Enjoy a career that’s personally and professionally rewarding by enrolling in one of the 20 Best Accredited Online Colleges in Dental Assistance.
Are you detail-oriented? Organized? A good communicator and team player? If so—and if you find yourself fascinated by teeth!—then a career as a dental assistant might be in the cards for you.
There are lots of benefits to becoming a dental assistant. Not only does this kind of career path require far less schooling than becoming a full-fledged dentist, but it is also the type of program that can be completed entirely online. Plus, you’ll enjoy excellent job prospects and the potential for high earnings when you earn a degree in dental assistance.
What Kind of Classes Will You Take?
In a dental assistance program, you will take classes that cover topics like dental language, chairside assisting, dental radiology, and infection control.
You might also cover things like biodental science, learning more about dental anatomy and physiology, as well as dental pharmacology, patient assessment, and dental nutrition and prevention.
What Job Opportunities Are There for Dental Assistants?
With a dental assistant degree, you’ll be able to pursue a wide variety of occupations in the medical assisting field.
Of course, the most popular avenue to follow is to become a dental assistant. You’ll be responsible for taking patient X-rays, maintaining and completing patient records, and scheduling appointments. The average salary for a dental assistant is around $41,180 per year.
However, you could also become a dental hygienist with a few additional courses. The salary potential for a dental hygienist is much higher than that of a dental assistant and requires the same level of education, with the average worker bringing in about $77,090 per year. You’ll be able to clean teeth and gums and educate patients on preventative oral health care.
Last but not least, you might also choose to become a medical assistant. Medical assistants provide clerical support to medical businesses like clinics, private practices, and hospitals. You’ll earn a salary of around $35,850 per year.
What Are the Best Dental Assistance Degrees?
Accredited Online College uses the most recent data from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. Each program is scored individually. It’s then compared to all other universities offering that degree to determine the final score you see by each ranking. Accredited Online College considers the affordability, student-to-faculty ratio, and the number of programs offered on-campus and online. To learn more, visit our methodology page.
A public community college located in Dayton, OH, Sinclair Community College educates more than 18,000 students on its five regional campuses around Southwest Ohio. It’s known as one of the best community colleges in the region and has received nods from publications like The New York Times.
The dental assisting program at Sinclair is offered by the health sciences division and includes 17 credit hours of study. You’ll learn the fundamentals of working in a dental office, covering basic concepts and techniques like oral evacuation, four-handed dentistry, instrument identification, proper use, and basic equipment. You’ll even learn how to conduct an oral exam or complete charts and medical and dental histories.
As a student in this program, you’ll take classes primarily online. You can also complete one or two days per week of on-campus lab courses, depending on the semester. Upon graduation, you’ll be able to work in a variety of employment environments, such as in private practice, community health, or secondary education settings.
One of the more selective public universities in the country, the University of Georgia offers a quality of education comparable to that offered by Ivy League institutions. In fact, it’s regarded as a “Public Ivy” because of this.
A 100% online program, the administrative dental assistant program at the University of Georgia includes 150 hours of study and costs just $1,795. You’ll earn 15 CEUs and you can start your courses at any time. Because courses are offered exclusively online, this accredited program is the perfect fit for the working adult or busy learner. You’ll be able to complete your courses quickly so you can get out into the workforce as soon as possible.
You’ll build skills in dental terminology and office management while also learning how to use important software like DENTRIX G4, patient recording software, and CDT coding. You’ll even learn how to complete dental insurance claim forms, a valuable skill for the modern dental office.
Located in Springfield, MO, Ozarks Technical Community College offers a variety of programs to busy workers. In addition to one-year certificates and two-year associate degrees, the college also has a number of vocational education courses so that high school students can earn college credit prior to graduation.
The dental assisting program at Ozarks Technical Community College is the only accredited program in Southwest Missouri that has received accreditation from the Commission on Dental Accreditation. This is a specialized accrediting body that is one of the only ones recognized by the United States Department of Education.
Therefore, you’ll find that the courses in this program meet or vastly exceed national standards. You’ll take classes such as Chairside Assisting, Dental Radiology, Office Procedure, and Dental Science and Health. You’ll even complete a clinical practicum to help you gain more hands-on experience. It is an affordable online program that costs just around $15,526 for the entire plan of study.
Monroe Community College is part of the much larger State University of New York system. It has two campuses in Rochester, NY and Brighton, NY, along with numerous off-site learning facilities online and at places like the Applied Technologies Center.
The dental assisting rapid track certificate at Monroe Community College is a great way to earn the credentials you need to start working in one of the country’s fastest-growing professions right away. You’ll learn under the sponsorship of a practicing dentist so that you can gain the skills you need on the job and get to work immediately. Of course, all of your coursework will be completed online while you are working in your practicum.
You’ll gain advanced skills in topics like biomedical science, oral histology, specialty assisting procedures, manipulation of dental materials, and chairside dental assisting procedures. You must be currently employed, since you’ll complete around 500 hours of clinical experience with your sponsoring dentist. Other than that, the program’s 24 credit hours can be completed entirely online.
Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis is a core campus of Indiana University that also offers degrees in partnership with Purdue University. With more than 200 degree programs to choose from at the undergraduate and graduate level, this space-grant institution is easily one of the best in the nation.
The School of Dentistry at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis offers a traditional on-campus program in dental assisting that is perfect for aspiring professionals. Accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, it requires students to take three Dental Assisting National Board exams so that they can become Certified Dental Assistants.
A full-time, two-semester certificate program, it requires the completion of 30 credit hours, including 14 required classes. In these classes, you’ll complete 1000 hours of lectures, clinical experiences, and labs, with all instruction taking place at the School of Dentistry. Upon graduation, you’ll be eligible for the Indiana dental radiographers’ license and the coronal polishing and caries prevention certificates.
Located in Watertown, SD, Lake Area Technical Institute has a 40-acre campus and serves a regional area of more than 18,000 square miles. It offers 30 programs of study including 15 online degrees in popular topics like welding, agriculture, diesel, nursing, and aviation. Of course, the dental assistance program here is one of the best as well.
Lake Area has impressive career outcomes, with a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio and a 99% graduate placement rate. The dental assisting program here is a “certified e-degree” that can be completed entirely online. You’ll enjoy a hybrid education for maximum flexibility paired with vital hands-on experience. You’ll complete on-campus lab requirements that total about 12 days per semester along with 300 hours of clinical experience in a dental office.
Designed exclusively for part-time students, you can graduate in as few as five to seven semesters. You will take classes such as Basic Life Support for Healthcare Workers, Dental Radiography, Dental Materials, and Orthodontics. It is an affordable program that costs less than $15,000 for the entire program.
A public community college located in Troy, NY, Hudson Valley Community College is affiliated with the State University of New York system and serves a population almost totally composed of students from the Capital District in New York. That said, you don’t have to be from New York in order to benefit from this school’s quality academics. It offers more than 80 academic degree programs, nearly two dozen of which are also offered online.
The online dental assisting certificate program at Hudson Valley Community College is ideal for the student who is new to the profession. It takes just one year to complete. You’ll learn how to sterilize instruments, prepare materials for dental procedures, and to perform advanced office duties. You’ll be able to enter the workforce immediately upon graduation.
Offered entirely online, the program includes 27 credit hours of coursework along with 225 hours of hands-on clinical experience through an internship. You can apply for the New York State Professional Dental Assisting Examination, Infection Control Exam, and Radiation Health & Safety Exam after completing the program. Many graduates also apply for state licensure, though there of course additional fees required for this.
A public technical and community college, Madison Area Technical College is located in Madison, WI, and serves students in 12 countries in the south-central part of the state. It’s one of the largest schools in the Wisconsin Technical College System, enrolling more than 30,000 students each year.
With a 99% student satisfaction rate, the dental assistant program at Madison Area Technical College is close-knit and incredibly hands-on. You’ll complete 16 credits of courses, primarily in an online format with some courses taking place on-campus. You’ll pay just $3,022 for the entire program, too, making it an affordable option for learners who want to advance their careers without spending a fortune.
Core courses include Dental Health Safety, Dental Radiography, and Dental and General Anatomy. You’ll learn how to perform basic office procedures, maintain inventories of supplies, and how to use and care for dental equipment and instruments. It’s a one-semester, full-time program that can be completed in fall, summer, or spring semesters.
Southeast Community College is a public community college system located in southern Nebraska, with more than 20 different sites in 15 countries. Whether you’re looking to earn a certificate or an associate degree, you’ll find what you’re looking for here at Southeast.
With a total cost of just $9,329, this affordable and accredited online program takes just four semesters to complete. Classes are offered in both the fall and spring semesters and culminate in either an associate degree or a diploma.
You will be able to gain hands-on experience in chairside assisting, dental health education, laboratory procedures, radiation exposure and processing, coronal polishing, and more. The program includes more than 300 hours of clinical experience and has a 92% student success rate. It qualifies students for accreditation and licensure in almost every state, including Nebraska.
Carrington College refers to a large network of for-profit private colleges in the western United States, with a main campus in Sacramento, CA. Carrington offers a limited number of programs—but what it does do, it does exceptionally well. This school offers career training in medical, veterinary, criminal justice, and (naturally) dental, fields.
If you want to get out into the workforce as quickly as possible, the dental assisting program at Carrington College is your best option. You’ll be able to start working in as little as nine months and will receive either an associate degree or a certificate of achievement. You can take classes online as well as at more than a dozen locations spread out among California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, and beyond.
The program will prepare you for examination for licensure as a registered dental assistant in many states and is offered at rock-bottom tuition rates. You’ll learn from instructors who have years of experience working in real dental offices and take classes that cover scheduling, oral hygiene, recordkeeping, and more.
Texarkana College first opened its doors in 1927 as a constituent of the Texarkana Independent School District. Later, the college separated, offering dozens of programs as a community college to students in the Texarkana region.
The dental assistant certificate at Texarkana College is offered in partnership with Health Ed Today. You’ll be able to access a highly interactive and self-paced online program that includes 50 credit hours of instruction in both administrative and clinical dental assisting. The program requires no campus attendance, with everything completed entirely online instead.
You can fulfill all course requirements within just six months, allowing you to work at your own pace as you build your competencies in key areas like the history of the entail industry, the legal policies and issues of dentistry, and the anatomy and structure of the oral cavity and teeth. Plus, you’ll pay just one flat rate that covers all of your expenses, from the course tuition to the textbooks and all the materials in between.
A public community college, Middlesex Community College is located in Massachusetts. The school has multiple campuses and as such is one of the largest community colleges in the state. It has locations in both Lowell and in Bedford.
The dental assisting program at Middlesex Community College is offered in partnership with the online platform Education to Go. This partnership makes it possible for students to pursue continuing education programs of all kinds outside of the classroom. There are two dental assistant certificate programs to choose from. One is in administrative assisting while the other is in clinical assisting. You’ll take between 150 and 240 hours of content.
Completing your education will just take six months from start to finish. You’ll take courses in things like patient care, anatomy and physiology, and chairside skills. You’ll also build your aptitudes in insurance processes, bookkeeping, and communication. Everything can be done entirely online with no on-site components.
Also known as Flo Valley, Saint Louis Community College is a school located in Ferguson, MO. This school is one of four campuses in the St. Louis Community College System and is home to more than 7,000 students.
The dental assisting program at Saint Louis Community College is a certificate of proficiency program that will provide you with a broad background in all aspects of dentistry. You’ll take classes like Fundamentals of Chairside Assisting, Dental Terminology, Infection Control in Dentistry, and Dental Radiology. Of course, multiple clinical experiences and practicums are scattered throughout the curriculum as well.
An affordable accredited program, this online degree includes about 150 contact hours and is offered at many of the Saint Louis campuses. It costs around $3000 for the entire program with most fees and supplies included in the overall cost of attendance. You will be eligible for all types of financial aid, like the Pell Grant, too.
As part of the University of Houston System, the University of Houston-Downtown is a large public university with more than 14,000 students. It offers more than 52 degree programs but its dental assistant program is one of the best around.
Pursue this program and you’ll be prepared for an entry-level position in one of the fastest-growing healthcare professions around. You’ll acquire a solid introductory education to the dental office as well as the legal aspects of dentistry. You’ll learn about the oral cavity, dental handpieces, sterilization, tooth structure, oral anatomy, and more.
Of course, as with many other programs, this one includes a 40-hour clinical externship. After graduating, you’ll be prepared to sit for the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) – Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam, and the DANB – Infection Control Exam (ICE). The entire course of instruction costs just $1199 for all-online instruction.
A public university located in Augusta, ME, the University of Maine at Augusta is a regional institution offering baccalaureate and associate degrees on campus in Augusta as well as in Bangor and online.
The dental assisting program at the University of Maine, Augusta is a competitive and demanding program that requires a high school diploma or its equivalent for admission. It can be completed as a two-year associate degree or as a one-year certificate, whichever option works best for you. You will be educated in four-handed dentistry as well as all the other duties that are typically delegated to dental assistants, like oral health education and business office management.
You’ll take classes such as Biodental Sciences, Dental Radiology, and Clinical Dental Assisting. Other core courses include Dental Office Management and Dental Materials. There are plenty of clinical and preclinical experiences embedded in the curriculum of this program, too.
Rutgers University is a public research university located in New Brunswick, NJ. One of the oldest schools in the country, Rutgers was chartered in 1766 and has a reputation as being one of the top institutions in the world. It is one of the nine U.S. colonial colleges that was chartered before the American War of Independence, meaning it has a rich history and a storied legacy that’s worth writing home about for sure.
The administrative dental assistant program will teach you the basic skills you need to manage the business aspects of a dental office. You’ll become a strong communicator and acquire good organizational skills as well. From managing medical records to processing accounts receivable and scheduling patients, this program will teach you everything you need to know.
It is a web-based program that consists of 150 hours of study. You’ll receive detailed instruction in DENTRIX G4 software along with plenty of opportunities to practice. You’ll have six months to complete the program so that you only need to work on your courses on a part-time basis. Plus, all textbooks are included in the cost of attendance, which is a low $2,285 for the entire program.
Indiana University, Bloomington is a public research university located in Bloomington, IN. The flagship institution of the state system, it is home to 40,000 students and offers high-quality programs in dozens of different schools.
The certificate in dental assisting at Indiana University, Bloomington is a one-year program that consists of 37 credit hours and culminates in the awarding of a certificate. You’ll learn the skills you need to aid the density in the treatment, care, and detection of a patient’s oral health. In addition to courses that can be completed primarily online, you’ll also complete at least 300 clinical externship hours.
An affordable degree, this accredited online college offers low tuition rates with an average cost of just $6370.29 per semester for Indiana residents. If you’re still a high school student, you may be able to begin this program for college credit before you even graduate!
The Eastern Iowa Community College system is home to three separate community colleges that span the Mississippi River in Iowa. You’ll find them in countries such as Muscatine, Clinton, and Scott, where more than 8000 students pursue college transfer and career technology programs like graphic arts, engineering technology, manufacturing technology, and of course, dental assistance.
The dental assisting program at Eastern Iowa Community College will prepare you to perform a wide variety of tasks that require both interpersonal and technical skills. You might learn how to help a dentist at chairside or how to make or cancel office appointments. In this program, you’ll complete a practicum in both local dental offices as well as at the Veterans Affairs Dental Clinic and the University of Iowa College of Dentistry.
The program can be completed as a diploma or as an expanded functions certificate. You can even complete an additional community dental health coordinator certificate, if you so choose.
Century College is a community and technical college located in White Bear Lake, MN. Originally founded as Lakewood State Junior College, Century is now known as one of Minnesota’s largest and most influential community colleges. It offers 58 degrees, 61 certificates, and 24 diplomas in a number of areas, such as social and behavioral sciences, business, applied design, health sciences, and more.
Available in a blended format online as well as in a daytime format, the dental assistant program at Century College can be completed as a certificate (16 credit hours of study), a diploma (48 credits), or an Associate in Applied Science degree (64 credits). Whichever you choose, you’ll find that this program goes a long way in helping you to meet your personal and professional goals.
You’ll pay just $201 per credit hour and be able to qualify for federal financial aid like Pell Grants and Federal Direct Loans. Core classes include Dental Assisting Advanced Functions, Chairside Dental Assisting, Dental Radiology, Dental Materials, and even Nitrous Oxide Inhalation Sedation. Of course, several internships are also required.
A public university located in San Marcos, CA, California State University-San Marcos offers 43 bachelor’s degrees and a number of associate and certificate programs. Its suburban location provides the perfect environment for busy working professionals to earn their credentials in dental assistance.
A two- to four-month program, the dental assistant program at California State will prepare you for an entry-level position primarily through clinical practice. It costs just $1,299 and needs only a high school diploma or GED to be eligible for admission.
You’ll learn the history of dentistry as well as the many legal aspects of the discipline. You’ll also learn things like oral anatomy, tooth structure, and more. Upon completing this program, you will be eligible to sit for the National Workforce Career Association (NWCA) Dental Assistant Clinical Certification (DACC) exam. You can even complete an optional volunteer externship with a local company or organization whose work aligns with this area of study. This will allow you to gain vital hands-on experience.
What Does a Dental Assistant Do?
As a dental assistant, you will perform a crucial role as a vital member of the dental team. You’ll offer patients a variety of services. Most states do not require formal licensure but some do, so it’s important to look into the requirements of your specific state.
You’ll usually need to take about nine months to two years to complete a program in dental assistance. You’ll perform administrative tasks, like scheduling and confirming appointments, ordering dental supplies, and updating patient records. You might also perform work in a more clinical setting, for example, handing tools to a dentist during examination and treatment, sterilizing materials and instruments, or processing X-rays.
Is There a High Demand for Dental Assistants?
There is a respectable demand for dental assistants, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimating that employment will grow by about 7% between 2019 and 2029. This is much faster than the national average for all other applications.
Why such a surge? It’s partially due to the fact that the population is aging, and as it does, there is also more ongoing research connecting oral health to general overall health. Therefore, there is an increased demand for preventive and routine dental services.
What Is the Fastest Way to Become a Dental Assistant?
For most students, the fastest way to become a dental assistant is to enroll in a training program like one of the options above or to participate in a vocational school program after high school. You’ll usually be able to earn your certificate or diploma and get out into the workforce in less than a year.
What Is the Difference between a Certified Dental Assistant and Registered Dental Assistant?
A registered dental assistant will need to pass both a written and clinical examination. He or she will also need to apply for and receive a state license in order to practice in a professional setting. A certified dental assistant, however, just needs to attend and graduate from a dental assisting program that provides a certificate of completion.
Does a Dental Assistant Clean Teeth?
Dental assistants are often confused with dental hygienists. While dental assistants handle things like appointment setting and patient care, they don’t clean teeth to remove tartar and plaque like dental hygienists do.
Is There Financial Aid for Dental Assistance School?
Yes. Most financial aid for aspiring dental assistants comes via federally-funded grants and loans. Occasionally, you may be able to find a scholarship by searching sources like the American Dental Association and the American Dental Assistants Association. Be sure to complete the FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, to explore all the options that might be available to you.
How Long Does it Take to Go From Dental Assistant to Dental Hygienist?
If you’re interested in making the leap from being a dental assistant to becoming a dental hygienist, you don’t need too much additional education. Dental hygienists typically require an associate degree, or two years’ worth of education in order to practice.
There are some certificate programs that require a year or less of education, too. How quickly you make the leap will depend on whether you choose to study on a full- or part-time basis, but you can generally do so in less than a year of additional coursework.
Is it Worth it Being a Dental Assistant?
Ask any dental assistant whether earning a degree in this field was worth it, and they’ll likely answer with a resounding, “yes!” There are plenty of good reasons to become a dental assistant, regardless of whether you are pursuing a new career or starting fresh outta high school.
You’ll be able to help people and make personal connections on a daily basis. You can work anywhere and you’ll be able to perform a variety of tasks, from processing X-rays to assisting dentists with procedures, so no two days will ever be the same. Plus, you’ll have an excellent foundation should you choose to continue your education to become a dental hygienist or dental assistant instructor.
Of course, don’t forget that becoming a dental assistant can be financially rewarding, too. While some of the states offering students the highest salaries, such as North Dakota, Minnesota, and New Hampshire, also require the highest levels of training, the extra education is worth it without a question.
If you’re interested in pursuing higher education, then you should check out THE TOP 30 FASTEST ACCREDITED ONLINE GRADUATE COLLEGES & 20 ACCREDITED ONLINE COLLEGES WHICH OFFER LAPTOPS!