Dental Assistant Program

General Information

Mission of the Dental Assistant Program

The Dental Assistant program provides students with a quality education that prepares them to be competent, professional, and caring licensed dental assistants.

Program Description

The Dental Assistant Program offers a curriculum that prepares the students to successfully pass the Registered Dental Assistant Exam and the National Board Examination. In addition, students are well prepared to become skilled registered dental assistants, ready for employment as integral members of a dental team.

Each fall semester, 24 students who meet the qualification requirements, will be admitted to the program. See the Selection Criteria and the Application Process pages for additional information. The program requires a full time commitment for 10 consecutive months that includes the fall and spring semester and winter session. Upon completion of the program requirements the students will receive the Certificate of Completion in Dental Assisting and they will be eligible to take both the California State Registered Dental Assistant Examination and the Dental Assisting National Board Examination.

Students are encouraged to take the additional classes needed to fulfill the degree requirements for an Associate Degree. For additional information on earning the degree please see the MVC Catalog.

Accreditation Status

The program in dental assisting is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and has been granted the accreditation status of “approval without reporting requirements.” The Commission is 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, IL 60611. Visit the Commission’s website.

Bloodborne Pathogens Statement

Dental health professionals may be exposed to contagious diseases therefore strict compliance with Center of Disease Control (CDC) and OSHA standards are maintained. Policies on blood borne and infectious disease are available upon request from the Dental Assistant Program.

The Essential Role of a Dental Assistant

Dental assistants are the backbone of a dental practice. They are the unsung heroes of the clinic, responsible for a range of important tasks that keep the office running smoothly. From preparing patients for treatments to handling instruments and assisting the dentist during procedures, dental assistants need to be skilled, dependable, and quick on their feet.

What a Dental Assistant Does

A dental assistant’s roles are many and varied. They often include:

  • Interacting closely with patients, taking their medical history and preparing them for treatment.
  • Assisting dentists directly during procedures, handing them the appropriate tools.
  • Sterilizing instruments and equipment for patient safety.
  • Processing X-rays and maintaining patient records.
  • Scheduling appointments and managing the office’s day-to-day administrative needs.
  • Providing patients with post-treatment care instructions.

Skills You’ll Need to Succeed

To excel as a dental assistant, you’ll need a diverse set of skills, including:

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Strong organizational abilities and attention to detail.
  • The physical stamina to be on your feet for long periods.
  • Technical skills for learning and using dental equipment and software.
  • A compassionate and empathetic approach to patient care.

Enrolling in a Dental Assistant Program

Taking the first step towards a career in dental assisting means enrolling in a quality dental assistant training program. But with so many options out there, how do you choose the right one for you?

Why Choose a Dental Assistant Program?

A formal dental assistant program provides structured, hands-on training that’s essential for mastering the skills you’ll need in the field. It will give you the foundation required to pass any necessary licensing or certification exams and help you stand out in a competitive job market.

What to Look for in a Program

When choosing a dental assistant program, consider:

  • Accreditation. Ensure that the program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).
  • Curriculum. Look for a program that offers a comprehensive curriculum covering dental theory and practical skills.
  • Clinical experience. Hands-on experience in a clinic setting is invaluable.
  • Certification preparation. A good program will help you prepare for the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) exams.

The Structured Curriculum of a Dental Assistant Program

What can you expect to learn in a dental assistant program? A structured curriculum will typically include a mix of classroom instruction and clinical practice to ensure you graduate with a well-rounded education.

Core Courses You’ll Likely Encounter

Common courses in a dental assistant program include:

  • Dental anatomy and terminology.
  • Radiology and X-ray techniques.
  • Infection control and OSHA standards.
  • Clinical and administrative procedures.
  • Pharmacology and patient care.

Clinical Hands-On Training

The hands-on aspect of your training is critical. You’ll hone your skills under the supervision of experienced professionals, learning how to:

  • Take impressions and prepare restorative materials.
  • Perform basic laboratory procedures.
  • Work with patients in a clinical setting.
  • Assist during different dental procedures.

Career & Postgraduate Study Opportunities

Upon completion of your dental assistant program, a world of opportunities awaits you. Whether you choose to step directly into the work environment or continue your education, a dental assistant program is the perfect launching pad for a successful career in dentistry.

Immediate Career Pathways

After finishing a dental assistant program, you can:

  • Begin working in a dental office immediately.
  • Pursue internships or externships for additional experience.
  • Consider specializing in areas like pediatric dentistry or orthodontics.

Further Education Options

If you’re interested in advancing your career, further education is always an option:

  • Many dental assistants become dental hygienists, with additional education.
  • Some go on to become dentists, using their dental assistant experience as a foundation.
  • Others pursue continuing education in specialized areas of dental assisting.

Essential Skills and Qualifications for Aspiring Dental Assistants

While a dental assistant program will provide you with the skills you need to succeed, there are certain qualities and qualifications that will ensure you stand out in your dental career.

Necessary Qualifications

To enroll in a dental assistant program, you’ll typically need a high school diploma or equivalent. Some programs may also require you to pass a background check or drug screening.

Personal Qualities That Make a Great Dental Assistant

The best dental assistants are:

  • Detail-oriented.
  • Reliable and punctual.
  • Able to work as part of a team.
  • Calm under pressure.
  • Committed to lifelong learning in the dental field.

Job Responsibilities and Expectations After Training

After completing your dental assistant program, your job responsibilities will be both varied and rewarding. You’ll be an integral part of the dental team, contributing to the delivery of quality patient care.

Daily Tasks You Can Anticipate

A typical day as a dental assistant might involve:

  • Greeting patients and making them feel comfortable.
  • Managing the day-to-day operations of the dental office.
  • Assisting with various dental procedures, from routine cleanings to more complex treatments.
  • Educating patients on proper dental hygiene practices.
  • Keeping treatment rooms clean and well-stocked for efficiency.

Growth Opportunities in the Field

With experience, dental assistants can:

  • Advance to roles with more responsibility, such as office manager or lead assistant.
  • Specialize in areas like endodontics or periodontics.
  • Pursue further education for higher-paying positions, such as dental hygienist or dentist.

Opportunities for Advancement and Beyond

A career in dental assisting doesn’t have to be a dead-end job. In fact, it can be the beginning of a long and successful career in the dental field.

Why Dental Assisting Is a Great Foundation

The skills and knowledge you gain in a dental assistant program provide a solid foundation for any number of dental careers. With dedication and hard work, the possibilities are endless.

Continuing Your Education: Next Steps

If you’re considering furthering your education, take some time to explore your options. Continuing education can lead to higher wages, more varied job opportunities, and increased job satisfaction.

Navigating the Job Market and Landing Your First Position

The job market for dental assistants is healthy, but with the right approach, you can position yourself as an ideal candidate for any position.

Crafting the Perfect Resume and Cover Letter

Your resume and cover letter should highlight your skills, education, and any relevant experience. Be sure to tailor each application to the specific job you’re applying for.

Acing the Interview

Prepare for interview questions by practicing your responses. Focus on your knowledge of the dental field, your experience, and your passion for patient care.

Excelling in Your New Role

Once you’ve landed your first job as a dental assistant, it’s time to shine. Show enthusiasm, ask questions, and always be willing to learn and improve.

Conclusion: The Path to Success in Dental Assisting

A dental assistant program is the key to opening doors in the field of dentistry. This exciting and rewarding career offers room for growth, opportunities for further education, and the chance to make a real difference in people’s lives. If you’re ready to pursue a fulfilling career in a dynamic and growing industry, consider enrolling in a dental assistant program today. The skills and knowledge you’ll gain will be the foundation for a lifetime of success in the world of dental health.


  • View our Dental Assistant Program Information Sheet pdf
  • View Program Application pdf
  • Gainful Employment Disclosure pdf
  • Attend an Information Session to find out more about the program
  • State Exam Passage Rates

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