Recertification Requirements

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DANB Certified Dental Assistants

DANB’s certifications are known in the dental community as a Mark of Dental Assisting Excellence™.

Renewing your certification every year helps you stay up-to-date on the latest dental assisting issues and differentiates you from other dental assistants.  

There are three basic requirements to renew your DANB certification:

1. Earn CDE credits every year. Earning Continuing Dental Education (CDE) credits is one requirement for DANB recertification.  There are a variety of ways to earn CDE credits, including in-person and online.

2. Hold current DANB-accepted CPR certification. All DANB certificants must have current CPR, BLS or ACLS certification from a DANB-accepted provider.

3. Submit renewal fee payment. Your annual renewal fee is due by your certification renewal date. The amount of this payment varies, depending on the number of credentials being renewed.

Maintaining your DANB certification is a simple and affordable process. DANB’s comprehensive Recertification Requirements booklet provides everything you need, from a list of accepted CDE categories to DANB's recertification policies to a sample timeline for the renewal process.

Download DANB’s Recertification Requirements (PDF)

Download DANB's NELDA Recertification Requirements (PDF)

Recertification FAQs

  • Where can I earn the required CDE credits?

    Some of the ways you can earn CDE credits are through DANB with the Professional Development Examination Program (PDEP) or through the official DANB affiliate, the DALE Foundation, which offers interactive e-learning courses. 

    Some other ways to find CDE providers include:

  • How can CDE be earned?

    There are many ways to earn CDE credits to fulfill DANB’s Recertification Requirements. These include college courses, conventions, teaching CDE, passing a DANB exam, home study courses and online courses. To see all of the CDE categories to renew your CDA, COA, CPFDA, CRFDA, CDPMA or COMSA certification(s), go to DANB's Recertification Requirements. For information on how to renew your NELDA certification, go to DANB’s NELDA Recertification Requirements.
  • Are CDE credits good for more than one year?

    Yes, any CDE credits that are earned in excess of the number required in that year can be carried over to the next renewal period. Proof of CDE and CPR, BLS or ACLS certification should be retained for two years, in case you are audited. When you are carrying over credits, documentation must be provided for the year the credits were earned and the year being audited. For example, a DANB certificant with one certification must show proof of 24 CDE credits for the two-year renewal period if audited if the certificant chooses to carry over credits from the previous renewal period.

  • What type of documentation is acceptable for proof of CDE participation?

    Acceptable forms of proof of participation include a certificate or letter from the sponsor of the program, a DANB approval number for the course, or a college transcript. For courses attended at a convention, send the CDE printout from the meeting. If the meeting does not provide printouts, note the course completion number given at the end of the presentation next to the entry in the program guide.

  • Why is there mandatory CPR?

    Dental assistants are responsible for patient care. In an emergency, you may be the only one who can attend to a patient immediately. For example, an emergency may occur while you are attending to a patient in exam room 1 while the dentist is with another patient in exam room 2. You are closest to the patient and can administer care or CPR as appropriate.

  • Does my CPR certification qualify for CDE credits?

    No. As of January 1, 2012, DANB certificants must hold current DANB-accepted CPR certifications, but DANB no longer counts CDE credits for CPR toward meeting DANB's Recertification Requirements.

  • Will DANB accept a stress management course or practice management course?

    DANB will accept these courses under the dental office management category (Category 2). DANB allows three credits of CDE in Category 2 for CDAs, COAs, CPFDAs or COMSAs. For CDPMAs, DANB allows up to six credits of CDE in this category.

  • Why are there annual maximums for number of credits earned in many of the CDE categories?

    Some of the questions and comments DANB receives are:

    • “Can I earn all of my CDE credits in practice management? Front desk duties are part of my job”
    • “I run the front desk; I don't chairside anymore”
    • “I went on an international mission and volunteered for two weeks. Can I earn 12 credits for that?”

    The DANB CDA and COA exams focus on clinical duties. Therefore, it is important that knowledge is obtained in all areas of dentistry, not just one. While a CDA’s, COA’s or COMSA’s tasks may include administrative duties, direct clinical patient care is the primary role. Only CDPMAs are allowed to earn six credits annually in Category 2 dental office management courses, since topics such as management, computer software training, insurance and others are certification specific.

    Technology in dentistry changes every day. Professional dental assistants must educate themselves about those changes to continue to be effective, valuable members to the dental assisting profession and to the dental care team.

  • How should I complete the CDE Recording Form?

    The CDE Recording Form is found on the last page of DANB’s Recertification Requirements. Information should be itemized as follows:

    • Column 1 (date): Enter the date that you attended or completed a course, seminar, etc.
    • Column 2 (credits): Enter the number of credits earned in compliance with DANB’s Recertification Requirements
    • Column 3 (category): Enter the category number that corresponds with DANB’s Recertification Requirements
    • Column 4 (sponsor): Enter the name of the person or company that presented or provided the course
    • Column 5 (program title): Enter the title of the course

    Refer to DANB's Recertification Requirements while completing your CDE Recording Form to ensure that the credits you are submitting are in compliance. Keep in mind that certain CDE categories have annual maximums. Proof of participation (copies of certificates, attendance forms, etc.) must be provided to earn credit if audited. Do not send proof unless you receive notification from DANB.

    Be sure to review DANB's Recertification Requirements each year. The DANB Certificant Services Committee reviews DANB’s Recertification Requirements annually to determine if updated should be made to reflect changes in the profession, certificants’ feedback and trends in the dental community.

    DANB's Recertification Requirements (PDF)
    DANB's NELDA Recertification Requirements (PDF) 

  • When will I receive my renewal certificate or wallet card?

    The entire renewal process, from DANB’s receipt of payment to your receipt of certificate, takes approximately four weeks. This timeframe includes processing, data entry, certificate printing and mailing. This timeframe still applies if a renewal payment is made at the end of the three-month grace period.

  • Why am I being audited?

    DANB randomly selects certificants for verification, or audit, of CDE. Although the renewal fee has been paid and the certificant has attested to earning CPR and CDE, DANB performs an audit to verify the signed statement.

  • How does the audit process work?

    Certificants simply submit proof of education or attendance in compliance with DANB's Recertification Requirements (see accepted documentation under each category) with a completed CDE form for DANB to review. Once DANB has reviewed and approved the documentation, the certificant receives a new certificate within a week.

    If the submitted credits do not comply with the appropriate number of credits per category, the credits do not meet DANB's Recertification Requirements, or proof is not provided, the certificant receives a Non-Compliance letter indicating the deficiency in the audit. The certificant is encouraged to submit additional proof or, in some cases, use the grace period to earn additional credits to comply. Once the audit is approved, a new certificate is processed.

  • Why would a certificant fail an audit?

    The following are some of the reasons a certificant might fail a DANB audit:

    • Failure to include proof of DANB-accepted CPR, BLS or ACLS
    • Failure to include proof of CDE participation
    • Submitting credits earned outside of the renewal period being audited
    • Earning too many credits in a category that has a maximum
    • Submitting an insufficient number of credits
    • Submitting proof of attending courses not compliant with the current Recertification Requirements
  • How do I reinstate my DANB certification if I allowed it to lapse?

    Lapsed DANB certifications may be reinstated, depending on how long the certification has been expired. If your DANB certification has lapsed and you would like to reinstate it, please contact DANB's Manager, Recertification, at 1-800-367-3262, ext. 451.

  • How do I earn CDE to maintain my NELDA certification?

    For a certificant to renew DANB NELDA certification, DANB requires a minimum of six CDE credits annually. CDE must be directly related to the clinical practice of dentistry or dental assisting. 

    DANB’s NELDA Recertification Requirements

  • For how many years can I renew my NELDA certification?

    You can renew your DANB NELDA certification for up to four years. DANB encourages NELDA certificants to earn CDA certification when they are eligible in order to continue to remain DANB certified. 

    DANB’s NELDA Recertification Requirements

  • How do I earn the two infection control credits?

    Certificants can earn the two infection control credits in a variety of ways, including completing courses in-person or online. The DALE Foundation, the official DANB affiliate, offers the Understanding CDC’s Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings and DANB ICE Review. Both online courses fulfill the two infection control credit requirements.

New infection control credit requirement

As of Jan. 1, 2016, all certificants must earn a minimum of two CDE credits in infection control topics annually.

Learn more

Earn your CDE online

Earn CDE Credits

Earn your CDE credits through DANB’s convenient and affordable Professional Development Examination Program (PDEP) or through e-learning courses from the official DANB affiliate, the DALE Foundation.

Learn More About CDE Opportunities