Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

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Due to the abundance of complex information and details related to the regulation of dental assistants in California, we have addressed the most frequently asked questions for both the Dental Assistant and other members of the dental team.

We have organized these frequently asked questions into categories to make finding particular questions easy.

Dental assistants can only expose dental radiographs after successfully completing a board-approved radiation safety course. As of January 2010, dental assistants are required to complete the following courses after 120 days of employment to within a year of the date of hire:

  • Course in basic life support (must be American Red Cross or American Heart Association)
  • Board-approved course in infection control, must be at least 8 hours long
  • Board approved course in the California Dental Practice Act (2hours)

No, once the course has been completed, there is no need to renew the certification.

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Applicants can become RDAs through on-the-job training or having graduated from an RDA-approved dental assisting program. Applicants wanting to qualify via the work experience pathway must have 15 months of work experience rather than 12 months. All applicants must have completed a board-approved course in the California Dental Practice Act (2hrs), an 8-hour board-approved course in infection control, a course in basic life support within five years before application, a board-approved course in the application of pit and fissure sealants, coronal polish and a certificate in radiation safety (x-ray license).

The written exam is computerized and scheduled by appointment at designated test sites through PSI. You can download an application for the written by going to:, clicking on applicants then proceeding to the section entitled Written examination and downloading an application from PSI. You can also call PSI at: (877) 392-6422. For additional help, go to the Dental Board’s website

After filing your application for the RDA practical examination with the Dental Board, and after being accepted for the exam, you will receive a letter confirming your acceptance. This letter will contain detailed information regarding the practical examination and a packet from PSI with information on the written exam. The written can be scheduled at any time after your application has been approved and you have been given a case number. The Dental Board only assigns a practical exam date and time. PSI will schedule a written examination date and time at a location near you.

Yes, all dental team members, including dental assistants, must have a basic life support certification from either the American Red Cross or American Heart Association.

No. In accordance with the Dental Practice Act, a dental assistant can only perform a coronal polish after passing a board-approved course in coronal polish, and they are an RDA. The coronal polish certificate is required as part of the application process for becoming an RDA.

You will mail a copy of your yellow card to the Dental Board if you are in the process of obtaining your RDA license. If you have not applied to take your RDA examination, you will need to keep your Certificate of Completion (yellow card) safe until you are ready to apply for your RDA exam.

To apply for the RDA exam, you must file an application with the Dental Board. To file, download the application from the Dental Board website and fax the completed application to (916)274-2140 or mail it to 2005 Evergreen Street Suite 1550, Sacramento CA 95815 (the Board prefers it to be mailed). If you have any questions, you can contact the Dental Board by calling (916)263-2595.

As of 2017, the dental board illuminated the practical exam. Only a written review test/exam is required.

We accept cheques, cash and all major credit cards.

Yes, it is a requirement to follow OSHA guidelines. ALL students must wear scrubs, top and bottom (no t-shirts or jeans are accepted) and tennis shoes (dress shoes are not acceptable) to attend class, NO exceptions. If requirements are not followed you cannot attend the class.

A recent tuberculosis test is mandatory. (skin test is good for 1 year, chest x-ray is good for 5 years)