Dental assistants perform a full range of duties and perform assigned selected procedures with some independence. They receive guidance from more experienced staff members for complex patient issues for which they require direct supervision and daily contact with the supervisor at the work site. Dental assistants assist the dentist in many aspects of direct patient care and perform other clinical and clerical functions independently of direct supervision.

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Duties listed are at the GS-6 level, developmental grades will differ in complexity and level of supervision:

Customer Service

  • Shows courtesy, respect, and a positive attitude for patients, co-workers and the public.
  • Assists customers with questions or concerns.

Patient Care

  • Sets up operatory and/or surgery suite for planned dental procedure and cleans dental unit for timely turnover.
  • Possesses advanced knowledge of instruments, materials, and standardized dental procedures used in all phases of restorative, surgical, endodontic and periodontal care.
  • Assists in routine general dental procedures using concepts of four-handed dentistry.
  • Passes instruments safely, accurately, and efficiently.
  • Keeps operative field clear of debris and retracts oral tissues effectively and comfortably.
  • Prepares dental medicaments and impression materials per manufacturer’s instructions; Accomplishes all intra-operative procedures within standard infection control protocols.
  • Monitors, and performs basic interpretation of, patient vital signs (BP, pulse, pulse oximeter) and condition during invasive treatment and during recovery period following procedure.
  • Applies topical anesthetic at the injection site.
  • Takes impressions for diagnostic casts and preliminary impressions for prosthetic fabrication.
  • Pours impressions and prepares study models.
  • Makes final denture impression trays and prepares bite rims.
  • Removes plaque and soft debris from removable prostheses.
  • Provides procedure-specific, patient-preventative education and oral hygiene instruction.
  • Provides post-operative and other appropriate patient education.
  • Assists in specialized dental procedures, such as oral surgery, endodontics, periodontics, prosthodontics, implant placement and restoration.
  • Fabricates athletic mouth guards and bleaching trays.
  • Performs other dental laboratory functions as needed.
  • Maintains both routine and specialty dental equipment per manufacturer instructions and dental-service standards.
  • Relays patient concerns to treating dentist.

Dental Imaging

  • Possesses ability to identify normal anatomy.
  • Exposes both standard and specialty dental imaging (i.e. TMJ, cephalometric, cone beam) in traditional and/or digital formats.
  • Modifies settings to achieve the images as requested by the provider.
  • Captures images characterized by diagnostic quality and accurately oriented and exposed.
  • Utilizes dental-imaging safety techniques and retakes are minimized.
  • Accomplishes imaging requests within desired time frame.

Infection Control and Equipment Sterilization

  • Demonstrates proper infection control procedures in setting up and cleaning up operatories.
  • Disinfects oral appliances to prevent cross contamination.
  • Properly prepares instruments for transfer to SPS for sterilization.
  • Follows all Standard Operating Procedures for Reusable Medical Equipment.
  • Works closely with SPS to ensure availability of instruments so that clinical care is not delayed.
  • Demonstrates proper infection-control procedures in exposing images.

Clerical Functions

  • Assists in filling gaps in the doctor’s schedule due to late cancellations and failed appointments.
  • Initiates computerized progress note.
  • Assists dentist in charting findings and treatment plans in patient records.

Information Management

  • Maintains patient confidentiality per HIPAA with written and verbal information.
  • Follows computer security regulations.

Patient Safety

  • Modifies care as necessitated by patient’s age and abilities (patient transfer and position)
  • Provides accurate and understandable instructions to patients.
  • Participates in patient identification and time out per The Joint Commission requirements.
  • Monitors patient condition during treatment, being alert for signs of physical distress.

Employee Education

  • Complies with Employee Education requirements.
  • Completes mandatory annual training sessions.

Work Schedule: M-F 7:30 AM- 4:00 PM

Telework: Not available

Virtual: This is not a virtual position.

Functional Statement #: 00000

Relocation/Recruitment Incentives: Authorized

Permanent Change of Station (PCS): Not Authorized

Financial Disclosure Report: Not required



Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this job.
  • All applicants tentatively selected for VA employment in a testing designated position are subject to urinalysis to screen for illegal drug use prior to appointment. Applicants who refuse to be tested will be denied employment with VA.
  • Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959.
  • Must be proficient in written and spoken English.
  • You may be required to serve a probationary period.
  • Subject to background/security investigation.
  • Selected applicants will be required to complete an online onboarding process.
  • Participation in the seasonal influenza vaccination program is a requirement for all Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Personnel (HCP).
  • Participation in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination program is a requirement for all Veterans Health Administration Health Care Personnel (HCP) – See “Additional Information” below for details.


To qualify for this position, applicants must meet all requirements within 30 days of the closing date of this announcement.

Basic Requirements:

  • United States Citizenship: Non-citizens may only be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with VA Policy.

  • Experience and Education:
    • Experience: Six months experience that demonstrates the applicant’s ability to perform the work or provides familiarity with the work. OR
    • Education: Successful completion of a 1-year dental assistant program accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).
    • Experience/Education Combination: Equivalent combinations of experience and education are qualifying.
  • Certification: Public Law 97-35 requires that persons who administer radiologic procedures meet the credentialing standards in 42 CFR Part 75. Essentially, they must have successfully completed an educational program that meets or exceeds the standards described in that regulation, and is accredited by an organization recognized by the Department of Education, and be certified as radiographers in their field.
    • Provisions for Certification of Radiologic Competence
      • Successful completion of the Dental Radiation Health and Safety Examination administered by the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc.; OR
      • Successful completion of the Principles and Practice of Dental Radiology and Radiographic Safety courses and examinations developed by the Assistant Under Secretary for Health for Dentistry. OR
      • Successful completion of a radiation health and safety program or examination approved by a state board of dentistry or the Department of Defense (DoD).
    • Non-certified applicants who otherwise meet the eligibility requirements for certification of radiologic competence may be given a temporary appointment as a graduate dental assistant under the authority of 38 U.S.C.
    • 7405 (a) (1) (D). Failure to obtain certification during that period is justification for termination of the temporary appointment. This [will result in removal from the GS-681 series and] may result in termination of employment.
    • Certification in basic life support methods is highly desirable.
    • Certification by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). The American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes DANB as the national certification for Dental Assistants. DANB certification is not required, but highly desirable for the appointment of Dental Assistants up to and including the full performance level, and is required for all positions above the full performance level.
    • Loss of Credential: An employee in this occupation who fails to obtain licensure/certification/registration within the required time frame, or who fails to maintain the required licensure/certification/registration must be removed from the occupation, which may also result in termination of employment.
  • English Language Proficiency: Dental assistants must be proficient in spoken and written English in accordance with chapter 2, section D, paragraph 5a, this part.

May qualify based on being covered by the Grandfathering Provision as described in the VA Qualification Standard for this occupation (only applicable to current VHA employees who are in this occupation and meet the criteria).

Grade Determinations:


Experience or Education: None beyond the basic requirements.

Assignment. Employees at this level serve in dental assistant career development positions. It is expected that they receive guidance from more experienced staff members for more complex patient issues, and require daily close supervision.


Experience or Education: In addition to the basic requirements,1 year of experience at the next lower level, OR 2 years of education above high school that included completion of a dental assistant program accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).

In addition, the candidate must demonstrate the following KSAs:

  • Basic knowledge of infection control and safe instrument handling.
  • . Basic knowledge of dental procedures and [medical emergencies.
  • Ability to perform basic radiographic image capture and processing/retrieval.
  • Basic knowledge of maintenance, care and storage of dental equipment.
  • Basic knowledge of patient privacy requirements.


Experience or Education: In addition to the requirements listed at GS-4 above, applicants must demonstrate at least 1 year of experience equivalent to at the next lower grade level that demonstrates the core competencies described at that level. OR, Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study that included or was supplemented by completion of a dental assistant program by CODA.

In addition to meeting the above, the applicant must demonstrate the following KSA’s:

  • Knowledge of anatomy and ability to evaluate diagnostic quality.
  • Broad knowledge of common medical emergencies and vital signs measurement.
  • Basic knowledge of instruments, materials and standardized dental procedures.
  • Ability to learn and utilize software programs used within VHA.
  • Basic communication skills to provide patient instructions according to established protocol.

GS-6. Staff Dental Assistant (Full Performance Level)

Experience:At least 1 year of experience equivalent to the next lower grade level that demonstrates the core competencies described at that level.

In addition, the candidate must demonstrate the following technical KSAs:

  • Ability to identify normal oral anatomy.
  • Advanced knowledge of instruments, materials, and standardized dental procedures used in all phases of restorative, surgical, endodontic and periodontal care and procedures.
  • Ability to monitor and perform basic interpretation of vital signs.
  • Ability to independently provide procedure-specific patient education and appropriate referral of patient concerns to treating dentist.
  • Ability to capture standard and special dental images of good diagnostic quality in traditional or digital formats.
  • Ability to perform maintenance on dental equipment used for routine and specialty dentistry.
  • Ability to enter and retrieve data utilizing electronic dental records.
  • Ability to perform dental assistant-appropriate laboratory procedures

References: VA HANDBOOK 5005/46 PART II APPENDIX G36

The full performance level of this vacancy is GS 6. The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is in the range of GS 3 to GS 6.

Physical Requirements: This work requires light lifting under 15 pounds, reaching above shoulder and use of fingers. Enviromental factors are working in radiant energy, electrical energy and working closely with others.


A transcript must be submitted with your application if you are basing all or part of your qualifications on education.

Note: Only education or degrees recognized by the U.S. Department of Education from accredited colleges, universities, schools, or institutions may be used to qualify for Federal employment. You can verify your education here: http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/. If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education. For further information, visit: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/edlite-visitus-forrecog.html.

Additional information

Receiving Service Credit or Earning Annual (Vacation) Leave: Federal Employees earn annual leave at a rate (4, 6 or 8 hours per pay period) which is based on the number of years they have served as a Federal employee. Selected applicants may qualify for credit toward annual leave accrual, based on prior work experience or military service experience. This credited service can be used in determining the rate at which they earn annual leave. Such credit must be requested and approved prior to the appointment date and is not guaranteed.

This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.

This position is in the Excepted Service and does not confer competitive status.

VA encourages persons with disabilities to apply. The health-related positions in VA are covered by Title 38, and are not covered by the Schedule A excepted appointment authority.

Pursuant to VHA Directive 1193.01, VHA health care personnel (HCP) are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 subject to such accommodations as required by law (i.e., medical, religious or pregnancy). VHA HCPs do not include remote workers who only infrequently enter VHA locations. If selected, you will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and submit documentation of proof of vaccination before your start date. The agency will provide additional information regarding what information or documentation will be needed and how you can request a legally required accommodation from this requirement using the reasonable accommodation process.

If you are unable to apply online or need to fax a document you do not have in electronic form, view the following link for information regarding an Alternate Application.

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Anchorage VA Medical Center

1201 North Muldoon Road

Anchorage, AK 99504