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Certified Dental Assisting

CWI Certified Dental Assisting

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)

Come see our new, state-of-the-art dental assisting facility in the Ada County Campus Quail Building! We encourage you to submit your Certified Dental Assisting Application at any time throughout the year. Once your application has been 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! 


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 (contingent on completing clinical hours).

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?

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 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.

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

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!

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 cwidaho.cc/ge

Requirements and Costs

Degrees and Certificates

Associates of Applied Science in Certified Dental Assisting



Delivery Formats:

Intermediate Technical Certificate in Certified Dental Assisting



Delivery Formats:

Important Dates for Credit Programs

  Spring 2016 Summer 2016 Fall 2016
Registration Open November 9 April 11 April 11
Financial Aid Priority Date November 23 May 16 July 11
Admission Deadline December 21 May 20 August 5
Last Day to Register January 8 June 3 August 19
Tuition and Fees Due January 8 June 3 August 19
Classes Begin January 11* June 6* August 22*
*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: students must submit 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:

  • Professional Reference Form from "one" dental professional after a half day of job shadowing.
  • Immunization Documentation form showing a complete list of immunization dates.
  • Current CPR Certification for Healthcare Professionals  (see www.DANB.org for accepted CPR providers)
  • 1st Aid Certification
  • 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 for application are as follows:

  • Pre-Algebra Compass - at least 53 or an Algebra Compass – of at least 26
  • Reading Compass - at least 80
  • 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 beginning to complete Certificated Dental Assisting courses such as DENT 100 and DENT 108.

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 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

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 - 11:15am
On April 7 from 5:30-7:30 p.m., the College will showcase the healthcare programs offered at CWI's Ada County Campus.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - 2:30pm
The CWI Foundation received a $2,000 grant from the John William Jackson Fund.
Friday, May 8, 2015 - 1:00pm
The CWI Certified Dental Assisting program volunteered to help provide free dental care to 35 women.
Friday, April 24, 2015 - 4:15pm
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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