Dental Assistant Diploma Program and Course Facts

Dental assistants keep the office organized, help with patients, and maintain laboratory equipment. Find out what you'll study in a dental assisting diploma program, get information on job responsibilities, and see what certifications are required. Schools offering Dental Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Dental assisting programs are available at the diploma level, along with certificate and associate's degree programs. These programs offer various courses in patient care and office management, topics which directly correspond to the types of responsibilities seen on the job. There is certification in this field available, the requirements for which vary by state.

Programs 1-year diploma programs
Courses Biology, Clinical Procedures, Anatomy, Dental Materials, Communication and Management, Health Education
Responsibilities Communication with patients, laboratory work, office management
Certification CDA (Certified Dental Assistant) through the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB)

Which Schools Offer Dental Assistant Diploma Programs?

Several community and technical colleges across the U.S. offer dental assistant diploma programs. Some universities even offer dental assistant training programs. Many of these programs are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) and take about 9-11 months to complete. It is recommended that those seeking to enter this field complete an accredited program. Schools that offer these diploma-level studies include the following:

  • Kirkwood Community College
  • Gateway Technical College
  • Athens Technical College
  • Hibbing Community College
  • Bates Technical College
  • Pulaski Technical College

What Courses Will I Take?

Courses in a dental assisting diploma program prepare individuals to help with laboratory duties, patient care, and office management. Additional topics covered in courses include chairside assisting techniques, preventative care, and dental office procedures. Some specific courses you can expect to take include:

  • Dental anatomy
  • Dental radiography
  • Infection control
  • Dental nutrition
  • Dental materials

Are Online Dental Assistant Diploma Programs Available?

Fully online programs are not generally available because of the hands-on requirements during training, though some programs are a hybrid of online and in-person courses. Online coursework in these programs are usually general courses such as anatomy and physiology, biology or mathematics.

What Duties Would I Have?

As a dental assistant, there are a number of tasks and responsibilities depending on the office and an individual's skill level. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), direct patient care roles, office work, and laboratory work are the major responsibilities for dental assistants (www.bls.gov). Patient care includes preparing dental rooms with sterilized or new medical equipment, handing the dentist tools during a procedure, or applying topical anesthetics. In a laboratory role, assistants may take and process X-rays, analyze tissue samples for damage or infection, sterilize all re-usable equipment, and update patient information in the office's records.

What Certification Do I Need?

According to the BLS, most states regulate the licensing and certification of dental assistants and licensing requirements vary, though most do not require licensing for those entering the field. Certifications are awarded after an individual achieves a passing grade on the Certified Dental Assistant exam. Some states require that an individual complete a dental assisting program recognized by the Commission on Dental Accreditation before applying to take this exam. If an individual has not completed an accredited program, two or more years of full-time on-the-job training and experience can qualify a candidate, while some states have no formal training requirements before a candidate is eligible to take the exam.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster

    Penn Foster responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado State University Global

    Colorado State University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado State University Global:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • College of Health Care Professions

    College of Health Care Professions responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at College of Health Care Professions:

    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: Austin, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio
  • South University

    South University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at South University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Fortis College

    Fortis College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Fortis College:

    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Maryland: Towson
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