While only two schools in Missouri offer dental assisting degree programs, all of the four profiled schools offer certificate programs in the field. These programs are offered by 2-year or less than 2-year colleges throughout the state. Apart from on-campus courses, some programs are also available in a hybrid form, with some classes offered online. Students gain hands-on experience through a number of different methods, including fieldwork, internships, labs and clinicals. A comparison table displaying the four schools' programs and tuition information is included below.
Franklin Technology Center
Located in Joplin, Franklin Technology Center offers a 900-hour dental assistant certificate program that includes lectures, clinical rotations and an externship. While being trained to work with dentists in private practices or dental clinics, students explore dental anatomy, dental terminology and radiology, as well as how to work with dental instruments, dental materials and computers. Students are required to have 90% attendance and earn an overall grade of 75 or higher. Students who wish to gain Registered Dental Assistant certification after graduation must take the exam administered by the American Medical Technologists (AMT).
Metropolitan Community College
Metropolitan Community College offers an associate degree program in dental assisting on the college's Penn Valley campus in Kansas City. This accredited 2-year program leads to an Associate of Applied Science and prepares students for the CDA exam and employment as a dental assistant. Applicants to the program must complete prerequisites and college placement tests. Enrolled students attend fieldwork experiences and seminars for practical training.
The college also offers a certificate program in dental assisting. This has the same core course requirements as the associate degree program and only has a few general education courses.
Ozarks Technical Community College
Located in Springfield, Ozarks Technical Community College offers a dental assisting program that awards an Associate of Applied Science and can be taken on-campus or in a hybrid format. The hybrid program allows students to view lectures online, while physically attending labs and clinical courses. Completing this accredited associate program prepares students for the CDA exam. Topics of study in the 2-year program include dental materials, dental anatomy, dental radiology and dental terminology.
A certificate program is also available. This program requires 21 semester hours to complete.
St. Louis Community College
After completing the required 40 credit hours, students at this community college in St. Louis earn a Certificate of Proficiency in Dental Assisting. Accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association, this program teaches students about up-to-date procedures in the field. Required coursework covers topics such as dental office procedures, preventive dental health, integrated dental sciences, chair-side assisting and dental infection control. Students also get the chance to participate in several practicums. Graduates can take the exam required to become a CDA.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, educational and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state. In Missouri, a dental assistant who performs basic skills under the supervision of a licensed dentist is not required to complete formal training or earn licensure. However, dental assistants in Missouri and elsewhere can earn national certification as a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) by completing a dental assisting program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association and successfully passing a certification exam administered through the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. CDAs are allowed to perform a greater range of dental services than non-certified dental assistants.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Dental Assisting Programs Offered||Tuition & Fees (2015-16)|
|Franklin Technology Center||< 2-year, public; small city||Dental Assistant Certificate||$9,469 for tuition, supplies and fees (estimated total program cost for 2016-2017)**|
|Metropolitan Community College||2-year, public; large city|| Certificate in Dental Assisting,
Associate of Applied Science in Dental Assisting
|$2,880 in-district, $5,280 in-state, $6,900 out-of-state*|
|Ozarks Technical Community College||2-year public; midsize city|| Certificate in Dental Assisting,
Associate of Applied Science in Dental Assisting
|$2,930 in-district, $4,106 in-state, $5,282 out-of-state*|
|St. Louis Community College||2-year public; large city||Certificate of Proficiency in Dental Assisting||$3,090 in-district, $4,470 in-state, $6,150 out-of-state*|
Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **Franklin Technology Center.