DANB kicks off review of dental assisting roles to inform future programs

The Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) is spearheading an in-depth review of current duties and functions of dental assistants working in a variety of settings. On Sunday, DANB concluded an intensive two-and-a-half-day Dental Assisting Profession Job Task Analysis Workshop to identify the current knowledge, skills and competencies necessary for the varied experiences of dental assistants today and in the future.

The workshop, held in Chicago May 19-21, 2023, was attended by 20 dental professionals, including dental assistants, dentists, clinical coordinators, office managers, educators, and consultants from across the country. In selecting members to attend the workshop, DANB prioritized diversity of geographic representation, background, culture and experience.

“Input from the entire dental profession is a valuable and critical component of the evaluation and enhancement of DANB’s exams and certification programs,” said DANB and DALE Foundation CEO Laura Skarnulis. “As we look to develop the next generation of credentials, we are committed to ensuring they are equitable, accessible and in service of supporting the dental assistant workforce and the patients they serve.”

DANB will take the findings from this workshop to update its certification programs. By undergoing a comprehensive review of its exams and certification programs, DANB will be well positioned to help grow the pipeline of qualified dental assistants entering the profession. Through this in-depth analysis, DANB will:

  • Evaluate exam and certification pricing, content, and policies
  • Expand the pathways for dental assistants to earn certification
  • Remove barriers to the exam application and certification process

In the coming months, DANB will seek input on the outcomes of the meeting from numerous stakeholders through a survey and other opportunities to gather feedback.

“The pathways into dental assisting have evolved, and so must DANB’s exams and certification programs,” said DANB Chief Operating Officer Aaron White. “We are committed to updating and enhancing our exams and certifications to meet the needs of the profession now and into the future.”

These initiatives, and others, are core elements of the DANB and DALE Foundation 2023-2028 Strategic Plan, which aims to expand the pool of educated, qualified, and committed dental assistants; support the profession; and assure that dental assisting is viewed as a respected, professional career.

“We heard from many members of the dental community about workforce issues and potential solutions we could provide,” Skarnulis said. “Broad input and collaboration from the dental community has been invaluable in helping us develop our plans, and we look forward to collaborating even further as we progress with our work.”

Join us

Later this year, DANB will host listening sessions, conduct surveys, and form a work group to hear from a variety of voices and perspectives in dentistry. We seek collaborators, volunteers, and partners to join us in these endeavors. To connect with us, please fill out the contact form.