How to get a dental assisting job in a new state

3d vector map of united states

If you’ve ever relocated, you know that moving can be both exciting and nerve-racking, as there are many unknowns surrounding the experience. If you’re planning to move, some common questions you may be asking yourself include: Where will I live? How will I meet people in my new community? Where will I work?

For dental assistants especially, finding a job in a new state can be complicated because dental assisting requirements, job titles, and allowable functions vary from state to state. But transitioning to a new state and a new role doesn’t have to be stressful. There are a few things dental assistants can do to stay one step ahead while planning a move.

Explore state requirements

Before starting the job search, dental assistants should research all the requirements in their new state. Nancy W. agrees this is an important first step. “I have worked in three different states, starting in Ohio, then Tennessee, and now Texas,” she says. “Each state has such different laws and requirements. You need to do your homework. You really need to be aware of what duties you can legally perform and what you can’t.”

DANB’s  search-by-state map is a helpful at-a-glance resource for finding all the specific requirements you need to know. Additionally, your new state may have  continuing dental education requirements that are also important to know.

Take DANB exams

Another important step to consider when moving to a new state is taking (and passing!) DANB exams, especially those that are recognized or required in that state. Also, consider earning and maintaining DANB certification. DANB exams and DANB certifications are recognized or required by 39 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Air Force, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, which can make it easier to meet the requirements in your new location. This has been true for Nancy, who shares: “Being a CDA certificant has helped me while getting qualifications in the states that require you to be an RDA.”

If you’re not yet DANB-certified but are planning to move in the near future, it’s never too soon to get started! “You never know where life is going to take you,” says Natalie K., CDA, of why career mobility is among the many benefits of DANB certification. “You could find yourself in a state that requires DANB certification.”

Start the search

After you’ve done your homework, it’s time to start the job search!

These days, there are a variety of online job sites that will allow you to look for new positions using your computer or even your smartphone. LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, Monster, and Indeed are just a few examples. Through these websites, you can customize your search and look for your ideal role in your location. You can even upload your resume for recruiters to find.

Get tips on writing your dental assistant resume!

Some dental assistants also have reported success with finding a job via word of mouth. If you’re looking for an open dental assisting position, talk with those in your social and professional networks to find out whether they know of any leads on a new role.

For example, do you know anyone who lives in your new town, city, or state? Who is their dentist, and are they looking to hire? Similarly, maybe you know a dental professional with has a contact in your new area who may be seeking an assistant. If you feel comfortable enough to do so, ask those in your network to put in a good word for you with their dentist.

Additionally, many dental offices have an online presence. A quick internet search will yield many websites for offices in your new area, and some may be hiring! It’s possible these offices will even list job openings on their websites or via their social media pages. Or, you could call or visit local dental offices to introduce yourself and ask whether they’re hiring.

“Try seeing if any place will let you be an intern for a few weeks or months; they may really like you and decide to hire you on. Or, at least you will have gained more experience and professional references for your resume,” suggests Christina P. “Or, many people I knew from dental assisting school worked through temporary agencies at first until they were offered a full-time position.”