Dental Assistant Programs: Degrees, Certificates, and Courses

A dental assistant degree can help you take the next step in your career path, learn about dental assistant programs.
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Dental Assistant Career Facts

Dental Assistant Programs & Degree Options

Before you can start a dental assistant program you need to determine the type of dental assistant degree you need to earn. There are several educational routes to become a dental assistant. This page shares the dental assistant degree options you have.

1. Dental Assisting Certification

The quickest route takes about 9-11 months to complete a dental assisting certificate sometimes called a diploma. These dental assisting certificates are most often earned at community and career colleges. If your goal is to start working as soon as possible then the career college programs are generally slightly faster to complete. For more details on getting your dental assistant certification and the different certificates available, we created this guide to becoming a certified dental assistant.

2. Dental Assisting Associates Degree

Getting an associates degree in dental assisting generally takes about 2 years. In addition to your dental curriculum you will also earn some general education. These programs are most often found through career and community colleges. The good news about associates degrees is that you can use the credits towards a bachelors when you decided to advance your career. This opens to the door to additional opportunities and higher salaries. Knowing these two routes to becoming a dental assistant, now you can determine which is best for your financial situation and schedule. Plus it is great to know that dental assistants and dental technicians will have opportunities to advance their careers and become dental hygienists. Dental hygienists will require slightly more education and training but get paid more.

Dental Assistant Classes

You will learn a lot in your dental assisting classes including everything from “chair side assisting” meaning clinically assisting the dentist to general medical and office administration. Accredited schools are guaranteed to give you all the required skills to become a dental hygienist and begin your career. Good programs will also include clinical practice providing hands on experience working in a dental office to really prepare you for the workforce. Dental technician classes will vary slightly by each program but the following subjects will always be covered:
  • Dental/Oral Anatomy
  • Dental Ceramics and Molds
  • Dentures and Dental Materials
  • Computer and Administrative Skills
  • Molding, Waxing, and Contouring
Dental assistant programs and dental hygienist programs will include more clinical education and experience to teach skills used in assisting the dentist directly. Dental assistant courses will vary slightly by each program but the following subjects will always be covered:
  • Handling and sanitizing dental equipment
  • Dental office administration and management
  • Imaging and developing x-rays
  • Periodontal diseases
  • Dental and oral hygiene
Aside from these general courses that overlap in both dental hygienist and dental assistant programs the remaining curriculum would be different and focused around each specific role. Some specific dental assistant classes are:
  • Dental pharmacology
  • First Aid and CPR
  • Dental Materials
  • Dental Administration
  • Chair-side Manner and Assisting
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Anatomy
  • Radiology
  • Dental Psychology
  • Clinical Procedures
Now you know the types of dental assisting degrees you can pursue and the types of dental assisting classes you need to take.
If you are interested in becoming a dental assistant then click on the blue “Find Schools” button to find the best dental assisting program for you.

List of Accredited Dental Assisting School Programs

The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association (ADA) is the organization responsible for accrediting dental assisting programs. Accreditation provides the following important standards:
  • Accessing federal financial aid
  • Assuring all required curriculum is covered
  • Assuring quality educational programs
  • Creating a credit transfer system between dental programs and schools
  • Increasing employer confidence
For the reasons above, it is important to attend an accredited dental assisting school. Doing so will provide financial aid opportunities, a high quality education, and better job prospects after graduation. You can click on the blue button that says “Find Schools” to compare accredited dental assisting programs in your area as well as available online dental assisting courses. The following list of dental assisting schools is a complete list of every CODA accredited dental assisting program in the United States.


Calhoun Community College Coastal Alabama Community College Lawson State Community College – Bessemer Trenholm State Community College Wallace State Community College


University of Alaska – Anchorage


Phoenix College Pima County Community College


Arkansas Northeastern College Pulaski Technical College


Cerritos College Chaffey Community College Citrus College City College of San Francisco College of Alameda College of Marin College of the Redwoods College of San Mateo Cypress College Diablo Valley College Foothill College Hacienda LaPuente Adult Ed Moreno Valley College Orange Coast College Palomar Community College Pasadena City College Sacramento City College San Diego Mesa College San Jose City College Santa Rosa Junior College


Front Range Community College – Larimer Pickens Technical College Pikes Peak Community College Manchester Community College Tunxis Community College


Atlantic Technical Center Broward College Cape Coral Technical College Charlotte Technical College College of Central Florida Daytona State College Eastern Florida State College Erwin Technical College Florida State College at Jacksonville Gulf Coast State College (Day) Hillsborough Community College Indian River State College Lindsey Hopkins Technical Ed Center Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology Manatee Technical College Northwest Florida State College Orange Technical College – Orlando Palm Beach State College Pinellas Technical College Robert Morgan Educational Center Santa Fe College South Florida State College Tallahassee Community College Traviss Technical College


Albany Technical College Athens Technical College Atlanta Technical College Augusta Technical College Columbus Technical College Georgia Northwestern Technical College Gwinnett Technical College Lanier Technical College Ogeechee Technical College Savannah Technical College Southern Crescent Technical College Wiregrass Georgia Technical College


Kapi’olani Community College


Carrington College of Boise College of Western Idaho – Cosponsor of Boise State University Elgin Community College Illinois Valley Community College John A. Logan College Kaskaskia College Lewis and Clark Community College


Indiana University Northwest Indiana University School of Dentistry International Business College Ivy Tech Community College – Anderson Ivy Tech Community College – Columbus/Franklin Ivy Tech Community College – Kokomo Ivy Tech Community College – LaFayette Ivy Tech Community College – South Bend University of Southern Indiana


Des Moines Area Community College Hawkeye Community College Indian Hills Community College Iowa Western Community College Kirkwood Community College Marshalltown Community College Northeast Iowa Community College Scott Community College Western Iowa Tech Community College


Flint Hills Technical College Labette Community College Salina Area Technical College Wichita State University Campus of Applied Science and Technology


West Kentucky Technical College


University of Maine Augusta/University College of Bangor


Hagerstown Community College


Massasoit Community College McCann Technical School Middlesex Community College Mount Wachusett Community College Northern Essex Community College Quinsigamond Community College Southeastern Technical Institute Springfield Technical Community College


Baker College-Clinton Township Delta College Grand Rapids Community College Lake Michigan College Mott Community College Northwestern Michigan College Washtenaw Community College Wayne County Community College


Central Lakes College Century College Dakota County Technical College Hennepin Technical College Herzing University Hibbing Community College Minneapolis Community & Technical College Minnesota West Community & Technical College Minnesota State Community & Technical College – Moorhead Northwest Tech College – Bemidji Rochester Community & Technical College St. Cloud Technical College South Central Technical College – Mankato


Hinds Community College Meridian Community College Pearl River Community College


Metropolitan Community College – Penn Valley Ozarks Tech Community College State Technical College of Missouri St. Louis Community College – Forest Park


Montana State University – Great Falls Salish Kootenai College NEBRASKA Central Community College Metropolitan Community College Mid-Plains Community College Southeast Community College


College of Southern Nevada Truckee Meadows Community College NEW HAMPSHIRE NHTI, Concord’s Community College


Burlington County Institute of Technology Camden County College Cape May County Tech Institute Fortis Institute


Central NM Community College Dona Ana Community College Luna Community College – Las Vegas Santa Fe Community College University of New Mexico – Gallup


SUNY Educ Opportunity Ctr – Buffalo


Alamance Community College Asheville-Buncombe Tech. Community College Cape Fear Community College Central Carolina Community College Central Piedmont Community College Coastal Carolina Community College Fayetteville Technical Community College Forsyth Technical Community College Guilford Technical Community College Martin Community College Miller-Motte Colleg – Wilmington Miller-Motte College – Raleigh Montgomery Community College Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Wake Technical Community College Wayne Community College Western Piedmont Community College Wilkes Community College


North Dakota State College of Science


Choffin Career and Technical Center Eastern Gateway Community College


Francis Tuttle Technology Center Moore Norman Technology Center Rose State College Tulsa Technology Center Western Technology Center


Blue Mountain Community College Central Oregon Community College Chemeketa Community College Lane Community College Linn-Benton Community College Portland Community College Umpqua Community College


Harcum College Harrisburg Area Community College Manor College Westmoreland County Community College


University of Puerto Rico, College of Health Related Professions Community College of Rhode Island


Aiken Technical College Florence-Darlington Tech College Greenville Technical College Horry-Georgetown Tech College Midlands Technical College Spartanburg Community College Tri-County Technical College Trident Technical College York Technical College


Lake Area Technical Institute


Chattanooga State Community College Northeast State Tech. Community College South College Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Knoxville Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Memphis Volunteer State Community College


Amarillo College Coleman College of Health Sciences Del Mar College El Paso Community College Grayson County College Medical Education and Training Campus – Air Force Dental Assistant Program San Antonio College Tyler Junior College


Center for Technology – Essex


Centura College – Norfolk Fortis College – Richmond Germanna Community College Northern Virginia Community College Reynolds Community College


Bates Technical College Bellingham Technical College Clover Park Technical College Lake Washington Institute of Technology Renton Technical College Seattle Vocational Institute South Puget Sound Community College Spokane Community College


Mercer County Tech Ed Center


Blackhawk Technical College Fox Valley Technical College Gateway Technical College Northeast Wisconsin Tech College Western Tech College Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
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