How Much Does Dental Assistant School Cost?

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$ $ Varies by State and School: $850-$7,560

All Certified Dental Assistants work under the supervision of dentists and are in charge of preparing the equipment, assisting during the dental procedures, taking health histories and instructing patients on postoperative care.

Certain dental offices provide on-the-job training; however, a high school diploma is required.

Each state is different in licensing and allowable functions and approx. thirty states now require certification.

Typical Costs

  • The certificate or diploma programs can be received through community colleges for 11 months as a full-time student or for 22 months for studying part-time.
  • The price for the 42-unit program is different in each state and varies from $850 to $7,560, based on the average unit cost.
  • The Center for Technology in Essex, Vermont, for example, provides a course for approx. $5,525 while the cost at Texas State Technical College is possible at $4,975.
  • In California, the price per unit is just $20, while the certificate program is approx. $850 at Santa Rosa Junior College in Santa Rosa.
  • To be eligible to take the national exam, the school must be accredited by the American Dental Association.

Additional Costs

  • There are additional registration fees of approx. $60.
  • The students in the one-year program study from August through August and take the board in November.
  • The registration for the Certified Dental Assistant exam is $125, and both the written and practical exams.
  • The lab fees cost approx. $ 560.
  • The books and supplies are approx. $1,600.


The American Dental Assistants Association provides an annual scholarship.

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  1. Avatar for Sarah B. Sarah B.

    Thank you for the information on this.

    I was considering becoming a dental assistant and working for my father’s friend who is a dentist.

    I know he would pay me well, likely more than others make in this area.

    I think it is worth it. I like seeing how happy people are after having their teeth cleaned or fixed so I know I would enjoy it from that aspect.

  2. Avatar for Leanne Swanson Leanne Swanson

    Having just finished my school for dental assistant, I can’t express how good it feels to not be in debt over it. I was able to pay everything off over the summer working and now I can focus on getting a job somewhere in my field. My best friend went to a university right after high school and now can’t find work and had to move back home. She can’t even afford to go out!

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