Exam Eligibility Requirements

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DANB’s national CDA, COA, CPFDA  and CRFDA certification exams, as well as the GC, OA and RF component exams, all have specific eligibility requirements, which are described below. There are no eligibility requirements for the RHS, ICE, CP, SE, TA, TF, AMP, IM, TMP or IS component exams. For more detailed explanations on all pathways, please see DANB’s application packets.

Exam Eligibility Requirements

  • CDA and GC Pathways

    Pathway I: 
    1. Graduation from a CODA-accredited dental assisting or dental hygiene program, AND
    2. Current CPR from a DANB-accepted provider

    Pathway II: 
    1. High school graduation or equivalent, AND
    2. Minimum of 3,500 hours of approved work experience, AND
    3. Current CPR from a DANB-accepted provider

    Pathway III: 
    1. Former DANB CDA status, or graduation from a CODA-accredited DDS or DMD program, or graduation from a dental degree program outside the U.S. or Canada, AND
    2. Current CPR from a DANB-accepted provider

    CDA Application Packet (PDF) 

  • COA and OA Pathways

    Pathway I: 
    1. Minimum of 3,500 hours of approved work experience, AND
    2. Current or former DANB CDA certification or current RDH or RDA credential, AND
    3. Current CPR from a DANB-accepted provider

    Pathway II: 
    1. High school graduation or equivalent, AND
    2. Minimum of 3,500 hours of approved work experience, AND 
    3. Current CPR from a DANB-accepted provider

    Pathway III: 
    1. Completion of an orthodontic assisting preparation course from a CODA-accredited dental assisting program, AND
    2. Current DANB CDA certification, AND
    3. Current CPR from a DANB-accepted provider

    Pathway IV: 
    1. Current or former DANB COA status, or graduation from a CODA-accredited DDS or DMD program, or graduation from a dental degree program outside the U.S. or Canada, AND
    2. Current CPR from a DANB-accepted provider

    COA Application Packet (PDF) 

  • CPFDA Pathways

    Pathway I: 
    1. Current DANB CDA certification, AND
    2. Verification of knowledge- or performance-based competency in each of the four CPFDA functions. Each function must be verified individually through one of the following options. The documentation must indicate that the expanded functions/duties or preventive functions/duties were included in the course curriculum. 
    • Successful completion of a course on the CPFDA function offered by or within a CODA-accredited dental assisting, dental hygiene or dental program, or 
    • Successful completion of a state dental board-approved course on the CPFDA function, or 
    • Dentist verification of knowledge or performance of the CPFDA function, AND
    3. Current CPR, BLS or ACLS from a DANB-accepted provider; must be current at the date of application and exam

    Pathway II: 
    1. Graduation from a CODA-accredited dental assisting or dental hygiene program, AND 
    2. Verification of knowledge- or performance-based competency in each of the four CPFDA functions. Each function must be verified individually through one of the following options. The documentation must indicate that expanded functions/duties or preventive functions/duties were included in the course curriculum.
    • Successful completion of a course on the CPFDA function offered by or within a CODA-accredited dental assisting, dental hygiene or dental program, or
    • Successful completion of a state dental board-approved course on the CPFDA function, or
    • Dentist verification of knowledge or performance of the CPFDA function, AND
    3. Current CPR, BLS or ACLS from a DANB-accepted provider

    Pathway III: 
    1. Former DANB CDA whose certification lapsed no more than two years ago, AND
    2. Minimum of 3,500 hours work experience as a dental assistant, accrued over the previous four years (employment must be verified by a licensed dentist), AND
    3. Verification of knowledge- or performance-based competency in each of the four CPFDA functions. Each CPFDA function must be verified individually through one of the following options. The documentation must indicate that expanded functions/duties or preventive functions/duties were included in the course curriculum.
    • Successful completion of a course on the CPFDA function offered by or within a CODA-accredited dental assisting, dental hygiene or dental program, or
    • Successful completion of a state dental board-approved course on the CPFDA function, or
    • Dentist verification of knowledge or performance of the CPFDA function, AND
    4. Current CPR, BLS or ACLS certification from a DANB-accepted provider

    Pathway IV: 
    1. Current Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) license*, AND
    2. Minimum of 3,500 hours work experience as a dental hygienist, accrued over the previous four years (employment must be verified by a licensed dentist), AND
    3. Current CPR, BLS or ACLS from a DANB-accepted provider

    * If RDH license is issued in Alabama and the candidate is not a graduate of a CODA-accredited dental hygiene program, candidate must meet the requirements of Pathway I, II or III.

    CPFDA Application Packet (PDF)

  • CRFDA Pathways

    Pathway I
    1. Current or former DANB CDA whose certification has lapsed for no more than two years.

    2. Current Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Basic Life Support (BLS) or Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) from a DANB-accepted CPR provider; must be current at the date of application and exam.

    Pathway II
    1. Graduation from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)-accredited dental assisting program. 

    2. Current Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Basic Life Support (BLS) or Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) from a DANB-accepted CPR provider; must be current at the date of application and exam.

    Pathway III
    1. Completion of an Expanded Functions Dental Assisting or restorative course/program offered by an institution with a CODA-accredited dental assisting, dental hygiene or dental program. Each function does not have to be listed separately, but the documentation must indicate that expanded functions/duties or restorative functions/duties were included in the course curriculum.

    2. Minimum of 3,500 hours work experience as a dental assistant, accrued during the previous two to four years; employment must be verified by a licensed dentist.

    3. Current Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Basic Life Support (BLS) or Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) from a DANB-accepted CPR provider; must be current at the date of application and exam.

    CRFDA Application Packet (PDF)

Ready to Apply for a DANB Exam?

Now that you’ve reviewed the eligibility requirements for DANB’s exams, you’re ready to take the next step toward certification. Apply for an exam, and you’re on your way to being DANB certified!

CDA Application Packet (PDF)
COA Application Packet (PDF)
CPFDA Application Packet (PDF)
CRFDA Application Packet (PDF)

DANB-Accepted CPR Providers

DANB accepts CPR, BLS or ACLS certifications from certain providers that administer a hands-on exam.

DANB-Accepted CPR Providers