Many states require dental assistants to be certified in order to practice; undergraduate programs can prepare students to take certification exams. Even for students who don't live in a state that requires certification, these basic training programs can provide a strong educational foundation for the career, and they may improve future job prospects.
10 Colleges in the U.S. with Orthodontist Aide Programs
These schools offer dental assisting and/or dental hygiene programs:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)*|
|Houston Community College||Houston, TX||2-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's||In-district $1,632; In-state $3,360; Out-of-state $3,756|
|New York University||New York, NY||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Associate's, Bachelor's||$47,750|
|College of Southern Nevada||Los Vegas, NV||4-year, primarily associate's, Public||Certificate||In-state $2,805; Out-of-state $9,450|
|Tarrant County College District||Fort Worth, TX||2-year, Public||Associate's||In-district $1,320; In-state $2,064; Out-of-state $4,920|
|Moreno Valley College||Moreno Valley, CA||2-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's||In-state $1,416; Out-of-state $7,356|
|City College of San Francisco||San Francisco, CA||2-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's||In-state $1,598; Out-of-state $7,554|
|Pima Community College||Tucson, AZ||2-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's||In-state $1,974; Out-of-state $8,610|
|Broward College||Fort Lauderdale, FL||4-year, Primarily associates, Public||Diploma, Associate's||In-state $2,753; Out-of-state $8,875|
|Indiana University-Purdue University||Indianapolis, IN||4-year, Public||Certificate||In-state $9,056; Out-of-state $29,774|
|Palomar College||San Marcos, CA||2-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's||In-state $1,338; Out-of-state $7,078|
Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics
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School Selection Criteria
Keep the following things in mind as you search for an orthodontist aide program:
- For students who plan to work in a state that requires certification, it is critical to ensure that the program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).
- Students may want to look at the pass rates for graduates of the school on the certification exam given by the Dental Assisting National Board Inc. (DANB).
- Aspiring orthodontic assistants also might want to choose a dental assisting program that includes a basic orthodontics course.
- Some schools offer distance learning options, which may appeal to students who are not able to relocate or have scheduling constraints.
In states where certification is required for dental assistants, a certificate is the minimum educational requirement to take the licensure exam. These programs cover the basics of dental terminology, instrumentation, safety procedures and common dental office practices. In total, they take about a year to complete.
Associate's Degree Programs
At the associate's degree level, dental assisting is usually offered as a concentration within a broader Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program in health sciences or healthcare. Over the course of these two-year programs, students get much of the same fundamental training as students in certificate programs, but they also fulfill general education requirements. The curriculum is typically divided between classroom-based coursework, on-campus lab experiences and clinical rotations.
There are a number of public and private colleges that offer relevant programs for aspiring dental assistants and orthodontic aides. Formal education programs are especially important for students who live in states that require certification.