Formal education programs for dental assistants typically culminate in a certificate or an associate degree and include courses in oral anatomy, infection control, chair-side support, patient interaction and equipment preparation. Three of the top schools for dental assistants are the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis and the University of Alabama - Birmingham.
UNC - Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina's School of Dentistry offers programs ranging from the certificate to the postdoctoral levels, as well as continuing education. UNC accepts only 24 students each year to its 10-month dental assisting certificate program. The curriculum includes dental materials labs, chair-side assisting courses and hands-on practice in student clinics, as well as dentists' offices.
Dental programs at this school have received accreditation from the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation.
Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis' School of Dentistry offers a 1-year dental assisting certificate program, available on campus and online. Course topics include coronal polishing and fluoride application. Students can also earn a certificate in expanded restorative functions. Graduates of this program are permitted to enter bachelor's degree programs in fields like public health and general studies. IUPUI's dental programs have received accreditation from the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation.
University of Alabama - Birmingham's School of Dentistry offers a 1-year certificate program in dental assisting. Once enrolled, students complete approximately 500 hours of hands-on practice during clinical rotations. They also take on coursework in dental studies, biomedical sciences and dental assisting. UAB's dental assisting program has received approval from the state board of dental examiners.
Top Dental Assisting Programs
Other schools with top dental assisting programs include:
- Broward College in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, which offers diplomas and associate degrees in dental assisting.
- College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas, which has a dental assisting program can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis|.
- Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, FL, which offers a dental assisting certificate that can be completed in ten months.
- Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, FL, which has a full-time dental assisting certificate program takes three semesters to complete.
- University of Alaska - Anchorage, where students can opt for a dental assisting certificate or Associate of Applied Science.
- University of Maine - Augusta, which offers a dental assisting certificate in addition to an expanded function dental assisting program.
- University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, IN, where individuals enrolled in the dental assistant program can earn a certificate or associate degree.
While three of the top schools for dental assistants are the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis, and University of Alabama - Birmingham, there are many dental assisting program options across the country.