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A winning combination.

Last summer, the Indiana Dental Association wanted to reduce the education required by the Indiana Radiology Law for on the job-trained dental assistants to take X-rays in Indiana. The dentists felt that the current Indiana requirements were too time-consuming for the dental office, and the education hours required were unrealistic. The Indiana Dental Assistants Association wanted to maintain the education requirement but find a way to make it easier to obtain the education rather than have the dentist provide in-office lectures.

We found a winning combination for the dentists, the OJT dental assistants and the IDAA. By working with ADAA's Director of Professional Relations, Jen Blake, CDA, FADAA, we put together a new OJT Education Package of ADAA home study courses and had it approved by the Indiana State Department of Health's Radiologic Technology Certification Committee. The ADAA Education Package is an alternative to the minimum of 75 hours of one-on-one lecture hours currently required to complete the program. The student will still be required to complete the minimum of six month's clinical experience in the office. This will allow the student to study at his or her own pace and saves time for the doctor and staff.

To receive an Indiana radiation machine operator's license, the dental assistant must complete the education (either the home study courses or the 75 hours of lecture by the dentist), the minimum clinical hours and pass the DANB RHS exam. These courses cover the educational background required by the Indiana Radiology Law for exposing ionizing radiation and they will prepare the student for successfully passing the Dental Assisting National Board Radiation Health and Safety exam.

The ADAA is offering six of our home study courses on radiology in a special package that will include the home study course, test and mail-in answer sheet for each course. The students will complete the course, answer the questions and mail the answer sheet to the ADAA for grading. They will receive a certificate of completion from ADAA after passing each test. When all six courses are successfully completed along with the clinical experience, the student will send copies of all six certificates of completion along with all other necessary documentation back to the ISDH. If the practice has two on the job students, he/she can purchase additional test answer sheets for the courses already purchased. An order form will be included with the approval letter for the OJT program from the ISDH.

The price for the ADAA education package also includes a six-month ADAA membership for the nonmember assistant or a reduced fee for the member dental assistant. This is truly a win-win for everyone. The dentists get an education program that the assistant can complete at home, one that will save them time in the office. The assistant receives a more standard education and a better understanding of radiology, and the Indiana Dental Assistants Association enrolls new members! It is a great membership idea and a wonderful way to promote the American Dental Assistants Association.

If you have any questions about the Dental Radiology OJT Education Package, please contact Cathy Roberts at (812)333-5437 or e-mail

Cathy J. Roberts is office manager and Expanded Function Assistant in the practice of J. Keith Roberts, DDS, of Bloomington, IN. She has been active in the Indiana Dental Assistants Association, the South Central (IN) Dental Assistants Society and the Dental Assisting National Board. She is a speaker for the PANDA program for child abuse and neglect. Most recently she has served the ADAA as national Vice President. She is an ADAA Life Member and has been a dental assistant for 28 years.
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Author:Roberts, Cathy J.
Publication:The Dental Assistant
Date:May 1, 2004
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