An associate in dental assisting is a relatively quick pathway to start working in the healthcare field right away—all while earning a great starting salary.
If you are precise, detail-oriented, enjoy people, and are interested in teeth and oral health, have you thought about the field of dental assisting? Rated as a “Best Job” on U.S. News & World Report, dental assisting is a field of flexibility and fulfillment.
What are you waiting for? Check out our 5 Best Associates in Dental Assisting to decide if this is the career for you.
What Are the Best Associates in Dental Assisting?
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Hinds Community College
Average Net Price
A public comprehensive community college in Raymond, Mississippi, Hinds CC is devoted to providing top-notch, diverse, and relevant academic and technical programs for students from all walks of life.
Hinds CC’s Associate of Applied Science degree in dental assisting technology prepares students to become CDAs after passing the Dental Assisting National Board Certification Exam.
As a student, you will complete four semesters, totaling 65-66 credit hours, while taking courses such as Dental Radiology, Dental Science I and II, and of course, completing clinical experiences. You must maintain a C or higher in each course and take the Dental Assisting National Board exams during your second and third semesters.
Hinds CC states that the dental assisting technology program is ideal for students who “enjoy patient contact, flexible hours, and the security of employable skills”. If you are a high school graduate, a parent looking for a career, or an adult searching for a second career, dental assisting technology may be for you. You can apply online with no application fee!
Ozarks Technical Community College
Average Net Price
Missouri’s third-largest community college, Ozarks Technical Community College, offers 40 degree programs for students who aim to transfer to a university or complete an associate program and jump into the workforce.
OTC’s AAS in dental assisting is accredited by the Commission of Dental Accreditation (CODA) and leads to fulfilling careers in the dental assisting field.
The associate in dental assisting offers two tracks: traditional or hybrid. The traditional track offers all courses on campus, and while the hybrid track also includes on-campus courses, a significant portion is online to ensure extra flexibility. You will complete 24 general education credits and 38 dental assisting credits, totaling 62 credit hours. Notable courses include Chairside Assisting I and II, Operative Dentistry, and Dental Science and Health.
You will complete the program with dental practicum experiences to satisfy clinical hours. You can apply online or contact the Allied Health office for an application packet. To apply for the traditional track, submit your application by June 15, and for the hybrid track, October 31.
Average Net Price
Founded in 1965 as a computer training school, Herzing University is a private academic institution that offers “career-focused programs with flexible learning options” through master’s, bachelor’s, and associate degrees, as well as diploma and certificate options.
Herzing is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and includes ten on-campus locations and an online campus!
Herzing University features an associate degree in dental assisting with loads of opportunities. As a graduate, you are prepared for the Minnesota Board of Dentistry Licensing exam, the Jurisprudence exam, and the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam. This program also serves as a pathway to earn a BSN in dental hygiene. This program includes 68 credit hours in courses such as Dental Communications, Advanced Expanded Functions, and Dental Management.
You will complete a seven-credit hour dental assisting internship during your last semester. While this program takes 20 months, you can transfer up to 51 credits into your program if you have previous post-secondary experience.
Average Net Price
Carrington College offers associate and certificate programs in the healthcare field, and they make it super convenient to do so! Carrington College’s dental assisting program gives students a “broad base of knowledge on subjects ranging from the anatomy of the head and mouth to sterilization techniques to front-office operations”.
Along with general education courses in English, math, computers, and science, you become proficient in dental assisting skills such as fillings, crowns, extractions, administrative tasks, and more.
During your last semester, you will complete an externship (a hands-on clinical experience, similar to an internship, but shorter). Becoming a student at Carrington College comes with many perks, including tutoring and study groups, externships, career services, and a fixed tuition promise. Those in the military receive additional tuition assistance and benefits.
You can also complete this program in as few as nine months through one of Carrington College’s 15 locations around the U.S., along with online courses.
Average Net Price
Since 1963, Daymar College has been providing top-notch career training through associate and certificate programs. With more than 30 career tracks and campus locations in Tennessee, Ohio, and Kentucky, as well as 100% online programs. Daymar offers day, evening, and online classes to enhance flexibility, including an associate in dental assisting.
This program requires 96 credit hours, which are broken down into general education and dental assisting courses. Notable courses include Dental Sciences, Dental Emergencies, Advanced Dental Assisting, and a professional seminar and externship. As a student, you will gain valuable hands-on experience through Daymar College’s “modern dental laboratory using equipment, materials, and other instruments comparable to those used in an actual dental facility”.
Graduates are eligible to apply for the registered dental assisting license through the state of Tennessee and qualify for entry-level positions as dental assistants.
Frequently Asked Questions
Dental assistants make $44,820/year, on average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10% make less than $31,450/year and the highest 10% make $59,200/year. Top paying industries include:
• Dental offices
• Physician offices
Most dental assistant programs last 9 to 12 months, but the duration can vary. Some programs offer shorter certificate programs, while others provide more comprehensive training through associate degree programs. Program length depends on the level of education and the specific requirements of the educational institution offering the program.
On average, tuition for dental assistant programs can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Financial aid, scholarships, or payment plans may be available to help offset costs. But the average cost of a dental assistant associate’s degree is $11,600/year.
Yes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a 7% growth in jobs for dental assistants through 2032. That’s about 55,000 new job openings each year, on average, for the next 10 years. Many of these openings will result from the need to replace workers who retire or transfer to different occupations.
Dental hygienists focus on preventive oral care, performing cleanings, exams, and educating patients on dental health. They hold an associate or bachelor’s degree and require licensure. Dental assistants support dentists with various tasks, including patient care and administrative duties, usually completing a shorter training program.
While dental assistant programs include some basic math, the emphasis is on clinical and administrative skills rather than extensive mathematical concepts. Dental assistants use math for tasks like measuring medication doses or understanding treatment plans, but the level of math complexity is not high.
The age of dental assistants varies. Many enter the field after completing high school or a post-secondary program, so they could be in their late teens to early twenties. However, you can pursue dental assisting as a second career at different ages, contributing to a diverse age range within the profession.