Dental Assistant Programs

Dental assistants are responsible for preparing patients for treatments, assisting dentists during procedures, and sterilizing instruments.

With online dental certification, working professionals can join or move up in a high-demand field in a flexible way.

The median salary of the graduates of online dental assistant certificate programs is $37,040.

The top 10% of them earn over $52,000.

Often, dentists hire more than one assistant.

This way, they can see more patients a day.

Most dental assistants work full-time.

With the aging baby-boomer population and health professionals emphasizing the importance of dental hygiene, the demand for healthcare professionals continues to grow.

The employment rates in the field are expected to increase by 18% through 2024, which implies more than 50,000 job openings.

What Are the Best Dental Assistant Certificate Programs of 2020?

  • Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (Indianapolis, IN).
  • Lake Area Technical Institute (Watertown, SD).
  • Sinclair Community College (Dayton, OH).
  • Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (Davenport, IA).
  • Hudson Valley Community College (Troy, NY).

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

The dental assistance certificate of IUPUI offers a 14-course, 30-credit curriculum, requiring lectures, labs, and clinical experience.

Students gain skills and knowledge in dental materials, oral pathology, and clinical science.

All students select one of the two elective courses.

About 85% of graduates can find employment shortly after they complete the program.

They can start looking for jobs through the internship opportunities of IUPUI.

IUPUI’s School of Dentistry provides other resources, including a private job board.

To be admitted to the program, you need a minimum of 2.0 high school or undergraduate GPA.

Online programs of IUPUI don’t charge the out-of-state tuition.

The university also makes financial aid available to students after they meet the course prerequisites of the program.

Lake Area Technical Institute

The curriculum of LATI’s online certificate in dental assistance is hybrid.

In it, students spend 12 days per semester completing lab hours on campus.

The program provides 44 credits and includes coursework in dental radiography, applied psychology, and orthodontics.

Students can earn an associate degree through additional online courses.

The graduates of the program report a 99% employment rate.

LATI offers guides covering IT troubleshooting and online learning best practices encouraging positive academic and career outcomes.

To be admitted to the program, you need high school transcripts or GED scores.

LATI also accepts ACT scores for financial aid.

Additionally to tuition, students have to pay for lab tools and uniforms.

Students have an option to apply for loans or federal grants.

Sinclair Community College

Students enrolled in the certificate in the dental assistance program of Sinclair spend 1-2 days a week completing lab hours on-campus.

The curriculum provides 17 credits and includes such required courses as basic life support for healthcare providers, lab dental assisting radiography, dental assisting office management.

The graduates of the program are prepared to sit for the certification exam.

In the course of preparation for the exam, students can access Focus2Career and Career Connection software to find job openings throughout the state.

Applicants need at least a 2.0 GPA in all high school or undergraduate courses.

The residents of Montgomery County pay the lowest tuition rates per-credit.

Institutional financial aid is also available through the Sinclair Online Scholarship Application.

Eastern Iowa Community Colleges

The online certificate in the dental assistance of EICC offers a hybrid curriculum.

Through this program, learners can then intern at the Veterans Affairs Dental Clinic in Davenport.

The coursework provides 46 credits and covers the principles of dental assisting, dental science, and dental office procedures.

The online resources of the program include interview preparation guides, resume critiques, and a job board.

The website of the college also provides students with links to best practices of writing a resume and a manual on how to create an online brand that will draw the attention of employers.

To be admitted to the program, students need active health insurance and the results of a recent physical examination.

Students that take a hybrid program pay slightly higher tuition than in-state students.

Hudson Valley Community College

Through the certificate in the dental assistance from Hudson Valley Community College students are prepared for a rewarding career in New York.

To graduate, students need to complete 225 hours of clinical internship and earn 27 credits.

The coursework covers dental assisting and radiology, and dental office procedures.

Learners can use job databases, get access to interest inventories, and interviewing tips through the college.

Therefore, 95% of graduates either find employment fast or move to a bachelor’s degree program.

The requirements for admission to the program include high school transcripts or GED scores, a placement test, and FAFSA results.

All applicants should complete a virtual orientation session.

Students can apply for scholarships through the “Our Opportunities” website of Hudson Valley Community College.

What Else Can I Expect From an Online Certificate in Dental Assistance Program?

Curriculum For An Online Certificate In Dental Assistance

Online certificate programs for dental assistants are similar in many ways.

Depending on the school, courses may vary, but commonly, the following courses are covered by many programs:

Oral Anatomy:

Students study anatomy in relation to orthodontic and dental work.

They learn the functions and locations of nerves and muscles, as well as other structures in the face, head, and neck.

Oral and facial anatomy is an essential course.

Oral Radiology:

In this course, students learn about the operation of a dental x-ray unit as well as how to use it.

They study the parts of the unit, the history of radiology, and safety precautions.

Taking x-rays is one of the main responsibilities of orthodontic, dental, and oral surgery assistants.

Chairside Assisting:

This course teaches students how to assist dentists with procedures.

They study dental instruments and equipment and how to perform four-handed procedures.

The courses usually cover chairside assisting in such settings as dental, surgical, and orthodontic.

Dental Materials:

In this course, students learn about dental tools, and how they are organized in an office.

They are taught different types of dental equipment and how they are used.

The course also covers various types of cement glue used in dental work as well as the role of a dental assistant in working with these materials.

How Long Does It Take To Get An Online Certificate In Dental Assistance?

If you wish to complete a dental assistant certificate program, you should determine how much time you are willing to dedicate to your study.

The program can take from six to twelve months to complete.

There are hybrid programs, which require on-campus visits for demonstrations and labs.

The flexibility and schedule of these visits can influence how long your program will take.

Some programs can be completed at an individual pace, others are taught through a cohort format.

You can complete courses and assignments of individual programs at your own pace.

Cohort programs require you to work together with the rest of your class.

Both types of learning have their benefits, but cohort programs usually take longer.

What Can I Do With a Dental Assistant Diploma?

With a diploma or certificate, you can acquire job training that will prepare you to join the workforce quickly.

A degree, of course, is more costly and takes longer to complete.

Degrees usually include not career-focused coursework.

So, if don’t plan to pursue any further education, a diploma or certificate program can be the best choice.

Career Paths

You don’t have to necessarily become a dental assistant after completing a dental assistant certificate program.

With this training, you can choose a variety of career paths.

Graduates of these programs are prepared to work with orthodontists, dentists, and oral surgeons.

Dental Assistant

Dental assistants prepare patients for procedures as well as assist dentists during these procedures.

They are essential for a dentist’s office since they assist during complicated procedures and do some administrative tasks.

Dental assistants earn a median annual salary of $34,000.

Orthodontic Assistant

Orthodontic assistants prepare patients for the orthodontist as well as take x-rays and impressions.

They also assist during procedures and keep the equipment organized.

The median annual salary of orthodontic assistants is $38,000.

Oral Surgery Assistant

Oral surgery assistants have similar duties to dental and orthodontic assistants but perform them in a surgical setting.

They prepare patients for surgeries as well as sterilize the required equipment.

They assist during procedures and ensure that patients provide all information they need.

The median annual salary is $38,000.

Educational Paths

Some students finishing the online certificate program choose to continue their education, which later leads to higher earning potential.

The average salary of dental hygienists is about $67,000 a year, which is almost twice as much as dental assistants make.

You can transfer credits from your dental assistant program to associate programs in dental hygiene.

Associate in Dental Hygiene:

In this program, students study oral health and hygiene and how to carry out particular procedures.

Dental hygienists clean gums and teeth as well as administer local anesthesia.

Accreditation for Certificate and Diploma Programs

With accreditation, you can be sure that your diploma, certificate, or degree meets particular standards.

An accredited school has passed a thorough academic review process.

Some programs are accredited regionally while others, nationally.

Typically, four-year universities have regional accreditation, but career-focused schools usually acquire national accreditation.

Popular accrediting organizations in the dental field include the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation and the Commission on Dental Accreditation.

You should always ensure that your school or program is accredited.

The database of accredited schools can be found in the Council on Higher Education Accreditation website.

Financing Your Online Certificate in Dental Assistance Program

You also need to know and compare tuition rates if you are interested in completing a dental assistant certificate program.

These programs are not as expensive as degree programs, but they still can require a significant investment.

You can find out if you are eligible for financial aid by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

You may also qualify for a scholarship.

Every year, dental students can receive $850,000 in scholarships and grant from the American Dental Association Foundation.

An Overview Of Financial Aid

About 2/3 of college students use loans to pay for their education.

However, there are many overlooked opportunities you can benefit from to reduce your debt.

Understanding The FAFSA

For a student with financial needs, completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step.

Financial Aid For Online Students

Financial aid is now available for online students too and is equal to what campus-based students can acquire.

Scholarships For Single Parents

Single parents who want to earn a degree can take online college programs, which are flexible and affordable.

There are also scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options available for single parents.

Financial Aid For Veterans And Active Military

Military personnel, including veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists can also benefit from scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options.


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