Certified Dental Assisting

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"My twenty years of experience with this program has been that it has consistently produced professional, enthusiastic, well-trained, highly motivated, caring graduates!"  Dr. Rita Harding

"The knowledge of dentistry and degree of professionalism far exceeds that of any other program!  The value of education received in this program is excellent and the expense incurred is far less than that of many other programs.  These students graduate fully prepared to work in a dental office!"  Dr. Richard Ferguson      (Former ISDA President)

Program Overview

ANNOUNCEMENTS

We encourage you to submit your Certified Dental Assisting Application at any time throughout the year.  Once your application is received, one of our instructors will contact you and set up a time to meet.   You will be able to ask questions, get program-specific advising, and get started! (Updated 11-12-12)

WHAT IF you had a fulfilling career as a Certified Dental Assistant where your influence and expertise positively affected patient lives on a daily basis?

Do you enjoy working with people, have an eye for detail, and want to improve the quality of life for others?  If so, certified dental assisting may be the career for you. As a certified dental assistant, you will have the opportunity to interact with people on a daily basis as you support dentists with various types of patient care, office duties, and laboratory work. Training can be completed in just 11 months, but is contingent on completing clinical hours.

What is the outlook for job opportunities and pay?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for Certified Dental Assistants is expected to increase up to 31% between the years 2010-2020.  The national median annual salary for Dental Assistants in 2011 was $34,140.

What will you learn to do?

  • Assist in chair-side duties—pass instruments and medication
  • Maintain treatment rooms and assist in dental care delivery
  • Take and process x-rays
  • Sterilize and maintain instruments
  • Pour models of teeth
  • Prepare dental materials and mix restorative materials
  • Arrange appointments
  • Manage the dental office and perform bookkeeping
  • Promote oral hygiene and public health
  • Understand and use dental terminology
  • Communicate professionally, both in writing and in person

What kind of degree(s) can you earn?

  • In order to obtain your Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Dental Assisting you will need to complete your Technical Certificate and then complete two additional semesters for your AAS. Graduates are eligible to take the certification exam given by the Dental Assisting National Board and the five Idaho Expanded Function Exams (Pit and Fissure Sealants, Coronal Polishing, Fabricating Temporary Crowns, Polishing Restorations, and Nitrous Oxide).
  • In order to obtain your Technical Certificate (TC) in Dental Assisting you will need to complete dental and general education courses in three semesters (approximately 11 months). Graduates are eligible to take the certification exam given by the Dental Assisting National Board and the five Idaho Expanded Function Exams (Pit and Fissure Sealants, Coronal Polishing, Fabricating Temporary Crowns, Polishing Restorations and Nitrous Oxide).

What else should you know?

Graduates are eligible to take the certification exam given by the Dental Assisting National Board and the five Idaho Expanded Function Exams.

When does the Certified Dental Assisting program start?

The Certified Dental Assisting program officially starts once a year in the fall semester.  However, there is a “soft start” option for our spring semester.   Our “soft start” option allows you to ease into the program by taking DENT 100, DENT 108 and DENT 150 while continuing to complete your required general education courses (COMM 101 or ENGL 101, GE Math & PSYC 101).

We encourage you to submit your Certified Dental Assisting Application at any time throughout the year.  Once your application is received, one of our instructors will contact you and set up a time to meet.   You will be able to ask questions, get program-specific advising, and get started!

Requirements

Degree Plan

How do I get started in the Dental Assisting program?
Complete the admission requirements to College of Western Idaho.

Students must turn in their Certified Dental Assisting Application  to a One Stop Student Services location before they can register and be accepted into the program. This application consists of the following: 1) Three Professional Reference Forms – one of them being from a dental professional after a ½ day of job shadowing. 2) Physical ExamImmunization Documentation and Dental Exam Documentation. The physical and dental exam documentation must be completed within six months of application. 3) A short essay stating why you are interested in a career in Dental Assisting.

You must submit a recent Compass Assessment to CWI in order to apply to the program unless you have completed college-level math and writing courses.   The minimum required Compass scores needed at application are: Pre-Algebra Compass - at least 53 or an Algebra Compass – of at least 26; Reading Compass - at least 80; and English Compass - at least 70.

You must complete the following courses before you can graduate from the Dental Assisting Program at CWI - COMM 101 or ENG 101, MATH 123 and PSYC 101. However, if you haven’t completed all of these courses, you can submit your Compass Scores with your application and our faculty will be available to advise and assist you on the correct path to admittance to our program. 

If you have completed some of the courses listed above and submit your application, you may be eligible to continue your general education courses (COMM 101 or ENG 101, MATH 123 and PSYC 101) while at the same time begin completing Certificated Dental Assisting courses such as DENT 150, DENT 100 and DENT 109. 

Once you submit your Certified Dental Assisting Application, our friendly and knowledgeable faculty can assist you to realize your goal of becoming a Certified Dental Assistant!

If you need a brush-up on your computers skills, CISA 101- Computer Literacy Skill Development is a course designed to help students develop their skills.

What will I need for Dental Clinical Assignments?

  • Current CPR Certification
  • First Aid Certification
  • Criminal Background Check (Once admitted into the Dental Assisting Program, you will receive instructions on submitting your request for a background check.  Confirmation of the request for a background check will be required and costs $45.00 to $50.00.)

Instructor Info

Program Chair:
Elaine Laursen
208.562.2317
elainelaursen@cwidaho.cc

Assistant Professor:
Monica Satake
208.562.2316
monicasatake@cwidaho.cc

 

Career Info

What kind of career can you expect?

Dental assisting is a rewarding career. Entry-level positions include chair-side assistant, front office assistant, specialty assistant, and expanded function assistant. For those who invest energy and effort into their role as dental assistant, there are excellent opportunities for advancement. A career in certified dental assisting offers a great deal of personal satisfaction and fulfillment for those who enjoy the work.

What skills, traits, or prep classes would be helpful?

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • A desire to serve others
  • Manual dexterity in both hands
  • Exactness and precise attention to detail
  • Computer Literacy Skills
  • Health-oriented professional image