DANB’s NELDA certification coming soon

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A new entry-level certification will soon be available for dental assistants who do not yet qualify for DANB’s Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification. The new DANB certification will be called the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) certification.

DANB has been working on the certification for more than two years. Originally, the certification was to be called Certified Entry Level Dental Assistant (CELDA). However, DANB believes the new certification mark, NELDA, accurately reflects the program while distinguishing it from the CDA certification.

“DANB’s mission is to promote the public good by providing credentialing services to the dental community,” says DANB Executive Director Cindy Durley, M.Ed., MBA. “Developing the NELDA certification will be an additional way for DANB to fulfill this mission.”

To earn DANB’s NELDA certification, a dental assistant must pass three component exams within three years: 

  • Radiation Health and Safety (RHS — 100 questions)

  • Infection Control (ICE — 100 questions)

  • Anatomy, Morphology and Physiology (AMP — 105 questions)

Candidates may be eligible to earn NELDA certification through one of three education pathways or one work experience pathway. 

“The NELDA program is a new step on the dental assisting career ladder, with its own unique eligibility pathways for those who are not eligible for the CDA certification,” Durley explains. “We look forward to introducing this new credential as a way to support the dental assisting career ladder and to promote public protection.”

Since the NELDA certification is intended for entry-level dental assistants, it can only be renewed for up to four years or until the individual has earned one of DANB’s CDA, COA, CPFDA or CRFDA certifications. More information about the NELDA certification eligibility pathways and renewal requirements will be available in the application packet, which will be posted on DANB’s website in early 2015. 


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