Dental Assisting Certificate: Summary of Certificate Program

While enrolled in a dental assisting certificate program, students learn to implement professional and ethical behavior within a medical setting, to provide a safe environment for patients and to deliver quality dental care. A certificate program can also allow students to meet state regulations for registration, licensing or certification.

Essential Information

Obtaining a dental assisting certificate can help students to prepare for careers in dental assisting. The certificate programs typically last one year and teach students about dental office procedures and clinical duties. Graduates may find work in dental clinics, laboratories and private offices.

Students must have current CPR certification and must pass a health screening and background check in order to qualify for this certificate program.

Certificate Program in Dental Assisting

Certificate programs in dental assisting include classroom and hands-on practice in classroom sessions and planned practical experiences in on-campus and off-site dental clinics and offices. Aside from dental assisting techniques, topics covered in a program may include:

  • Dental science
  • Dental materials, tools and equipment
  • Sanitation and infection control
  • Dental radiology
  • Dental office procedures
  • Medical ethics

Popular Career Options

Graduates of a dental assisting program usually enter the field as dental assistants, working under the direct supervision of a dentist. Assistants may help the dentist during patient examinations and procedures and assist with running the office. Most assistants work in a private dental office, but jobs may also be available in other settings. Graduates may work as:

  • Dental insurance claims processors
  • Dental product sales representatives
  • Dental office managers

As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a 18% increase in job opportunities for dental assistants is predicted during the 2014-2024 decade ( In May of 2015, the BLS estimated that dental assistants earned a mean salary of $36,920 annually.

Continuing Education Information

According to the BLS, most states have some type of regulation for dental assistants, such as licensing or registration. States also usually require continuing education to maintain registration or licensing. Advancing in the job field typically requires additional education, such as a degree in dental hygiene, which could lead to a job as a dental hygienist.

Students can earn a dental assisting certificate to prepare for a career as a dental assistant. These programs combine classroom instruction with hands-on experience and can help students meet the education requirements for state licensure.

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