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X-ray Certification

The Arizona Dental Association gratefully acknowledges Barbara Traines, CDA, M.Ed., for supplying the following information. You have made an excellent decision to become x-ray certified. Not only is it required by law, it is an investment in your career. The following information should provide some clarification and help you get started.

It is the Law 

Arizona Revised Statutes br /> 32-1291 Dentals Assistants; regulations; duties (REVISED-2004)
A.   A dental assistant may expose radiographs for dental diagnostic purposes under the general supervision of a dentist licensed pursuant to this chapter if the assistant has passed an examination approved by the Board.

The entire rules and regulations document is available from the Arizona Board of Dental Examiners website.

The Examination Process

DANB is an acronym for Dental Assisting National Board, located in Chicago. Their telephone number is 1-800-367-3262. Click here to access their web address. Information about the examination process and applications can be accessed and printed from the website. 

A dental assistant must hold a current Arizona Board-approved certificate in radiology. To obtain a certificate, one must:
1a.  Pass the national DANB Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam, AND
1b.  Receive the Arizona Radiologic Proficiency Certificate, issued by DANB, or
2a.  Be currently certified in another U.S. jurisdiction that requires successful completion of a written and clinical dental radiography exam, AND
2b.  Apply to the Arizona State Board of Dental Examiners (ASBDE) for Dental Assistant Radiography Certification by Credential and receive the Arizona Radiologic Proficiency Certificate, issued by the ASBDE.

Note: Arizona no longer requires dental assistants to take the Arizona Clinical Radiologic Proficiency Exam as a requirement for earning the Arizona Radiologic Proficiency Certificate, effective Jan. 1, 2011. Dental Assistants who passed the RHS exam prior to Jan. 1, 2011, but have not passed the clinical exam may call DANB at 1-800-367-3262 for information on how to obtain an Arizona Radiologic Proficiency Certificate.

The Certificate

After both written and clinical exams are successfully completed, DANB will issue your Arizona Radiologic Proficiency Certificate.  This certificate will serve your entire career without renewal.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK to take x-rays without certification as long as I am currently taking a course?   
No. The Arizona Radiologic Proficiency Certificate is required before taking x-rays.

Is it OK to take x-rays as long as I have passed at least one of the exams? 
No. The Arizona Radiologic Proficiency Certificate will be issued only after both exams have been successfully completed.

Do I have to take a class in order to take the written exam? 
Although statistics confirm a higher pass rate for those who have taken a course, it is not required by law.

How do I receive an application? 
Contact the Dental Assisting National Board at 1-800-367-3262 or print from the website.

If I have questions about the examination who can I call? 
The Dental Assisting National Board at 1-800-367-3262.

How often do I have to renew my x-ray certification? 
The Arizona Radiologic Proficiency Certification is good for life. 

Is my Arizona x-ray certification good in other states? 
It may be.  Current information is available from DANB at

Is my x-ray certification from another state good in Arizona? 
It may be.  Contact the Arizona Board of Dental Examiners for further information at 602-242-1492 or click here to access their website

How can I enroll in a course?
Contact the Arizona Dental Association at (480) 344-5777 or visit their CE webpage by clicking here for information and registration for “Oral Radiography Review for Dental Assistants,” a 12-hour course that focuses on preparing you to pass the written exam required for the Arizona Radiologic Proficiency Certification.

Phoenix College (602) 285-7320 or click here to access their website.
Pima Community College-Tucson area (520) 206-6916
Progressive Dental Academy-Scottsdale (480) 945-2959

Does the clinical exam use digital or film? 
The clinical exam is film based.  You are given enough dual packet film to expose an FMS.  The films will be processed (developed) for you, then you must place them in film mounts that are provided for you.

If our office only takes panoramic films (panos) do I still need the x-ray certification? 
Yes.  The certification is required for any and all x-ray exposures.

Do I have to take a panoramic film as part of the clinical exam? 
No.  The clinical requires that you expose a full mouth series.  All the details of the clinical and written exam are available by contacting the testing agency, DANB.  Their number is 1-800-367-3262 and the website.

Is it OK to develop (process) the films without X-ray Certification? 
Yes.  The Certification is required only for exposing X-rays.

Is it OK to push the button without the X-ray Certification? 
No.  Pushing the button generates x-ray exposure and exposure requires X-Ray Certification.

Is it OK to expose x-rays under direct supervision of the dentist? 
No.  You must have the X-ray certification (Arizona Radiologic Proficiency Certification) in order to expose x-rays.

Our office uses digital. Do our assistants still need the x-ray certification? 
Yes, absolutely!  The word “digital” refers to the way the image is recorded – you are STILL exposing the patient to x-rays and Certification is required for exposing x-rays.

What should I do with my x-ray certificate? 
The certification should be displayed in a visible location at the office where you are working.  If you help out at many dental practices as a temp, take it with you.