Formal education is not required in order to work as a dental assistant. The dentist employer may train the dental assistant themselves. The range of skills that may be delegated to the dental assistant is limited. Dental assistants are not regulated or licensed.
Certified dental assistants complete formal education and their skills are examined using standardised testing mechanisms. CDA skills and patient care procedures encompass all the skills of the dental assistant, plus intra oral procedures. CDAs are regulated and certified to practise by the College of Dental Surgeons of BC. Because more skills may be delegated to the CDA, there are more employment opportunities available and salaries are typically higher.