Pickens Technical College Dental Assistant Pathway: Expanded Duties in Colorado

Beginning last month, the Pickens Technical College Dental Assistant program began offering Expanded Duties Dental Assistant (EDDA) classes for students who have completed Pickens’ Dental Assisting program and want to increase their professional standing, even adding additional responsibilities and duties in dental practices. This is a huge opportunity for those of you who want to build on your experience and training in Pickens’ Dental Assistant program and potentially go on to still higher education and training later in their careers.

There is some confusion about what duties exactly the EDDA certification allows dental assistants in Colorado to do. Let’s try and clear that up.

What Expanded Duties?

Different states allow qualified Expanded Duty Dental Assistants to perform certain dental tasks and work. In Colorado, EDDAs can apply topical agents and coronal polishing; they can perform denture services and administer nitrous oxide, as well as take X-rays.

And here’s where the confusion comes in. The Colorado State Board of Dentistry does not recognize the EDDA designation for dental assistants, so an EDDA certification means you can’t start taking X-rays your first day on the job. State law requires that Dental Assistants who want to apply topical agents and perform coronal polishing need to be indirectly and directly supervised, respectively. For X-rays, additional training is required. Dental Assistants have to practice for five hours and attend a three-hour lecture or pass a Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) exam on X-rays.

Why Take the EDDA Class?

Since you have to be supervised, trained, and tested to perform expanded duties in this state anyway, why take the class? There are several reasons to earn EDDA certification before you begin your dental assisting career.

The first reason is simple: money. Dental assistants with EDDA certification tend to make more throughout their careers than dental assistants without the expanded duties certification. Even before you start performing the expanded duties you trained for at the Pickens EDDA program, you’ll already have an advantage and a fatter initial paycheck. From the beginning, you’ll be in position to find more success at the Dental Assistant level. The second reason is related to the first: more dental offices will want to hire you to your first Dental Assistant position right out of Pickens if you come to them with additional certification and training.

The final reason you should take Pickens’ EDDA course is you’ll still be able to perform expanded duties relatively soon after you start your first assistant position. You’ll already be trained in the expanded duties themselves, so when you need to earn your final certification for X-rays, for example, you’ll be prepared. You’ll simply be in a better position to fill in the gaps (no pun intended) at your first dental practice by earning your EDDA certification first, and the cost will soon pay for itself at your first job.

Pickens’ Dental Assistant Program is built to help you succeed. After earning EDDA accreditation, Pickens can now offer you even more resources to ensure a successful career in the dental field.

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