Dental Assistant program revised 2017

My years of experience with this program have impressed me in that it has consistently produced professional, enthusiastic, well-trained, highly motivated, and caring graduates!
Dr. Rita Harding
The knowledge of dentistry and degree of professionalism far exceeds that of any other program!
Dr. Richard Ferguson (Former ISDA President)

See our new, state-of-the-art dental assisting facility in the Ada County Campus Quail Building!  We encourage you to submit your Dental Assisting Application Packet at any time throughout the year.  Once your application has been reviewed, one of our instructors will contact you and discuss your next steps. 

Please attend one of the bimonthly Healthcare Information Sessions for more information about all of our CWI Health Programs!


Do you enjoy working with people, have an eye for detail, and want to improve the quality of life for others? If so, Dental Assisting may be the career for you. As a 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 (contingent on completing clinical hours).

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

What You Will 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 person and in writing

Additional Opportunities

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for Dental Assistants is expected to increase up to 18% between the years 2014–2024.  The national median annual salary for dental assistants in 2015 was $35,980.

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

The 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 Dental Assisting application at any time throughout the year.  Once your application packet is reviewed, one of our instructors will contact you and discuss your next steps.

Gainful Employment

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who have completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at

Respectful Community

The College of Western Idaho is committed to maintaining a Respectful Community by providing equal opportunity for all individuals and does not discriminate in services, benefits, or activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability status, veteran status, age, or any other legally protected status.  More on Title IX

Requirements and Costs

Degrees and Certificates

Dental Assisting, Associates of Applied Science



Delivery Formats:

Dental Assisting, Intermediate Technical Certificate



Delivery Formats:

Important Dates for Credit Programs

  Spring 2017 Summer 2017 Fall 2017
Registration Open November 14 April 10 April 10
Financial Aid Priority Date December 5 May 15 July 10
Admission Deadline December 30 May 19 August 4
Last Day to Register January 13 June 2 August 18
Tuition and Fees Due January 13 June 2 August 18
Classes Begin January 17* June 5* August 21
*Some classes begin before or after this date. See the class schedule for more information.

Skills, Traits, and Prep Classes

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


Navigating your way through college can be confusing, especially if you try to go it alone. CWI One Stop Student Services offers advising assistance, to help in deciding which courses you need to take to complete your educational goals. Visit Advising for more information or contact One Stop Student Services to schedule an appointment.

How do I get started in the Dental Assisting program?

First:  Complete the admission requirements for College of Western Idaho.

Then:  Submit a Dental Assisting Application Packet to a One Stop Student Services location before being accepted into the program. Incomplete application packets will not be accepted.

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 Write Class Placement and Math Diagnostic pack and scores with your application.  Our faculty is available to advise and assist you on the correct path to admittance to our program.

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

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

Requirements of the Program:

  • You will be required to provide patients for clinical practice.

Financial Aid Available

Did you know that as a student in this program you may be eligible for financial aid? Through grants, scholarships, and loans, more than 60 percent of first-time, full-time CWI students receive some form of financial assistance. To learn more about financial aid options and whether you may be eligible, visit Financial Aid.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition for a full-time CWI student averages half the cost of a state university and a third of the cost of a private college. Tuition and fees vary based on program and residence. Visit Tuition and Fees for more information.

Career Info

Dental assisting is a rewarding career that can offer a great deal of personal satisfaction and fulfillment. 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 roles as dental assistants, there are excellent opportunities for advancement.


Ada County Campus Quail Building
Ada County Campus Quail Building

1450 S. Eagle Flight Way, Boise, ID 83709

News and Blogs

CWI will be showcasing science and healthcare programs on April 7.

Monica Satake recently completed her master’s degree from Idaho State University and was also published in a national industry journal.

On April 7 from 5:30-7:30 p.m., the College will showcase the healthcare programs offered at CWI's Ada County Campus.

The CWI Foundation received a $2,000 grant from the John William Jackson Fund.

The CWI Certified Dental Assisting program volunteered to help provide free dental care to 35 women.

For the third consecutive year, students from CWI’s Dental Assisting program helped promote oral health to 500 students at Koelsch Elementary School.


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