Bay Area Dental Schools with Course and Program Overviews

Jul 30, 2019

There are a number of schools within the San Francisco Bay area that offer dentistry programs. Read an overview of these schools' programs, requirements, and tuition info to make an informed education decision.

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Essential Information

Professionals looking to work in the dentistry field will need postsecondary education. San Francisco Bay-area students with an interest in dentistry have plenty of options, as several schools in the area offer such programs. These schools offer Doctor of Dental Surgery, dental hygiene and dental assisting training programs, which can prepare students for immediate employment in the field. The state of California requires dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants to be registered and licensed, and these programs prepare students to take the exams that are required to earn these credentials.


City College of San Francisco

Students seeking employment as registered and certified dental assistants should seriously consider the training program at City College of San Francisco. In this program, students will learn about patient care, intra-oral dental functions, and laboratory procedures. Students who successfully complete the program will be qualified to sit for state and national licensure examinations.

College of Alameda

The dental assisting program at the College of Alameda aims to combine classroom learning with practical experience. Students will take courses that cover essential concepts such as oral health, infection control, anatomy, and dental radiology. After learning these skills, students can practice them through an internship in their spring semester, in which they apply their knowledge and develop further skills.

Contra Costa College

Contra Costa College's dental assisting department offers a program that can be completed in about a year. Spread across two terms and one summer session, the program prepares students for national and state board examinations. Students acquire clinical experience at select dental practices under the supervision of college's faculty.

College of Marin

The career-focused program at the College of Marin focuses specifically on equipping candidates with the fundamental skills and knowledge that will ready them for a career in dentistry. The program is fully accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and operates with approval from the California Board of Dental Examiners. Full-time students can complete the program in two semesters, and the college also offers a part-time option which can be finished in four semesters Both options also require the completion of one summer session.

College of San Mateo

The College of San Mateo offers a pair of dental assisting programs, with one awarding an associate's degree and the other a certificate. The two-semester certificate program consists of about 38 credits, with course topics including dental science, radiology, and chairside assisting. The 60-credit degree program consists of many of the same courses, with a few additions such as public speaking.

Chabot College

The only dental hygiene program in this article, Chabot College's program helps aspiring hygienists prepare for a career in dentistry. The program focuses on preparing students for the National Dental Hygiene Board Exam, which is required for all dental hygienists. Chabot College enjoys a formidable reputation, as 100% of graduates have successfully passed the exam in the past ten years.

University of California - San Francisco (UCSF)

Located on the San Francisco campus, the University of California's School of Dentistry provides a wide range of postgraduate dentistry education options. To be admitted to the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) program, applicants are not required to have a bachelor's degree; however, they must have prerequisite college science courses including biology, microbiology, anatomy, and physiology. For students considering opening their own practice, the school offers a DDS and Master of Business Administration dual degree which can be completed in four years of day and evening classes. Students wishing to become researchers in dentistry can obtain a combined DDS/PhD. Students seeking this degree must apply to each program and be accepted by each program.

UCSF School of Dentistry also offers a variety of advanced dentistry specialty programs. The school has both a master's and PhD program in Oral and Craniofacial Sciences (OCS). The OCS master's degree can be combined with post-graduate certificates in endodontics, pediatric dentistry, orthodontics, oral medicine, or periodontology. The school also offers specialty certificates, residencies, and fellowships in areas such as geriatric dentistry, prosthodontics, dental public health, and advanced general dentistry. In conjunction with the University of California, the School of Dentistry also offers a six-year program in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Doctor of Medicine degree. Finally, the school offers a master's degree in dental hygiene for licensed dental hygienists.


Career Requirements

The state of California requires dentists to be licensed. Licensing requirements include being 18 years of age, graduating from an approved dental college, proof of adequate liability insurance, and passing the dental board examination. Applicants must also submit fingerprints and undergo a criminal background check. Outlined below is a table of programs offered in the San Francisco Bay area along with tuition rates and school info.


School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Dentistry Degrees Offered Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)*
City College of San Francisco 2-year, public; large city Certificate of Completion in Dental Assisting $1,696 in-state
$10,732 out-of-state
College of Alameda 2-year, public; large suburb Certificate of Completion in Dental Assisting $1,254 in-state
$7,806 out-of-state
Contra Costa College 2-year, public; large suburb Certificate of Achievement in Dental Assisting $1,312 in-state
$8,564 out-of-state
College of Marin 2-year, public; large suburb Dental Assisting Certificate $1,492 in-state
$9,712 out-of-state
College of San Mateo 2-year, public; large suburb Certificate of Achievement in Dental Assisting, Associate in Science in Dental Assisting $1,344 in-state
$6,300 out-of-state
Chabot College 2-year, public; midsize city Associate of Arts in Dental Hygiene $1,142 in-state
$7,742 out-of-state
University of California - San Francisco 4-year, public; large city Master of Science in Dental Hygiene,
Doctor of Dental Surgery,
Doctor of Dental Surgery/Master of Business Administration,
Fellowship in Geriatric Dentistry,
Dental Public Health Residency,
Certificate in Endondontics/Master of Science in Oral and Craniofacial Sciences,
General Practice Residency,
Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry/Master of Science in Oral and Craniofacial Sciences,
Certificate in Oral Medicine/Master of Science in Oral and Craniofacial Sciences,
Certificate in Orthodontics/Master of Science in Oral and Craniofacial Sciences,
Master of Science in Oral and Craniofacial Sciences, Periodontology,
Post-graduate certificate in Prosthodontics,
Residency in Advanced General Dentistry,
PhD in Oral and Craniofacial Sciences,
Certificate in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery/Doctor of Medicine
$12,933 in-state
$28,035 out-of-state

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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