Dental Assisting

Diploma - 48 credits

About this program
The Dental Assisting program provides the knowledge necessary for the dental assistant to assist in performing general clinical assisting and support functions, intra-oral clinical procedures, business office procedures and laboratory tasks. The curriculum includes content in general studies; biomedical, dental and clinical sciences; clinical practice; and additional intra-oral clinical functions. Certain biomedical and dental science courses offered in the curriculum are common to both Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene majors. Graduates are eligible to write the Dental Assisting National Board Certification Exam and the Minnesota State Board of Dentistry Registration Exam.
Program outcomes
  1. Apply current concepts of infection control and occupational safety.
  2. Perform entry-level dental assisting skills.
  3. Interact effectively with patients, peers and the dental health team.
  4. Utilize current technology relevant to the dental profession.
  5. Apply knowledge of basic sciences.
  6. Apply principles of clinical assisting for expanded function procedures in dentistry.
The demand for dental care will continue to grow. Due to the success of preventive dentistry in reducing the incidence of dental disease, the growing older population will retain their teeth longer, and will be even more aware of the importance of regular dental care. Dentists will need to employ more dental assistants than ever before to meet the increased demand for dental care. There are more than 200,000 active dental assistants in the U.S. today. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers requiring a specialized diploma are projected to add significant numbers of employment opportunities for dental assistants by 2005. Most areas of the country are currently reporting shortages of dental assistants. The majority of dental assistants are employed by general dentists. Additionally, dental specialists (e.g. orthodontists, oral / maxillofacial surgeons) employ dental assistants. The majority of graduates are employed as clinical assistants and many states require specialized credentials as an employment criteria. In addition to private practices, dental assistants may seek employment with public health / government clinics, military dental services, dental schools, allied dental education programs, retail / wholesale dental industry, insurance and consulting companies. Since many dentists employ two or three dental assistants, employment opportunities in this field are excellent. There is a great deal of stability and employment security for individuals that are interested in becoming a dental assistant.
Minnesota State Community and Technical College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. More information can be found at