The American Dental Association (ADA) only recognizes one dental assistant certification in the United States: The Dental Assistant National Board (DANB) certification. While not every state requires dental assistants to be DANB certified, it’s still a great idea to pass their exams to be certified.

The CDA (Certified Dental Assistant) certification is a DANB certification earned by a dental assistant after they’ve passed the RHS (Radiation and Health and Safety), ICE (Infection Control Exam), and the GC (General Chairside) exams.

CDA Certification Cost

The Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam costs $450 to take, but each exam taken separately is $270. If you plan to study and take the exams together, you’ll save a bit of money, but it is more to study.

Since the GC exam has eligibility requirements before you can take it, it’s still normal to take the RHS exam and ICE exam early on in your career as you gain experience to then later qualify for the GC exam’s eligibility requirements.

The CDA Exams


On this exam, you’ll need to answer 100 questions in 75 minutes. To pass this test, you’ll need to learn about radiation exposure, preventing exposure, how to take radiographs, and more.


Like the RHS exam, the ICE also has 100 questions and a 75 minute time limit. The ICE covers material relating to sanitization, avoiding cross contamination, controlling infections and disease throughout the clinic, and other similar topics.


This exam is 90 minutes long with 120 questions. This exam goes over identifying emergencies caused by underlying diseases, preparing treatment rooms, knowing procedures, and much more. This is the only exam in the CDA series that requires eligibility requirements. These requirements vary, but are along the lines of having a degree from a CODA certified school or having 3,500 hours of clinical experience over the span of 2-4 years. For more information on the eligibility requirements, you can find the options on the DANB’s GC exam page.

Study Materials

The 90 Day Dental Assistant curriculum will help you prepare for these exams and for your future career in a clinic. The Dental Assistant National Board also provides study materials and exam outlines. You can find those materials and outlines here.

Enroll at 90 Day Dental Assistant

If you’re ready to take the next step to being a great dental assistant, 90 Day Dental Assistant is the best program to get you started! With the affordable tuition and an online curriculum, you can become a dental assistant at your own pace. Most of our graduates have accepted job offers within the same week of graduating! We’re so excited to meet you, so please reach out if you have any questions!