Dental Assisting

Associate in Science Degree (AS)

Certificate of Achievement (COA)

The Dental Assisting program is a full-time day program to which students are admitted in August of each year. The curriculum is approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association and leads to a Certificate of Achievement in Dental Assisting. After successful completion of the curriculum the student is eligible to take the National Board Examination and upon passing becomes a Certified Dental Assistant. This evidence of competence is recognized throughout the United States. In addition, graduates will be able to apply for and take the Dental Board of California examination for state licensure as a Registered Dental Assistant. In addition to normal student expenses (for textbooks, etc.), the Dental Assisting Program requires an expenditure of approximately $3,500.00 during the one-year program for uniforms and special supplies. Applicants are encouraged to check with the Financial Aid Office for possible assistance before entering the program if this creates a hardship.

The program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association, a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at 312-440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611.


Career Opportunities

This program prepares the student for employment as a dental assistant. The dental assistant works with the dentist in providing patient treatment, including restorations, x-rays, and preventive services. Employment opportunities are excellent, not only in private dental offices, but also in public and private hospitals, clinics and laboratories, dental schools, dental supply houses, and in the armed forces.


Enrollment Eligibility

To be eligible for enrollment in the program, the student must meet the following criteria:

  • Completion of ENGRD 11 or ESLR 310 with a grade of “C” or better; or placement into ENGRD 110 or ESLR 320 through the assessment process.
  • Proof of eligibility can be obtained by either (1) submitting an official college transcript indicating the successful completion of an appropriate level English Reading course or (2) submitting the results of assessment testing that verifies placement in an appropriate level English Reading course.
  • High school or college grade point averages are not used to establish eligibility for the dental assisting program.


Enrollment Process

Eligible students are selected for the program according to the following steps:

  • Complete the online application (which includes uploading proof of eligibility) between January 1 and April 1 to apply for the fall semester program start.
  • All eligible candidates will be entered into a random selection pool.
  • The first 30 eligible applications will be selected for the program; all others are alternates and will be notified if/when seats become available.
  • Students accepted for enrollment in the Dental Assisting Program will be required to provide documentation of: a) capability to perform essential job-related functions of a dental assistant; b) completed physical examination and immunizations; c) TB test; d) current professional level CPR certification; and e) completion of criminal background check and an 8-panel drug screen test.


Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, the student will be able to:

  • incorporate and apply professional, ethical, legal, and regulatory concepts to oral health care services, community projects, and professional activities.
  • integrate and apply health literacy and culturally competent communication skills to oral health care services, academic endeavors, community projects, and professional activities.
  • apply critical thinking and self-assessment skills to enhance learning, research, patient care, professional growth, and continued competency.
  • adapt knowledge of the practice of dentistry to the demonstration of clinical dental assisting skills.
  • exhibit knowledge necessary for successful completion of the California Registered Dental Assistant’s Examination and the National Certified Dental Assistant’s Examination.


Completion Requirements

Associate in Science Degree (AS)
The Dental Assisting Associate in Science (A.S.) degree may be obtained by completion of the required program, plus general education requirements, plus sufficient electives to meet a 60-unit total. See SCC graduation requirements.

Certificate of Achievement (COA)
The Certificate of Achievement may be obtained by completion of the required program with grade of “C” or better or equivalent.