Dental Assisting

Program Competencies for DAC

Upon graduation, students completing the certificate program in Dental Assisting would be expected to have the following competencies:

  • Communicate effectively and accurately through oral, written and electronic means.
  • Demonstrate the application of theory to practice in achieving optimal patient care.
  • Practice within the legal, ethical and regulatory framework of dental assisting in accordance with the standards set by the State Practice Act and Code of Ethics for Dental Assistants.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to the dental assisting profession through assuming responsibility for lifelong learning and professional growth.

Technical Standards1 for DAC


For general information about technical standards and accommodation, see Technical Standards.

Students entering these programs must be able to have/demonstrate the ability to:

  • Comprehend textbook material at the 11th grade level.
  • Communicate and assimilate information in either printed, signed or computer voice format.
  • Gather, analyze, and draw conclusions from data.
  • Have the visual acuity with corrective lenses to identify changes in oral tissues.
  • Discern changes in color, texture and shape of tissues. Ability to differentiate among subtle shades of gray as seen on radiographs.
  • Have sufficient physical ability to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the handling of a medical emergency.
  • Have sufficient communication (oral and/or written) ability to question the patient about his/her medical condition and to relay information about the patient to others in English.
  • Have sufficient manual dexterity with two hands to manipulate instruments with precision and control in the oral cavity without causing damage to tissues. This skill may not be fully evaluated until the preclinical portion of the curriculum.
  • Have a sense of touch that allows for assessment and palpation of oral tissues.
  • Sit for prolonged (up to four hours) periods of time.
  • Operate and manipulate mechanical equipment, e.g.: dials, switches, push buttons, syringes, and blood pressure measurement devices.
  • Pick up items of very small (2mm in width, 21 mm in length minimum) and varying diameters.
  • Use upper body movements (up to five feet) to grasp, push/pull, reach overhead equipment, and to rotate and reach laterally.
  • Lift, carry, and move equipment and supplies up to 10 pounds.
  • Wear protective equipment such as gloves, face masks, face shields, and protective eye wear.

Dental Assisting Certificate (DAC) (Evening only) (Selective)

The certified dental assistant is an auxiliary in the dental office who assists the dentist in dental procedures and in the performance of generalized tasks. This would include; chair-side /instrument transfer, radiography and laboratory functions, clerical office operations such as recordkeeping, billing, and appointment management and reception duties. Students are eligible to sit for the Dental Assisting National Board Examination, (DANBE), upon successful completion of the Dental Assisting program. Application deadline: The application deadline is August 1st and rolling until each seat is filled.

Prerequisite Semester
ENG 101English Composition I 3
BIO 199Anatomy and Physiology I (formerly BIO203) 4
MAT 126Topics In Mathematics (or higher) 4
PSY 105Introduction To Psychology 3
Year 1
DAC 101Dental Assisting 3
DAC 102Dental Science I 4
Maymester/Summer I
DAC 104Practice Management 2
Summer II
DAC 105Dental Science II 4
DHY 106Dental Materials 3
DHY 103Dental Radiology 3
DAC 110Prevention 3
Year 2
DAC 115Clinical Rotation 17
 Total Credits: 43

The clinical rotation may be scheduled during the daytime office hours.

See the dental assisting general information for technical standards.


Click here for information on the campus/format.

Helpful hints

Students are encouraged to complete all the general education requirements before entry into the Program.

Transfer options

For transfer options, please click here. It is recommended that you also consult with your academic advisor.

Special requirements

Applicants must meet all requirements for consideration before entering the program. Students must meet technical standards and additional requirements including immunizations, CPR certification, liability insurance, and a Criminal/Sexual Offender Records Information (CORI/SORI) check (see Selective Program Requirements). Prior to taking DAC courses, the following general education courses are required (at a level of C+ or better):

BIO 199Anatomy and Physiology I (formerly BIO203)4
ENG 101English Composition I3
MAT 126Topics In Mathematics4
PSY 105Introduction To Psychology3

All BIO, MAT, and DAC courses require a minimum grade of C+ or better to be eligible for promotion to the next level. Also, BIO 199 Anatomy and Physiology I (formerly BIO203), BIO 204 Anatomy and Physiology II, and BIO 205 Microbiology credits cannot be more than five years old.

Career options

For career options, please click here.

Earning potential

$15.00 - $23.00 per hour.

Gainful Employment Program Disclosure Information

For gainful employment information, please click here.


DAC 101. Dental Assisting. 3 Credits.

This course provides an introduction to organized dentistry and the fundamentals of dental practice. The roles and qualifications of dental health care members according to the state dental practice act, an exploration of the dental specialties and assisting a dentist chairside will be the focus of the instruction. A comprehensive review of the skill sets needed for competency in four and six handed dentistry will include providing instrument transfer, a clear operating field through proper lip and tongue retraction, use of high volume evacuation and properly adjusting the light. Identification and knowledge of instrument use as each relate to a dental procedure will be a foundation for anticipatory chairside abilities. Laboratory and clinical sessions will also provide instruction and practice in supportive techniques such as placement of the rubber dam and matrix bands, charting and recording an oral exam, and sterilization and aseptic techniques. Exposure control, OSHA regulations, and hazard control recommendations will be introduced and reinforced throughout the course. Prerequisites: Admission into Dental Assisting Certificate, current CPR certification, BIO199, ENG101, MAT126, PSY105. Corequisites: DAC102.

DAC 102. Dental Science I. 4 Credits.

This course will introduce the student to oral embryology and histology, anatomy of the head and neck with a focus on oral anatomy, tooth morphology, and individual tooth identifications. The second half of the course will focus on microbiology, disease transmission and infection control. Learning opportunities will be offered in the form of lecture and demonstration, with the aid of anatomical models and extracted teeth so that the student will be prepared to identify individual structures of the mouth in preparation of lab and clinical experience. Prerequisites: Admission to Dental Assisting Certificate, current CPR Certification, BIO199, ENG101, MAT126, PSY105. Corequisite: DAC101.

DAC 104. Practice Management. 2 Credits.

This course provides an introduction to basic practice management skills, business operating systems and financial management in a dental office. The components of the business operating system of an office will be introduced as will the skills needed in the financial management of an office. Prerequisites: Current CPR certification, DAC101, DAC102.

DAC 105. Dental Science II. 4 Credits.

This course will introduce oral pathology including diseases, lesions, conditions and disorders of the oral cavity followed by an investigation of caries and periodontal disease and the etiology, risk assessment and preventive measures for them. Pharmacology and the Management of Emergencies will be covered in the later part of the course. The student is provided with information and practice opportunities in dental and medical emergencies. Prerequisites: Current CPR Certification, DAC104. Corequisite: DHY106.

DAC 110. Prevention. 3 Credits.

This course provides an introduction to Preventive Dentistry. The components of a comprehensive preventive program will include knowledge and theory of the roles nutrition, patient education, plaque control therapy, fluoride therapy and sealants have in preventive dentistry. Theory and practice are combined in such a way that the student is afforded the opportunity to learn didactic material, practice and manipulate on topical mannequins and then synthesize this learning by using peer partners. The student will be required to state the rationale and demonstrate proper technique for each preventive dental skill. Prerequisites: Current CPR certification, DAC105, DHY106. Corequisite: DHY103.

DAC 115. Clinical Rotation. 7 Credits.

This course is integral for the student dental assistant to develop the functions introduced in the curriculum from a level of minimal competence to one of optimum proficiency. During this immersion experience students will rotate through two dental practices actively assisting and participating in patient care. A daily record of professional activities, including each clinical procedure assisted in and performed, and supportive lab and office procedures will be kept and provided for the course instructor to read and respond to. Seminars will be conducted weekly with a focus and discussion on an assigned area, with a case base presentations format. Prerequisites: Current CPR certification, DAC110, DHY103.