What is DANB’s ICE® Exam

ICE® exam stands for Infection Control, a component of the DANB certification process.

As the name suggests, this exam specifically tests your knowledge of Infection Control. It is one of the most popular exams as many states require that dental assistants are certified in infection control.


You will be given 75 mins to solve 100 multiple-choice questions. We will discuss the fees later in this article.


ICE® exam as a component of other DANB certifications

The ICE® Infection Control exam is a component of many different certifications:

  • National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA® certification)
  • Certified Dental Assistant™ (CDA®certification)
  • Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA®certification)

This means you must pass the ICE® exam with other components to obtain the NELDA®, CDA® or COA® certification. (In a separate article, we describe in detail how you can apply and pass the NELDA®, CDA® or COA® exams). The ICE® exam alone will not grant you the NELDA®, CDA® or COA® title.


ICE® exam as its own certificate

You can take the ICE® exam separately, on its own too. There are no eligibility requirements for taking the ICE® exam so you can register anytime.

Once you’ve passed the ICE® exam, a certificate of knowledge-based competency will be issued to you. This certificate will help you prove to your employers that you are qualified in dental infection control. If at a later point, you would like to obtain the  CDA®, COA®, or NELDA® certifications, you will be able to use the ICE® exam certificate towards those titles.

(Note: Certificates of knowledge-based competency are not certifications.)


The components of DANB’s ICE® exam

The ICE® exam has 100 multiple-choice items that are split into three parts:

  • Patient and Dental Healthcare Worker Education (10%) (Infectious diseases and patient safety, immunization against infectious diseases)
  • Standard/Universal Precautions and the Prevention of Disease Transmission
    • Prevent Cross-contamination and Disease Transmission (20%) (Hand hygiene, SUD protocols, patient and operator protection)
    • Maintain Aseptic Conditions (10%) (Disease transmission, biohazardous disposal, sterile instruments storage)
    • Instrument Processing (15%) (Preparation and monitoring of sterilization, cross-contamination prevention)
    • Asepsis Procedures (15%) (Methods of disinfection, dental unit water lines maintenance, chemical agents preparation and use)
  • Occupational Safety (30%) (Standards for dental personnel, safety measures when using chemicals, infection control and safety documentation and maintenance)


From January 2018 the ICE® exam items are split into four parts:

  • Standard Precautions and the Prevention of Disease Transmission (20%) (Infection diseases, medical history review to prevent adverse reactions, hygiene during and after oral surgery, patient and operator protection using PPE)
  • Prevention of Cross-contamination during Procedures (34%) (Disease transmission modes, aseptic conditions maintenance)
  • Instrument/Device Processing (26%) (Processing reusable dental instruments, processing equipment and sterilizers monitoring and maintenance)
  • Occupational Safety/Administrative Protocols (20%) (Occupational safety standards, infection control and safety documentation and maintenance


Registering and taking DANB’s ICE® exam

The steps to registering and taking the exam are as follows:

Step 1: Apply for an online account with the DANB

If you don’t have an account yet, select Create an account.

Click here to access DANB’s website and create an account

Step 2: Register

  • Go to the Dental Assisting National Boards website, danb.org.
  • Find the section called Become Certified (at the top) and select the section called Exams and Certification (on the left).
  • Select ICE® Exam. You will be directed to this page that shows you how to apply for the DANB’s ICE® examinations.

There are no requirements for this exam so once you are ready just click Apply now and you will be redirected to the login page.

Click here to access DANB’s website and apply for the ICE® Exam

Step 3: Pay the fees

The ICE® exam fee is different depending on the type of candidate you are. If you register just for the ICE® exam alone, then one of the following fees apply:

  • Traditional candidate: $250
  • Employed in Maryland: $250
  • Active military personnel: $245

If you register for the RHS® + ICE® exams together you can save money. You will pay $325 instead of $500. Also, if you register for the COA® exam package (ICE® exam + OA® exam) you will pay $425 instead of $550. Registering for the NELDA® exam package saves you money as well, as you will pay $375 instead of $725.

If you register for the CDA® exam package (RHS® exam +ICE® exam +GC exam ) you will pay $425 instead of $725.

Step 4: Book an exam date and center

  • Wait for your application to be processed. The DANB® will notify you with instructions to schedule an examination with the test-center.
  • Once you receive the confirmation email, click in the area called Already applied? View your upcoming exams in my account.
  • You will be redirected to PersonVue. Sign in and see the test you are eligible to take. Once you type in your zip code, you will find many options for you to take the dental assisting examinations.

Step 5: Take the exam(s)

  • You will receive an email confirmation from the PearsonVue before the examination. Make sure that your name is spelled correctly.
  • The facilitators at the test centers will walk you through the process of taking the ICE® exam.
  • Note that there are other test-takers at the centers.

Step 6: Wait for the exam results


States recognizing the ICE® title

The DANB has a fantastic guideline that provides details for each state’s requirements for the dental assistants. On the DANB website, go to Meet State Requirements, and you will be able to read the comprehensive guideline.


Preparing for the DANB’s ICE® exam

Review the DANB’s exam blueprint

Click here to go to DANB’s exam blueprint. The exam blueprint is detailed and can serve you as a guideline to understand what you should study.

Dale Foundation and textbooks

There are many different textbooks to use when preparing for the dental assisting exams, the ICE® exam in this case. At the end of each exam blueprint, you can see a list of recommended textbooks. Warning: They are heavy textbooks!

Also, the DALE Foundation has online courses.


SmarterDA Prep Course for DANB’s ICE® Exam

SmarterDA is one of the most popular online prep courses for DANB’s exams. The website has a specific prep course for DANB’s ICE® exam. The smart course features:

  • Study guides (with progress tracking)
  • Practice questions
  • Mock exam with a timer

That is why SmarterDA is considered the ALL-INCLUSIVE solution. Some call this program “addictive,” because you get a checkmark when you complete each topic.


Click here to START FREE TRIAL


If you have any questions about the DANB's ICE® exam, email us at support@smarterDA.com. We wish you the best in everything you do!

Disclaimer: DANB®, RHS®, OA®, NELDA®, CDA®, COA® ICE® are registered marks of the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. (“DANB”). This article is not reviewed or endorsed by or affiliated with DANB.


Related article: How to register and pass the DANB's CDA® exam