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Steps To Becoming a California Registered Dental Assistant

June 20, 2019 1879

An applicant must complete the required education and/or work experience and required courses prior to applying to the Dental Board of California to take the written licensure exam to become a California licensed dental assistant.

Choose a Path

  • Path A
    • Graduate from a board-approved RDA educational program.
    • Complete and submit this form or attach a copy of the diploma or certificate of completion with the application.
  • Path B:
    • Complete at least 15 months (1,280 hours) of satisfactory work experience as a dental assistant with a dentist licensed in one of the states in the United States. Complete and submit this form with the application. Certification by multiple employers is acceptable.
  • Path C:
    • Complete a California Department of Education-approved four-month educational program and 11 months of work experience with a dentist(s) licensed in one of the states of the United States.
    • Complete and submit this form with the application.

Complete Required Courses

Except for applicants who completed a board-approved RDA educational program on or after July 1, 2009, complete the following required courses in no particular order. Courses marked with an asterisk must be completed within five years of submitting an application for licensure. 

  • Board-approved radiation safety course 
  • Board-approved coronal polishing course …
  • Board-approved 8-hour infection control course* …
  • Board-approved Dental Practice Act course*

Board-approved courses are listed on the board’s website.

Complete a Basic Life Support Course

Course must be offered by an instructor approved by the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association. The applicant’s BLS certificate must be current at time of application submittal.

Submit Fingerprints

Except for applicants located out of state, complete the LiveScan form that is part of the application. Make two copies of the completed form. Take all three copies of the form to a LiveScan location in California and submit fingerprints. Pay fee at a LiveScan location. An applicant located out of state must request fingerprint cards from the board, then submit fingerprints on the cards with the fee of $49. The fingerprint cards need not be submitted with the application but must be completed prior to the issuance of the license.

Complete the Application

Application for Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) Examination and Licensure

Assemble the following items and mail to the board:

  •  Completed application
  •  Form(s) documenting education and/or work experience
  •  Certificates showing completion of required courses (keep copies)
    • (Except for applicants who completed a board-approved program on or after July 1, 2009.)
  •  Copy of the front and back of the BLS card
  •  Copy of the completed LiveScan form
    • (Except for applicants located out of state.)
  •  Payment of $120 application fee to the Dental Board of California.
    • A separate exam fee will be collected when scheduling the exam with Psychological Services Inc. (PSI)
  • Self-addressed, postage-paid postcard if seeking confirmation of the board’s receipt of application package

Mail to:
Dental Board of California
2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 1550
Sacramento, CA 95815

Once an application is approved, the applicant will be sent a Candidate Handbook by PSI that has information on how to pay for and when to schedule the examination.