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). These schools all provide the hands-on training you need to prepare for the RDA licensure exam and enter real world employment.

What about part-time or Associate’s Degree RDA Courses?

Many of these schools offer part-time options for students who need the flexibility to work around their current jobs or parental duties. Some allow you to expand your program of study into an Associate of Applied Science Degree. However, you don’t need an associate’s to become an RDA.

Are there financial aid packages, loans, or scholarships available to help pay for tuition?

Yes. Most schools offer a variety of financial aid packages, grants, scholarships, and loan programs to help cover tuition costs. The eligibility requirements and specifics of these private, federal, and state programs vary from school to school. Visit the school’s website or contact their financial aid office directly to explore financial assistance options and other resources available to you.

How do I go from school to full-time employment as an RDA?

The path from training to licensure is well laid out. It starts with an accredited post-high school course. When you enroll in an Accredited Dental Assistant Education Program, you’ll be supported along your journey to becoming a licensed dental health professional. Here is the pathway:

1. Complete Your Dental Assistant Education Program

Your Dental Assistant Education Program will prepare you for your career. Through classroom, clinical, and lab courses, you’ll learn about oral healthcare and how to perform technical hands-on duties. You’ll receive training in taking and processing x-rays, performing laboratory testing, and maintaining infection control protocol. Programs also teach valuable dental office administration skills.

2. Pass the Michigan RDA Board Exam

After graduation, you must pass the Michigan Registered Dental Assistant Examination. Your program will prepare you for this comprehensive written and clinical exam. Many schools boast a near 100% exam success rate!

3. Get Hired as an RDA

There are hundreds of RDA job vacancies in Michigan every year. Dental offices and public health clinics are always looking to fill RDA positions. Many education programs and schools offer career placement guidance to make it easier for you to get the right RDA job in your area.

4. Thrive in Your Career as an RDA

The RDA is an entry-level position. That means there’s always room for you to grow professionally. After some experience in the field, many RDAs advance into other well paying careers in the dental healthcare industry, including: insurance consulting, dental office management, dental sales, and education.