Gain skills to work as a dental assistant in dental offices in as little as 9 months.
At a Glance
Get ready to work in dental offices in as few as 9 months
Receive either a Certificate of Achievement or an Associate Degree
Prepare for a career as the face of a dental practice
Prepare for examination for licensure as a Registered Dental Assistant in some states
Affordable tuition varies by location, learn more now
About the Program
What Will I Learn
Students in Carrington College’s Dental Assisting program begin with a broad base of knowledge on subjects ranging from anatomy of the head and mouth to sterilization techniques to front-office operations. Students’ progress to learning specific skills and building their understanding of dental procedures performed in dental offices. As they near the end of their studies, Dental Assisting students complete an externship.
Students pursuing an Associate Degree also complete a broad base of general education course offerings focusing on:
- English writing and composition
- Computer literacy
- Social sciences
Dental assistants provide patient care and chair-side support as dentists complete exams and procedures. Most visibly, people may see dental assistant’s passing instruments, but that’s just the beginning of their technical skills. By the end of Carrington College’s Dental Assistant programs, you’ll be able to:
- Assist with dental procedures such as fillings, crowns, and extractions
- Take & pouring dental impressions (molds of the mouth)
- Prepare patients for surgery
- Operate equipment and monitors
- Talk with patients
- Perform administrative tasks
- Prepare examination areas
- Clean up after procedures
- Sterilize equipment
You’re passionate about helping people with their smiles. That will help you succeed as a dental assistant. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, opportunities for dental assistants will continue to grow. In fact, employment of dental assistants is projected to grow nationally 7% between 2019 and 20291. And there are some reasons for this growth, including:
- Continue research showing a link between oral health and general health will increase the demand for preventive dental services.
- Dentists need dental assistants to help with routine tasks, giving the dentist more time to see patients in their practice and focus on more complex procedures.
As baby boomers age, and people keep more of their original teeth than previous generations did, there will be a greater need to maintain and treat teeth, which means an increased need for dental care2.
Carrington College is proud to offer our Dental Assisting program at 15 locations around the U.S. To learn more about our locations, explore their pages.
Student Life at Carrington College
We know college is a big step. But education can be the first step in building a better future. Your instructors, administrators and fellow students are there to help if you ever hit a bump in the road along the way. Carrington College offers a lot of great student support services designed to help you succeed.
From scholarships and grants to loans, we will help you understand how to search and apply for financial aid.1
Tutoring and Study Groups
For help with schoolwork, your instructors and Student Success Center staff are often available for tutoring or you can join in an open student study group.
Fixed Tuition Promise
How would you like to know what you’re going to pay, right from the beginning? We promise your tuition won’t change through the length of your program. It’s our commitment to you.2
Externships, Clinical Rotations and Fieldwork
Most programs include an opportunity to learn in the real world before you even graduate! You’ll earn impressive experience that looks great on your resume.
After graduation, we’ll help you with your career search with everything from resume writing help to job search support to interview tips.
Program Specific Disclosures
LICENSURE EXAM PASS RATES
Our dental assistant programs prepare graduates for an occupation in which passage of a California licensing examination is required. The link below shows exam passage rates for the most recent available year. If you have questions regarding the calculation of these rates please contact the agency listed. Dental Board of California http://www.dbc.ca.gov/formspubs/rdaprac2016.pdf
Cost & Financial Aid
Education is a major investment, but it’s an investment in your future. Every student comes to Carrington with unique financial needs. Carrington College is committed to helping you achieve your education goals. We participate in most financial assistance programs, both federal and state, as well as private financing. Each program has different requirements and application instructions. Student loans, grants and scholarships are available to those who qualify.
For complete information on current tuition costs, please see the Academic Catalog.
The best way for us to understand your financial needs is to meet in person. Call (602) 492-1086 to set an appointment with our Student Finance Department so we can help you develop your personalized financial plan to achieve your educational goals.
Accreditation and Approvals
Carrington College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC/WASC), 10 Commercial Blvd., Suite 204, Novato, CA 94949, 415 506 0234, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education. Additional information about accreditation, including the filing of complaints against member institutions, can be found at http://www.accjc.org/.
The Dental Board of California, www.dbc.ca.gov, approves the Carrington College Dental Assistant programs at the Citrus Heights, Pleasant Hill, Pomona, Sacramento, San Jose, San Leandro and Stockton campuses.
For comprehensive information on Carrington’s accreditation and approvals, visit carrington.edu/accreditation.
Read Our Career Guide On Dental Assisting
If you love working with people, helping with complex tasks, and want to get to work in as little as nine months, a career as a dental assistant may be right for you.
Dental Assistant FAQ
How much does a dental assistant make?
The median annual wage for dental assistants was $40,080 in May 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While the lowest 10% earned less than $27,980, the highest 10% earned more than $56,930. Be advised, salary for entry level positions may be lower than the national average.
What does a dental assistant do?
Based on recent data from the BLS, common dental assistant job duties include:
- Ensuring that patients are comfortable in the dental chair
- Preparing patients and the work area for treatments and procedures
- Sterilizing dental instruments
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Drying patients’ mouths using suction hoses and other equipment
- Instructing patients in proper oral hygiene
- Processing x rays and complete lab tasks, under the direction of a dentist
- Keeping records of dental treatments
- Scheduling patient appointments
- Working with patients on billing and payment
How long is the dental assistant program?
A Dental Assisting program may take up to two years to complete, depending on whether it’s a certificate, diploma, or degree. However, Carrington College’s Dental Assisting program can be completed in as little as nine months.
What do you need to be a dental assistant?
While some states require dental assistants to graduate from an accredited program or pass a licensing exam, others might not need formal education. But it may be helpful to enroll in a Dental Assisting program for relevant experience and training. Students typically must have a high school diploma or GED to enroll.
What is a dental assistant?
A dental assistant helps dentists and dental hygienists by perform a variety of tasks, including:
- Caring for patients
- Handling dental records
- Scheduling appointments
- Cleaning dental equipment
(See What does a dental assistant do? for more details about their role in a dentist office)
Is it worth being a dental assistant?
Dental assisting can be an exciting career path if you have an interest in oral health care. Ultimately, the decision lies with you on whether a dental assistant certificate is worth it or not. According to records from the BLS, employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 7% from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
How much is dental assistant school?
At Carrington College, our tuition differs by the campus location. Learn more about our affordable plans by reading the Carrington College Academic Catalog.
Is a dental assistant a good career?
Dental assisting can be a great choice for those interested in doing a variety of tasks and helping patients with oral care. It’s also a path that offers the potential for career advancement in a stable environment. If all of this sounds good to you, then a Dental Assisting program at Carrington College might be the route to your success.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Dental Assistants, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-assistants.htm (visited February 24th, 2021). Data reflects a national projected percentage change in employment from 2019-2029 and may not reflect local economic conditions.
- Student loans, grants and scholarships are available to those who qualify.
- Fixed Tuition Promise is available for all Carrington College students who remain active and in good standing during the duration of their program. Students who withdraw or are withdrawn from school and are not reinstated within 180 days of their last date of attendance are subject to a tuition increase. Students who are required to repeat a course to fulfill graduation requirements are subject to additional expenses.