Programs designed to prepare students for careers in dental assisting are offered at a variety of levels and include certificates and associate's degrees. These programs are often found at colleges and universities with dental or health sciences schools.
Schools with Dental Assistant Programs
Listed below are schools with dental assistant programs. Tuition listed is for undergraduates during the 2015-2016 academic year.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Programs Offered||Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*|
|College of Southern Nevada||Las Vegas, Nevada||4-year, Public||Certificate||In-state $2,805, Out-of-state $9,450|
|Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis||Indianapolis, Indiana||4-year, Public||Certificate||In-state $9,056, out-of-state $29,774|
|University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||Chapel Hill, North Carolina||4-year, Public||Certificate||In-state $8,591, out-of-state $33,673|
|Florida State College at Jacksonville||Jacksonville, Florida||4-year, Public||Certificate||In-state $2,830, Out-of-state $9,944|
|Daytona State College||Daytona Beach, Florida||4-year, primarily associate's, Public||Certificate||In-state $3,282, out-of-state $12,352|
|University of Alaska Anchorage||Anchorage, Alaska||4-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's degree||In-state $5,545, out-of-state $17,177|
|University of Alabama at Birmingham||Birmingham, Alabama||4-year, Public||Certificate||In-state $7,766, out-of-state $17,654|
|Indian River State College||Fort Pierce, Florida||4-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's degree||In-state $2,764, out-of-state $10,201|
*Source: National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
Common topics covered in a dental assisting program include performing laboratory procedures, assisting with dental procedures and dental hygiene. Consider the following when looking for dental assistant schools:
- The first thing many students choosing a dental assisting school or college look at is whether or not a program is accredited by the American Dental Association. Graduation from an accredited program is a prerequisite for employment in states that license this profession.
- Students may want to consider whether opportunities for clinical experience are available.
- Students selecting a dentistry assistant school also commonly consider online course availability and tuition costs.
Certificate programs in dental assisting are designed to prepare students for the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination. Students take both lecture- and lab-based courses, and they gain real-world experience through clinical training opportunities. Topics of study include basic dentistry techniques, dental radiology, dental insurance and dental practice management. These programs can take between one and two years to complete.
Associate's Degree Programs
Associate's degree programs in dental assisting generally include the same core coursework as certificate programs, as they are also designed to prepare aspiring dental assistants for the CDA credentialing exam. However, they also include general education requirements, and they take a total of two years to complete.
Dental assisting is a growing career field. Education to prepare for work in this field ranges from a professional certificate to an associate's degree in dental assisting. While the duration and coursework for each type of program can vary, this type of training can typically be found at colleges or universities that have a school of dentistry or health sciences.