Dental Assisting Admission Requirements

Start: Fall 2024

Location: Moorhead campus

Application deadline: May 15, 2024

Thank you for your interest in the Dental Assisting program at Minnesota State Community and Technical College. Before applying to the Dental Assisting program, you must complete M State’s general admission process and the prerequisite courses required for acceptance into the program. To be considered for the Dental Assisting program after you are admitted to M State, you must submit the completed Dental Assisting Application before May 15 of the year you wish to enroll in the program. Transcripts from any other colleges you have attended must be received before May 15.

Please note: 

  • Approximately 60 students apply to the Dental Assisting program each year.
  • The top 30 applicants are accepted for fall term based on a point system. The next 10 highest-scoring applicants are placed on an alternate list. Should a student decline acceptance into the program, the position will be offered to the highest-ranking person on the alternate list.
  • Students not accepted into the program must reapply to be considered for a future year.
  • The general education classes required for dental assisting students are offered on the M State Moorhead campus and are transferrable to a four-year college or university.
  • 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, CODA | Commission on Dental Accreditation, or 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, Ill. 60611. 
  • Graduates receive a diploma in Dental Assisting or an Associate of Applied Science degree, depending on the program selected.
  • After successful completion of the Dental Assisting National Board exam and the Minnesota Dental Assistant and Jurisprudence exams, a graduate may apply for licensure by the Minnesota Board of Dentistry.

Careers in Dental Assisting

If you are interested in a health career oriented toward preventing disease and helping patients maintain good oral health, dental assisting may be the career for you.

A dental assistant is a vital member of the dental health team and enjoys a range of exciting and challenging duties: preparation of instrument tray set-ups and treatment rooms, chairside assisting for dental procedures, expanded functions, patient oral care instruction, instrument recirculation and sterilization, dental laboratory procedures and dental business office procedures. Expanded functions are a special group of procedures a qualified Minnesota dental assistant may perform independently on a patient such as polishing teeth, taking radiographs, applying dental sealants, taking impressions, tying in orthodontic wires, fabricating temporary restorations and administering nitrous oxide-oxygen inhalation sedation.

The dental assisting major is designed to provide the student with the technical knowledge, manual skills and clinical experiences required to make the graduate a valuable member of the dental health care profession. The program prepares the student to function in both general and specialty practices, hospitals, public health facilities and product research centers. Dental assistants may also work in health education, product sales and marketing.

Dental Assisting Program Plan - Diploma Option

Dental Assisting Program Plan - AAS Option 

Dental Assisting admission information

Students must meet the following eligibility criteria: 

Apply to M State
All students who apply to the Dental Assisting program must apply and be accepted to the college no later than May 15.
Apply to the Dental Assisting program 
Application to the fall 2024 Dental Assisting program will be open from January 2 - May 15, 2024. You must be accepted to M State to access the program application.
Developmental coursework and placement testing

Placement testing: Students who have not completed ENGL 1101 or MATH 0095 and who do not have a recent ACT score are required to complete placement testing prior to registering for the first semester. Students who need to complete placement testing should visit Placement Testing for testing dates and locations.

Developmental coursework: All developmental coursework, if required by the placement testing results or ACT scores, must be completed before starting dental assisting prerequisite courses.

Developmental coursework includes:

  • ELL 0050 Foundations of ELL
  • ELL 0060 ELL Reading
  • ELL 1060 ELL Writing I
  • ELL 1080 ELL Writing II 
  • ENGL 0096 Reading & Writing Strategies
  • ENGL 0097 Express English Strategies
  • ENGL 0098 Accelerated English
  • MATH 0055 Foundations of Math
  • MATH 0085 Elementary Algebra I
  • MATH 0095 Elementary Algebra II
Repeated courses
Repeated courses will be averaged for points. Visit with an advisor before repeating a course.
Prerequisite courses 

The following courses need to be completed prior to the application deadline:

  • BIOL 2260 Human Anatomy and Physiology I
  • ENGL 1101 College Writing
  • DENT 1102 Dental Anatomy

BIOL 2261 is not a program requirement; however, if a student has taken it and completed it with an A or B, they will earn one honor point.

Having completed the prerequisite courses does NOT guarantee acceptance into the Dental Assisting program.

Selection of candidates for the M State Dental Assisting program

Applicants for the Dental Assisting program will be assigned points for the courses listed below to determine which applicants will be accepted. Applicants will also be awarded points for ACT score and cumulative GPA. The 30 applicants with the most points will be selected for admission into the Dental Assisting program. To receive points for the courses, applicants must have completed the courses and received a letter grade before May 15. We will average all grades (A-F) for each course. All science classes will be considered for selection only if the courses were taken within the past five years.

You may apply before all of the prerequisite courses are completed but should be registered for them during the spring semester. You must maintain a 2.5 or better grade point average.

  • BIOL2260 Human Anatomy and Physiology I
  • DENT 1102 Dental Anatomy
  • ENGL 1101 College Writing (or ENGL 1102, 1205, 1210 or 1215)*

*The highest of the grades is used if more than one ENGL course was taken.

In case of one or more tied scores, we will use the following tiebreaker criteria: 1. DENT 1102 grade, 2. BIOL 2260 grade, 3. ENGL grade, 4. ACT score. In the event that a tie still exists, a public lottery will be the determinant.

Please view the Fall 2024 Dental Assisting Program Application Assessment form. 

Acceptance notification 

Each student who has submitted a complete admissions file by a posted deadline will receive an email from the college indicating whether they are accepted into the program, placed on the program waiting list as an alternate or currently ineligible for the program. Please be sure to provide your current email address on your program application. 

Applicants will be notified within 15 days of the application deadline. Thirty students will be accepted, and 10 students will be placed on the waiting list as alternates. Alternates are responsible for providing current phone numbers and email addresses so they can be notified during the summer if an opening occurs.

Estimated program costs for the 2023-24 M State Dental Assisting program

Please note: All costs are estimates. Estimates for room, board, transportation and personal expenses are not included.


Dental Assisting Diploma program - 48 credits

Dental Assisting AAS program - 63 credits

Dental Assisting Diploma First Year/Prerequisites: 8 credits

Tuition ($180.80 per credit): $1,446.40
Books $800
Technology Fee ($10/credit) $80
Activity Fee ($3.70/credit) $29.60
Student Association Fee (.35/credit) $2.80
Wellness Fee ($6/credit) $48
Parking Fee $30


Dental Assisting First Semesters: 19 credits 

Tuition ($224.60 per credit): $4,267.40
Books $835
Laptop Computer $1000
Technology Fee ($10/credit) $190
Activity Fee ($3.70/credit) $70.30
Student Association Fee (.35/credit) $6.65
Wellness Fee ($6/credit) $114
Parking Fee $30


Dental Assisting Final Semesters: 21 credits 

Tuition ($224.60 per credit): $4,716.60
Books $300
Technology Fee ($10/credit) $210
Activity Fee ($3.70/credit) $77.70
Student Association Fee (.35/credit) $7.35
Wellness Fee ($6/credit) $126
Parking Fee $30

Dental Assisting National Board Exam$425-750
Minnesota Jurisprudence Exam$60
Minnesota Dental Assistant State Licensure Exam$70

Additional program requirements for accepted students

M State will provide more information related to the following. However, Dental Assisting program applicants are encouraged to consider these requirements ahead of time. 

Laptop computer
Dental program students must have a laptop computer. The cost will be in addition to the cost of tuition, fees and books. Computer must be a Windows-based system. M State students have access to Office 365 in the student portal. The required computer specifications can be found at Computer Requirements
Accepted students must have current certification in American Heart Association Basic Life Support (BLS). Current card must be uploaded to the online Student Passport System. Certification must include a hands-on, in-person testing component.
Background check

State law requires that students having direct contact with individuals in licensed institutions complete an annual background study with the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Students who do not pass the background check will not be allowed to participate in clinical activities and thus are not eligible for graduation. Students in the dental programs are also required to complete a federal criminal background study. The background study will be initiated after the spring program orientation and must be completed by July 1, 2024. The fee will be assessed to DENT 1103, Intro to Dental Healthcare Providers I. Once the background study has been initiated, the student will be directed to a site for fingerprinting. Currently the cost of fingerprinting is $10.

The background study results must be uploaded to the Student Passport by July 1.

Health data
Students accepted to the Dental Assisting program are required to complete the information on Student Passport System. This information must be completed by July 1. Included are the instructions for a current record of a two-step Mantoux test or the QuantiFERON tb Gold blood test. All immunizations must be current. It is strongly recommended that students in the dental programs be vaccinated against Hepatitis B. Health career program students may be exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials therefore may be at risk of acquiring the Hepatitis B virus (HBV).
GPA requirement
Students must achieve a grade of C or above for each course required in the program in order to progress. If a student receives less than a grade of C in any of the Dental program courses, they will be unable to complete sequential courses.
Clinical and Laboratory Health and Safety Provisions

M State and the Dental Assistant program comply with mandated and recommended health and safety policies to ensure a safe learning and working environment for students, staff and patients. Upon entering the Dental Assistant program, students will be provided with the M State Dental Program Student Faculty Handbook, which details all program policies related to infection control, hazards management and safety in the lab and clinical settings. Please see the M State Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Policy

If you experience any issues with the application, please call 877.450.3322 or email

Please be aware that M State’s Dental Assisting admission requirements are subject to change in order to assure the quality of the program.