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Best 15 Dental Assistant Programs in 2021

September 21, 2021 | Staff Writers

Dental Assistant Programs
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Dental assistants perform vital duties that significantly increases the efficiencies of dentists. The student that successfully completes one of the best dental assistant programs has the opportunity to complete the program requirements, and to achieve their goals to work as a dental assistant. 

Advantages of Completing One of the Top Dental Assistant Programs 

There are a variety of advantages for individuals that want to start a new career or that wants to change their career and become a dental assistant. Students that complete a dental assistant program have the knowledge to instruct patients in good oral hygiene, to make sure that patients are comfortable, to schedule appointments, and to perform a variety of office management tasks. 

The American Dental Association (ADA) lists a variety of skills that a dental assistant is expected to have, including: 

  • Assisting dentists during a variety of treatment procedures 
  • Performing a variety of infection control duties such as preparing and sterilizing instruments 
  • Taking impressions and x-rays of the patient’s teeth 
  • Providing patients with instructions for their oral care after dental procedures or oral surgery 
  • Assisting with providing direct patient care in all dental specialties including orthodontics and oral surgery or pediatric dentistry 

The variety of duties that dental assistants perform likely appeals to many potential students that want to excel at a career with a promising job growth outlook. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the job growth outlook for dental assistants through the year 2029 is faster than the average of most other occupations.  

The salary is another feature that attracts some people to explore dental assistant programs. The BLS lists the 2019 median salary for dental assistants as $40,080 per year, or an average of $19.27 per hour.  

These dental assistant programs offer students the opportunity to gain new employment as a dental assistant, or to take their career in a new direction.  

Best 15 Dental Assistant Programs

1. Texas Academy of General Dentistry 

The Texas Academy of General Dentistry explains that in the State of Texas, an individual can work as a dental assistant by applying for a job and learning while working at a dental practice. However, individuals that want to take x-rays, a task typically required of dental assistants, the individual must complete a minimum of a Registered Dental Assistant certificate program. 

The Registered Dental Assistant Program prepares students for a career in dental assisting by focusing on radiology, infection control and jurisprudence, which is the legal considerations. 

The program requires just six online hours of study. 

  • Tuition: $163 total cost 
  • Accreditation: Approved PACE Program Provider by the Academy of General Dentistry

2. Allan Hancock Community College 

Start training for a career as a dental assistant through the Hancock College Dental Assistant Program. Choose your preferred path by selecting either the Dental Assisting – Certificate of Achievement or the Dental Assisting – Associate in Science program.  

Students gain knowledge and skills in office procedures, chairside practice, x-ray techniques, and specialty procedures. 

  • Tuition: $1,146 total cost (Certificate) 
  • Accreditation: ACCJC, Approved by Dental Board of California 

3. Sacramento City College 

Enroll in the Dental Assisting Program at Sacramento City College and earn an Associate of Science Degree in Dental Assisting. The program provides instruction and training in office procedures, and a variety of patient treatments, including preventive services, x-rays, restorations, and other skills required of dental assistants. 

Graduates have the opportunity to sit for the National Board Examination to become a Certified Dental Assistant. 

  • Tuition: est. $2,000 total program cost 
  • Accreditation: Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association 

4. Sinclair College 

Sinclair College offers a short-term dental assisting certificate through its Dental Assisting DAS.S.STC Program. Students learn the fundamentals of working in a dental practice, including basic concepts and techniques performed by dental assistants. Students also learn communication skills, critical thinking skills, and ethical decision-making. 

  • Tuition: $2,142.51 total cost 
  • Accreditation: Commission on Dental Accreditation  

5. Hudson Valley Community College 

Prepare for a rewarding career by enrolling in the Hudson Valley Community College Dental Assisting Certificate Program. The one-year program provides students with the knowledge and skills required of dental assistants such as chairside practice, office procedures, and coordinating financial arrangements. Some course examples include Dental Anatomy and Embryology, Dental Materials for Dental Assistants, and Dental Assisting Radiology. 

Graduates are eligible to take the New York State Professional Dental Assisting (NYPDA) Examination, the Radiation Health & Safety (RHS) Exam, and the Infection Control Exam. The school also offers an associate’s degree program in dental assisting.

  • Tuition: $2,400 total cost 
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education, CODA 

6. Anne Arundel Community College 

The Anne Arundel Community College Dental Assisting and Radiology Program prepares students for entry-level dental assisting positions. Students participate in lectures, labs, and other hands-on training. Learn the skills that are critical to the success of a dental assistant, while also preparing to take the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Radiology and Health and Safety (RHS) exam. 

  • Tuition: $2,410 total program cost 
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education 

7. Pima Community College 

The Pima Community College Dental Assisting Program prepares graduates to directly enter into the workforce as a dental assistant. Some courses in the certificate program include Introduction to Health Care for Dental Assisting, Biomedical Dental Science, and Oral Radiography.  

The program also provides a pathway to becoming a dental hygienist.  

  • Tuition: est. $2,523 total cost 
  • Accreditation: American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation  

8. Ozarks Technical Community College 

The Ozarks Technical Community College offers students the opportunity to earn an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Assisting degree. Students have their choice of completing the program in the traditional face-to-face or the hybrid format. The program requires lectures, laboratory and clinical experiences. 

Some courses in the program includes Chairside Assisting, Infection Control, Dental Materials, and Dental Radiology.  

Graduates of the program are eligible to apply to take the Dental Assisting National Board Exam. There is also a certificate program at the school.

  • Tuition: $2,963 total cost 
  • Accreditation: Accreditation by the Commission of Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association (ADA) 

9. Odessa College 

The Odessa College Dental Assisting Program prepares students to perform all of the duties that dental assistants perform in the dental practice. The program focuses on instruction and hands-on training in office assisting skills, dental sciences knowledge and skills, clinical procedures, and dental radiography.  

The program consists of 16 weeks of instruction, with a maximum class size of 15 students. 

  • Tuition: $3,200 total cost 
  • Accreditation: American Medical Technologists 

10. Monroe Community College 

The one-year Dental Assisting Program at Monroe Community College prepares students to work in entry-level dental assistant positions. The instruction is delivered through classroom lectures, laboratory and clinical experiences. The program also requires an internship.  

Students learn to provide patient education, take impressions and x-rays, to select and pre-fit orthodontic bands and provisional crowns, to remove sutures, and a variety of other duties. 

Students that complete this program gain points towards the dental hygiene program. Graduates are prepared to sit for the National Certification Exam. 

  • Tuition: $4,706 total cost 
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education, CODA 

11. Fayetteville Technical Community College 

Learn to assist the dentist in a variety of duties upon graduating from the Fayetteville Technical Community College Dental Assisting Program. Gain the knowledge and technical skills required to work alongside the dentist, performing duties such as patient care, x-rays, chairside and laboratory procedures. Learn instrument exchange, oral evacuation, mixing materials, placing sealants, and to triage emergency patients. 

The program consists of classwork instruction, laboratory and clinical experiences. Graduates earn a Dental Assistant Diploma. 

  • Tuition: $4,800 total cost 
  • Accreditation: Commission on Dental Accreditation 

12. Dental Assistant Academy of Chicago 

The Dental Assistant Academy of Chicago invites prospective students to “Reinvent yourself” by enrolling in the dental assistant program at the school. Students quickly progress through the 11-week program, beginning their hands-on experiences within the first week of the program. The academy features an on-site dental facility.

  • Tuition: est. $5,500 total program cost 
  • Accreditation: Approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) Division of Private and Vocational Schools 

13. Minneapolis Community and Technical College 

Start or expand your career when you earn a Dental Office Support Personnel Certificate at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College. The program, which the school calls the only one of its kind, is designed for students that want to enter the career field for the first time, or for students that work in a dentist’s practice, and wants to have the expanded functions available by having the certificate.   

The program consists of classroom instruction, preclinical and clinical experiences. 

  • Tuition: $5,660 total cost 
  • Accreditation: Commission on Dental Accreditation 

14. St. Louis Community College 

Students attending St. Louis Community College have the opportunity to complete the Dental Assisting Program, which leads to earning a Certificate of Proficiency upon program completion. Students gain a solid foundation in all aspects of dentistry. Graduates of the program have the knowledge and skills necessary to perform chairside assisting procedures, to take x-rays and impressions, to prepare restorative materials, and to perform a variety expanded duties. 

Students that successfully complete the program qualify to sit for the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) exam to become a Certified Dental Assistant. 

  • Tuition: $7,448 total program cost  
  • Accreditation: American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation 

15. Midwest Technical Institute 

The Dental Assistant Training Program at the Midwest Technical Institute prepares graduates for a rewarding career as a dental assistant in just nine months. The program provides entry-level instruction in theory, hands-on training in dental office procedures, and routine clinical tasks and procedures. The program also provides instruction on dental-related ethics.  

The tuition cost does cover fees at this school. 

  • Tuition: est. $14,972 total cost 
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools & Colleges (ACCSC) 

Dental Assistant Programs Ranking Methodology 

We realize that researching dental assistant programs is potentially a tedious, time-consuming task, so we did the hard work for you. We researched dental assisting diploma, certificate, and associate degree programs, and then ranked our list of the top dental assistant programs by tuition. We listed the total tuition, rather than a per-credit-hour tuition. Tuition does not include the cost of supplies, fees or insurance.

Do you need help finding the right college or university? We can help you with that, based on your selected program. 

Would you like to have your school included in our rankings? Please contact us and we will be happy to assist you. 

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BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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