Where Can I Get Dental Assistant Training?

Dental Assistant Training

Dental assistant training can be a valuable investment if you’re looking to become a dental assistant, and there are many institutions that offer it. Schools offer formal education and training to fully equip you with the skills and knowledge you’ll need on the job so you’ll be better prepared while minimizing on-the-job training. Not only that but passing an accredited course can help you later on to obtain certification, which helps you earn more and receive extra benefits. Typically dental assistant training teaches you about what your tasks are, including interaction with patients, the skills you will need, and how to help in running the dental office efficiently.

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Where Can I Get Dental Assistant Training?

Dental assistant training will teach you all the specific skills and knowledge you need to know in order to perform tasks competently and efficiently. Programs will usually cover areas such as working with patients, assisting the dentist, medical office management, and performing radiography procedures. They will often include portions in classroom, laboratory, and pre-clinical instruction in dental assisting skills and related theory.

dental assistant trainingDental assistant training programs can range anywhere from around 1 year (9 to 12 months) to 2 years, depending on whether you would like a certificate, diploma, or degree. Training programs for associate degrees are offered at community colleges and last for 2 years while diplomas and certificates are offered at dental assistant schools and technical schools and last around 9 to 12 months. There are dental assistant training programs out there that last 4 to 6 months, but these programs do not offer a recognized dental assistant certificate or diploma and are only meant to teach you the basic dental assisting skills you need. The better alternative to these short programs is to just get on the job dental assistant training instead.

If you decide on pursuing a associate’s degree, you will have to take general education classes as well–which may include speech and written communications, psychology, computer basics, human development, math, science, government, arts and humanities and sociology–which is why these programs take longer to complete. Typically, dental assistant training for community colleges will require about 60 semester credits. For the most part, associate’s degrees do not provide any extra benefits above a certificate or diploma from a dental assistant school other than providing you with a more well rounded education.


**You need to make sure the program is CODA accredited as well, as the certificates and diplomas offered by these programs are recognized in all states. CODA accredited programs mean that they are accredited to the American Dental Association, and will also give you the opportunity to become a certified dental assistant (CDA) in the future if you wish. You can find CODA accredited dental assisting programs here. If you are unsure whether your states requires dental assistant training, you can check your state’s requirements here.**

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Online Dental Assistant Training

There is even the option to receive online dental assistant training. Dental assistant programs online typically take around 1 year to finish as a full time student or 2 years to finish as a part time student. It’s just like taking a normal dental assistant training program except you can take classes in the comfort of your own home. CODA accredited programs usually require anywhere from 25 to 45 credits to complete, and will leave you with either a diploma, certificate, or degree once you complete the program. Popular online options include Penn Foster Career SchoolMonroe Community College, and Southeast Community College.

Dental Assistant Training Cost

If you want a certificate, diploma, or degree, dental assistant training won’t be free. If you are worrying about the cost, just know that if you do decide to pursue dental assistant training,  it will be a worthwhile investment in the long run. And compared to the typical costs of a college education, dental assistant training is significantly lower. The typical cost of a one year accredited dental assistant training program will usually be around $2,000 to $5,000. This does not include living expenses while attending school however.

Dental Assistant Training Scholarships

Fortunately, there are some scholarships you can utilize to finance for your dental assistant training. You will have to apply for these scholarships and if you are lucky, you can have your dental assistant training paid for partly or even fully! Here are just a few options:

ADA Foundation Scholarship – This annual scholarship is offered to all students pursuing dental programs around the country and can cover the complete cost of training. Waivers are issued to exceptional individuals.

American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) Scholarship – This scholarship is offered to all ADAA members and student members in good standing and can be used for continuing dental education. Scholarships awarded to dental assistants who demonstrate a strong commitment to career growth and lifelong learning.

Hispanic Dental Association (HDA) Foundation Scholarship – There are numerous scholarships offered by the HDA for any member of the Hispanic community that wishes to train in a professional dental program. Rewards can range anywhere from $500 to $4,000.

Bettie Underwood Dental Assisting Scholarship – This scholarship is specifically for California students interested in dental assisting.  Provides up to $1,000 for students enrolled in a California dental assisting program and is based on financial need, academic achievement and a strong desire for a career in the dental field.

You can also find more scholarship opportunities at Niche or School Soup.