The National Occupational Analysis (NOA) for dental assisting in Canada is completed approximately every five years and is used primarily to assist in the development and confirmation of the Occupational Standard and to update Domain Descriptions and inform National Dental Assisting Examining Board exam revisions. The NOA provides a timely profile of emerging trends in the dental assisting profession and serves an important role in informing education, curriculum development, accreditation of education programs, recruitment, performance improvement, career development, and the examination and credentialing of practitioners. It also represents an important resource for provincial regulators and can inform government regulation and policy development.
The key methods used in the occupational analysis consisted of a national survey along with focus groups and key informant interviews. Following the completion of the national survey, regional focus groups and key informant interviews were conducted to gain additional context and a fuller understanding of the survey results. These discussions also provided important insights into trends and issues facing the dental assisting profession including:
- changes / trends related to quality assurance protocols / safe practice protocols;
- the type of dental assisting skills being under-utilized in the workplace; and,
- areas where dental assisting education could be strengthened.
The 2019-20 NOA was conducted by the National Dental Assisting Examining Board and the Canadian Dental Assistants Association, in partnership with the Canadian Dental Assisting Regulatory Authorities.