Dental Assisting Program Overview

Earn your diploma in as little as 10 months

Dental Assistants play an essential role by providing critical support to dentists, dental hygienists, and patients in any dental practice. It’s an ideal career for those who enjoy working with their hands while caring for patients. We offer a hybrid-online Dental Assisting program to help you gain the necessary skills to embark on this rewarding career path, in as little as 10 months.

Our curriculum combines online instruction with in-person simulations, as well as a supervised externship, to prepare you for your first job as a Dental Assistant. Course topics cover key aspects of the profession, including sterilization techniques, medical emergencies, dental X-rays, impressions, and dental instruments.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What you need to know

Dental Assistants are valuable members of the healthcare team. They increase the efficiency of the dentist in the delivery of first-rate care and perform a variety of tasks. These can range from assisting patients to taking X-rays, record keeping, and scheduling appointments.

Employment of Dental Assistants is expected to steadily increase. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of Dental Assistants will likely grow 11% by 2030. This progression is largely attributed to an increasing demand for preventive dental services, which the large baby-boomer population will need as they continue to age.

The time it takes to become a Dental Assistant depends on the type of training you’d like to pursue. Generally speaking, the length of a Dental Assisting program can range from nine months to a year. Some aspiring Dental Assistants will also be required to pass an exam before they can be considered for employment.

At Unitek College, we currently offer online classes to protect our students and staff during the pandemic.

Click here to read our DA registration disclosure.

Dental Assistant salaries depend on several factors. These might include location, experience, and education. As of May 2020, the average salary for Dental Assistants was $42,310. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest 10 percent earned up to $58,390 per year, or more.

Please note that wage data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) or other third-party sources may not be an accurate reflection of all areas of the country, may not account for the employees’ years of experience, and may not reflect the wages or outlook of entry-level employees, such as graduates of our program. (accessed on 11/15/2021)

There are quite a few education paths aspiring Dental Assistants can take. Some states require DAs to graduate from an accredited program and pass an exam. There are also states that do not require Dental Assistants to receive formal training; instead, they acquire the skills they need through on-the-job training. However, many employers will not take the risk of hiring untrained applicants.

The Dental Assistant program at Unitek College can be completed in as little as 10 months. Students will build a strong foundation for their desired career, gaining the skills and experience needed to succeed as a Dental Assistant. The curriculum also includes a supervised externship.

Like most healthcare programs, the fees paid by each student can vary depending on their individual situation. A variety of financial aid options are available to students at Unitek. For more information, please reach out to a friendly admissions representative.

The cost of the Dental Assisting program will remain the same. However, if you are having difficulty making your in-school payments, we are more than willing to work with you. You will receive all your instruction and clinical hours as agreed upon in your enrollment agreement.

The academic teams are revising academic program schedules to re-incorporate the required hours for clinical, lab, and hands-on instruction. You will receive 100% of these required hours. By rearranging the academic calendar, we are making every effort for you to continue your education with as little impact on your graduation date as possible.

These elements of our program will be scheduled once it is safe to return to campus.

Quizzes and exams will be conducted entirely online. We are also working with vendors to provide remote proctoring.

Emergency Legislation passed on 3/18/2020 allows veterans to maintain the same level of funding despite our online delivery. Financial Aid representatives will be sending more information to our veterans via an alert.

Students who graduate from the program will receive from Unitek College certificates in Infection Control, Dental Practice Act, HIPAA, Radiology, Coronal Polishing, and Pit & Fissure Sealants. These certificates are not required for initial employment, but may be of value depending on a student’s particular career goals. Students who do not graduate from the program are ineligible to receive any of these certificates.

Graduates of the program may also be eligible to take various professional certification exams, including the California Registered Dental Assisting (RDA) exam and the Dental Assisting national Board (DANB) exam. Such credentials are not required to graduate or to gain initial employment, but may be of value depending on a student’s particular career goals. Faculty are available to advise students seeking to take such professional certification exams.

Dental Assisting Admissions Requirements

How do I apply?

The enrollment process at Unitek College can be completed entirely online. To enroll in the Unitek College Dental Assisting Program, a prospective student must complete the following steps:

  • Career planning session and admissions interview
  • Submit proof of high school education or equivalent
  • Entrance assessment test
  • Admissions application
  • Enrollment agreement
  • Financing arrangements and, if applicable, all documents needed to obtain an official award letter for Federal Student Aid

Dental Assisting Campus Locations

Contact any of our campuses to learn more about how to become a Dental Assistant or to enroll in the program.  Your future starts at Unitek College.

Dental Assistant Career

Dental Assistant Duties & Responsibilities

Dental Assistant Duties and Responsibilities Include:

  • Ensure that patients are comfortable in the dental chair
  • Prepare patients and the work area for treatments and procedures
  • Assist with oral surgeries
  • Sterilize dental instruments
  • Hand instruments to dentist during procedures
  • Evacuate oral cavities and keep patient’s mouth dry by using suction hoses and other equipment
  • Make dental impressions
  • Instruct patients in proper oral hygiene
  • Take and process dental X-Rays and complete lab tasks, under the direction of a dentist
  • Install fixed prosthodontics
  • Maintain Inventory for dental practices
  • Schedule patient appointments
  • Work with patients on billing and payment

Dental assistants are allowed to perform the following procedures in some states (including CA):

  • Coronal polishing: Removing soft deposits such as plaque, gives teeth a cleaner appearance.
  • Sealant application: Dental assistants paint a thin, plastic substance over teeth to seal out food particles and acid-producing bacteria to keep teeth from developing cavities.
  • Fluoride application: Fluoride is put directly on the teeth as another anti-cavity measure.
  • Topical anesthetic application: Dental assistants apply topical anesthetic to an area of a patient’s mouth, temporarily numbing the area to help prepare a patient for procedures.

Demand for Dental Assistants

Employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 11 percent from 2020 to 2030, which is faster than the average for all occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, ongoing research linking oral health and general health will likely continue to increase the demand for preventive dental services, which will drive dentists to hire more assistants.

To learn more, click here to view our comprehensive career guide on how to become a Dental Assistant.

Please note that wage data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) or other third-party sources may not be an accurate reflection of all areas of the country, may not account for the employees’ years of experience, and may not reflect the wages or outlook of entry-level employees, such as graduates of our program. (accessed on 11/15/2021)