Frequently Asked Questions

When you join the national organization, the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA), you automatically become a member of your state association (CDAA) and a local dental assistant society (Local Society) in your area.  The application can be completed online at the ADAA’s website.

There is a complete listing of the benefits provided by the ADAA to its members – and they are typical of member organizations. There are, however, also benefits that are like the commercial – “priceless” – things like liability insurance; having people on a national and state level representing your interests and advancing the profession of dental assisting for you; the ability to network and connect with other professionals in your area and around the country (check out our Facebook page!); 24/7 (a weekly e-newsletter) and our Journal.

In addition to all the benefits provided at the national level, the state Association provides:

  • Representation before state regulatory bodies on dental assisting issues and
    continues to advocate for the profession.
  • Opportunity to obtain Continuing Education Units through a local society
  • Opportunity to develop network in the dental community
  • Subscription to the “CDAA Journal”
Local Society Benefits (varies with each local society)
  • Continuing Education Units
  • Activities with other dental assisting professionals in your area
  • Local Director represents your voice in CDAA
  • Interaction with local dental organizations and related industries
  • Local Newsletter


Visit the Dental Board of CA website.

For more information about these programs go to RDA Programs.

Visit the Dental Board of CA website and download the appropriate forms. Learn more information about RDAEF programs.

A dental assistant is NOT licensed and has a more limited scope of practice (the list of things they can do), which means they will be earning less. A dental assistant is also not required to earn continuing education, though we encourage all unlicensed dental assistants to take continuing education to stay informed of the current laws, regulations and best practices.

An RDA has a broader scope of practice, but must pass a Combined Written Exam to earn the license after qualifying.

An RDAEF is earned through additional education/testing and have additional duties they are allowed to perform on the patient.

State regulations define the duties that may be performed by each of these dental assistant levels.  A listing of these duties can be found here.

Here is a link to the exam registration page. Information about qualifying for these exams can be found on the Dental Board website. 

The CDA is a national certification provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) and is recognized in some states.  For more information, see the DANB website.

Local Societies sponsor courses in their area. A listing of these courses can be found here.

CDAA offers live education at its annual meetings and some regional meetings (see our calendar for information).

ADAA offers free online courses for members. ADAA E-Learning