What Education Is Required to Become a Dental Assistant?

A career as a dental assistant requires a high school diploma and either on-the-job training or graduation from a dental assistant training program. In some states, dental assistants must obtain certification. Read this article to learn about required education to become a dental assistant. Schools offering Dental Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Education Options

Dental assistants work closely with dentists, but they require less training than dental hygienists. Most dental assistants receive on-the-job training; however, an increasing number are completing one-year dental assistant training programs. Even experienced dental assistants constantly receive on-the-job training in order to keep up with the latest dental technology and techniques.

The Commission on Dental Accreditation (www.ada.org) certifies over 250 education programs in dental assisting. During their training, dental assistants will learn:

  • Dental terminology
  • Instrument names
  • Patient interaction
  • How to perform office duties

Important Facts About This Field of Study

Prerequisites High school diploma/equivalent; placement testing, immunization records, and background checks may be required
Online Availability Online coursework available, but in-person internships/practicums are required
Degrees/Certificates Undergraduate certificate or AAS in dental assisting
Common Courses Dental Radiography, Dental Office Administration, Chairside Techniques, and Dental Materials

Certification

Some states require dental assistants to become certified through the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB, www.danb.org). Certification through DANB requires either 3,500 hours of experience working as a dental assistant and a high school diploma or completion of a one-year dental assistant training program.

Salary Information and Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) predicts that demand for dental assistants will grow by 25% between 2012 and 2022. In May 2014, the BLS reported that the median annual wage for dental assistants was $35,390. The majority of dental assistants work full-time, however, the BLS notes that some positions require assistants to work on weekends or evenings. One in three reported being scheduled on a part-time basis in 2012.

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

  • George Mason University

    George Mason University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at George Mason University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Altierus

    Altierus responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Altierus:

    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Virginia: Woodbridge
  • Virginia College

    Virginia College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

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    Campus-Based Programs Available:

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    • Alabama: Birmingham, Huntsville
    • Florida: Birmingham, Huntsville, Fort Pierce, Jacksonville, Pensacola
    • Georgia: Birmingham, Huntsville, Fort Pierce, Jacksonville, Pensacola, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Savannah
    • Louisiana: Birmingham, Huntsville, Fort Pierce, Jacksonville, Pensacola, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Savannah, Baton Rouge, Bossier City
    • Mississippi: Birmingham, Huntsville, Fort Pierce, Jacksonville, Pensacola, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Savannah, Baton Rouge, Bossier City, Biloxi
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    • Tennessee: Birmingham, Huntsville, Fort Pierce, Jacksonville, Pensacola, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Savannah, Baton Rouge, Bossier City, Biloxi, Columbia, Florence, Spartanburg, Knoxville
    • Virginia: Birmingham, Huntsville, Fort Pierce, Jacksonville, Pensacola, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Savannah, Baton Rouge, Bossier City, Biloxi, Columbia, Florence, Spartanburg, Knoxville, Richmond
  • Brightwood College

    Brightwood College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Brightwood College:

    • Certificates

    Campus-Based Programs Available:

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    • California: Bakersfield, Clovis, Palm Springs, Sacramento, Salida, San Diego, Vista
    • Indiana: Bakersfield, Clovis, Palm Springs, Sacramento, Salida, San Diego, Vista, Hammond, Indianapolis
    • Pennsylvania: Bakersfield, Clovis, Palm Springs, Sacramento, Salida, San Diego, Vista, Hammond, Indianapolis, Broomall, Philadelphia
    • Tennessee: Bakersfield, Clovis, Palm Springs, Sacramento, Salida, San Diego, Vista, Hammond, Indianapolis, Broomall, Philadelphia, Nashville
    • Texas: Bakersfield, Clovis, Palm Springs, Sacramento, Salida, San Diego, Vista, Hammond, Indianapolis, Broomall, Philadelphia, Nashville, Arlington, Beaumont, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Friendswood, Houston, San Antonio
  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Joseph's University

    Saint Joseph's University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Joseph's University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

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