Theresa Treharn, CDA: Holding DANB certification enhances dental assistant career growth
Longtime dental assistant Theresa Treharn, CDA, administrative dental assistant with Mid America Health, has reached her 30-year DANB certification milestone. Over three decades, Treharn has seen firsthand the benefits that holding DANB certification can bring — including immense career development.
“Being a DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certificant, I’ve been able to move up the career ladder to have more management duties,” says Treharn, who spent 20 years as a dental assistant in private practice before taking the next step in her career. “I have a very good position in my career right now,” she says. “I work for the Ohio state prisons as an experienced dental assistant. I’ve been with them for 13.5 years.”
Working in the prison setting where both medical and dental patients are seen, Treharn now has more tasks than ever before, including having a hand in treatment planning, completing audits and statistic recording.
“We as a medical/dental team cross over all the time. Every day is so challenging, with regular new tasks,” Treharn says. “I chose to keep maintaining DANB certification so that I’d be well-equipped for more challenging tasks, including with infection prevention and control.” Treharn adds that beyond ensuring a safe visit for patients, she also must make sure that office protocols are kept up to date. To be successful in this area, Treharn understands the importance of completing continuing dental education.
“You have to stay on top of the updates with all of the different types of infectious risks of late,” believes Treharn, who adds that DALE Foundation resources can be helpful for those looking to hone their expertise in infection prevention and control.
“I do use DALE Foundation courses, and I recommend them to up-and-coming dental assistants, too, when I go to a local school and career center here in our town and speak to students who are graduating,” Treharn says.
When talking with aspiring dental assistants, and with those aiming to take their career to new heights, Treharn doesn’t just tout the importance of continuing education. She also recommends dental assistants demonstrate their knowledge and skills through DANB certification.
“I encourage young dental assistants to earn and maintain DANB certification,” Treharn says. “I promote its importance. I tell them it’s better to hold certification than to not, because you have to work hard to earn and maintain DANB certification.”
Doing so has led to many career benefits for Treharn, she says: a higher salary, more benefits, a flexible schedule, and much more.
“Holding DANB certification ultimately gives me more recognition among my peers and patients,” Treharn says. “Overall, I’ve earned more respect and have more job opportunities.”
With all this in mind, Treharn has this message for those looking to grow as a dental assistant: “Don’t settle for less. Become certified. And once you do, maintain certification.”