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

  • How can CDE be earned?

    There are many ways to earn CDE credits to fulfill DANB’s Recertification Requirements. These include college courses, attending courses at dental conferences, dental-related community service, passing a DANB exam, home study courses and online courses. To see all of the CDE categories to renew your DANB certification(s), go to DANB’s Recertification Requirements. For information on renewing your NELDA certification, go to DANB’s NELDA Recertification Requirements.

    You can earn CDE credits through DANB with the Professional Development Examination Program (PDEP) or through the official DANB affiliate, the DALE Foundation, which offers interactive e-learning courses and Continuing Dental Education Articles (CDEA).

    Some other ways to find CDE providers include:
  • How do I earn the three infection control credits?

    As of Jan. 1, 2018, all certificants, whether they hold one or more DANB certifications, must annually earn a minimum of three CDE credits that meet the following requirements:

    1. One CDE credit on OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens standard (for example, certificants may use proof of meeting the federally mandated OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens standard training), and

    2. Two CDE credits on infection prevention, control or safety (for example, courses may include any topics listed in DANB’s Infection Control exam outline, which includes but is not limited to information in the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens standard).

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

    Learn more

    Earn your CDE online

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

    DANB requires a minimum of six CDE credits annually to renew NELDA certification. 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

  • Does general attendance at dental meetings count toward CDE?

    No. DANB does not award CDE for general attendance at dental meetings or conferences. Certificants must attend sessions or courses at dental meetings in order to earn credits.

  • 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 or a college transcript. For courses attended at a conference, send the CDE printout from the meeting. Documentation must include your name, the title or topic of the course, the date the course was completed, and the number of credits received.

  • 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 CDA, COA, CPFDA or COMSA certificants. For CDPMA certificants, 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 work chairside anymore”
    • “I went on an international mission and volunteered for two weeks. Can I earn 12 credits for that?”
    DANB’s certification exams focus on clinical duties. Therefore, it is important that knowledge is obtained in all areas of dentistry, not just one. While a DANB certificant’s tasks may include administrative duties, direct clinical patient care is the primary role. Only CDPMA certificants 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.


  • 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 Jan. 1, 2012, DANB certificants must hold current DANB-accepted CPR certification, but DANB no longer counts CDE credits for CPR toward meeting DANB's Recertification Requirements.

  • Am I required to submit my CDE credits or proof of CPR when I renew my certification?

    No. You are not required to submit proof of CDE or CPR unless you are selected for audit.

  • How can I keep track of my CDE?

    DANB recommends you maintain proof of your CDE credits for two years in case of an audit. You can track your credits and upload your documentation online through the My Continuing Dental Education portal. To enter your CDE credits:

    • Log in to your DANB account
    • In the My Dashboard area of your account, scroll down and locate the My Continuing Dental Education section
    • Click “Add CDE” to start entering and uploading your CDE credits
    Refer to DANB’s Recertification Requirements to ensure that the credits you earn are in compliance. Certain CDE categories have annual maximums. Documentation (e.g., copies of certificates, attendance forms) must be provided to earn credit if audited.

    Review DANB’s Recertification Requirements each year. DANB’s Board reviews DANB’s Recertification Requirements annually to determine if updates are needed 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 meeting the renewal requirements. 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?

    If you are selected for audit, you will receive an audit email notification (or a letter if you do not have an email address). Simply submit proof of CDE credits and maintaining CPR, BLS or ACLS in compliance with DANB’s Recertification Requirements (see accepted documentation under each category). Documents can be submitted online (www.danb.org) within your Recertification Application, or they can be faxed (312-642-3550) or mailed to DANB, Attn: Recertification. Once DANB has reviewed and approved the documentation, you will receive an email notification, and DANB will mail your renewal certificate within one to two weeks.

    If the submitted audit documentation is insufficient, you will receive an email from DANB. You would have an opportunity to submit additional proof or, in some cases, to use the grace period to earn additional credits to comply.


  • What do I submit if I am audited?

    If you are selected for audit, you will be asked to submit:

    • Proof of CDE credits earned during the current renewal period, including two infection control credits and one credit on OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard
    • Copy of the CPR, BLS, or ACLS card(s) (front and back) held for the entire renewal period through the current date
    • Any other documentation deemed necessary by DANB to validate you have met the requirements

  • How do I upload my audit documentation?

    • Log in to your DANB account
    • Click on the “Renew Here” button to open your Recertification Application
    • Click on the Manage My 3rd Party Credits menu option to add CDE credits and upload documentation
    • Click on the Manage My CPR menu option to add CPR, BLS or ACLS information and upload documentation
    • Once you have entered and uploaded all required information, click the Review Application menu option, then click “Submit” to submit your audit

    Please note that you cannot upload multiple files in one place. For instance, if the CPR card you are uploading is two pages, you will need to upload both pages as one file, instead of two separate files.



  • 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 maintaining 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 at 1-800-367-3262 or email recertification@danb.org.

  • What are my DANB recertification options if I have retired from the dental field?

    DANB offers Emeritus status to dental assistants who have retired from dental assisting or for medical reasons are no longer working in dentistry. Emeritus status allows certificants to retain DANB certification(s) last held as an honorary title. For more information, please review the Emeritus Application.

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