Dental Assisting College

dental assistant colleges

With so many options, finding the right college can feel overwhelming. We’re here to help you understand what you should know about dental assisting colleges and provide you with the information that can lead to a more informed decision.

What to Look for in a Program

  • One of the most important things to look for in a program is accreditation. For more detailed information, scroll down to the accreditation section.
  • A career in dental assisting balances clinical skill and front-desk skill. Look for programs that address both skill sets.
  • The clinical portion of a program goes over the hands-on aspects of dental assisting. Programs that require field classes are dedicated to giving you real life experience, which can be helpful when transitioning into your career.

You should also consider what you would like to see in a program. If you ask a lot of questions and prefer to have more one-on-one time with a professor, then you should look for programs that boast about having small class sizes. Maybe money is a bit tight, so you’re looking for affordable options. Many programs offer financial aid and work with students to make classes more cost effective.

Degree Options

You can take one of two educational paths if you are an aspiring dental assistant:

Certificate in Dental Assisting

Certificates can be offered by community colleges or vocational schools as a way to give students the dental education they need, without costing as much money as a traditional degree. They are often referred to as training programs and take about a year to complete. These programs are specifically geared towards a dental assistant education and do not require students to take any elective or unrelated courses.

Associate’s Degree in Dental Assisting

Alternatively, you may wish to earn an associate’s degree. An associate’s degree takes an average of two years to earn. You take general courses, such as math and public speaking, along with courses designed for dental assisting. This can be helpful if you plan on pursuing a bachelor’s degree, because the courses you take at the associate’s level can often be counted as transfer credits. These can be applied towards earning a bachelor’s degree, which has the potential shorten the amount of time and money you spend on your degree.

School Accreditation

The primary organization that accredits dental programs is the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). In order to ensure that you a receiving a quality education, you should always look for a dental assisting program with CODA accreditation.

Earning a certificate or degree through an accredited program has many benefits. If you wish to earn a certification through the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. (DANB) your education must come from a CODA accredited program. Also, becoming a licensed dental assistant, which is necessary in some states, will require you to have completed a CODA accredited dental assisting program.

Earning your certificate or degree from an accredited program can give you peace of mind. With so many schooling options available, it’s easy to worry that you might be paying for a program that isn’t worth it. By choosing an accredited program, you are committing to a school that is required to meet certain educational standards.

Questions to Ask Any School

When you’re researching schools, you’ll have many questions. Although most schools try to address the FAQs of potential students, there might be a few things you are left wondering about. Instead of leaving yourself in the dark, be proactive and educate yourself about what a school has to offer.

Here are some questions you should consider asking a school before enrolling in a program:

  • Is the program accredited?
  • Do you offer financial aid?
  • Is there job placement assistance?
  • Will I be able to transfer any credits I earn?
  • Will I be able to apply any credits that I have already earned?
  • Do the courses prepare me to pass the sate-licensing exam?

If you can’t find the information on the school’s website, call or even send an email. If they can’t answer your questions, then that could be a red-flag.


Tell us a little about yourself and we’ll connect you with schools that offer dental assistant degree programs.

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