What Should I Consider When Comparing Dental Assistant Schools?

When considering a dental assistant school, students should ensure that the school has accreditation from the Commission on Dental Accreditation and helps them meet the educational requirements for state licensure or registration as a dental assistant. Students can also compare completion times and course curricula. Schools offering Dental Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.


The most important consideration when comparing dental assistant programs is whether or not the programs are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), which is overseen by the American Dental Association. Accreditation ensures that the dental assistant school complies with set standards for educational quality and improvement. More than 1,400 programs are accredited through CODA as of 2019.

Important Facts About This Field of Study

Common Courses Dental terminology, cavity classification, radiology
Work Environment Dental clinics, dental schools, private dental practices
Online Availability Diploma and certificate programs available fully online
Degree/Certificate Levels Certificate, diploma, associate degree
Median Pay (2018) $38,660
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 19%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Licensing and Certification Requirements

When comparing dental assistant schools, a student should look for programs whose curricula meet the requirements and regulations for the state where the graduate intends to work. More than 30 states require or recognize national certification for the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). When considering a dental assistant school, the student should ensure that the courses prepare them for DANB certification or the appropriate state licensure. DANB certification acknowledges a graduate's proficiency and qualifications and can be an asset when seeking employment.

Program Completion Time

Most programs take a year or less to complete and lead to certificates or diplomas. Two-year programs that are offered in community and junior colleges can lead to an associate's degree. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that some states don't require any formal training for dental assistants; however, training could give you an edge when looking for employment.

Prerequisites and Curriculum

All programs require the student to have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Some schools require science- or computer-related courses for admission to their program.

When considering a dental assistant school, the student should ensure that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is taught. An applicant for the Dental Assisting National Board certification exam must have certification in CPR to qualify for the examination.

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:

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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.

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