Dental Assistant

Program Overview

Students who enroll in the Dental Occupations Program learn a variety of skills that will enable them to become a dental assistant, dental laboratory technician, and/or pursue a career as an Expanded Function Dental Assistant (EFDA), Registered Dental Hygienist or dentist. There is a focus on patient-centered care in support of improving oral health as a key to personal health and well-being. The major areas of study in this program include: dental radiology, oral pathology, chair-side dental assisting, anatomy and physiology, dental materials, sterilization, and dental office business procedures.

Students will be introduced to Dental Anatomy, Dental Charting Systems, Infection Control Procedures, Dental Instruments and Procedures for General Dentistry, Chairside Assisting Techniques, and Radiology Basics. As students continue in this program, they receive more lectures on advanced dental anatomy, dental software programs, dental specialties, prep for certified dental assisting, and radiology Board Exams.

* This program is not accredited by CODA. Graduates will need to work 3500 hours in a dental office before they are eligible to sit for the exam.

Skill Alignment Chart (Click to Expand)
Educational & Physical Attributes Expectations
Program Safety & Physical Considerations
  • Empathy to understand the pains and suffering of others
  • Good personal hygiene–hair pulled back, no artificial nails, facial piercing removed, no dangling earrings
  • Lift heavy objects/people
  • Not disturbed by incidences such as body fluids, surgeries, injections & traumatic situations
  • Prolonged standing, bending & stooping
Essential APTITUDES for this la–Recommended Levels
  • Basic computer & keyboarding skill
  • Demonstrate initiative, responsibility & critical thinking skills
  • Attention to detail is extremely important
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Manual dexterity
  • Explain the main ideas or draw accurate conclusions after reading text
  • Follow a complex multi–step procedure independently
  • Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of an author’s argument
  • Evaluate how key words and phrases shape meaning in texts
  • Comprehend written text and apply it to understand tables, charts, and other visuals
  • Learn and apply content–specific symbols, abbreviations, and acronyms correctly
  • Apply content–specific vocabulary correctly
  • Identify and explain how different ideas connect throughout text
  • Read and understand diagnostic and medical data to solve a problem
  • Compare & contrast information in a text
  • Summarize information from different written resources
  • By the end of grades 9–10 & 11–12 read & comprehend technical texts independently & proficiently
  • Evaluate the hypotheses, date, analysis & conclusions in a technical text
  • Textbook: Modern Dental Assisting, Twelfth Edition, Average grade reading level: 15.4
  • Textbook: Dental Radiography, Average grade reading level: 18.26
  • Write with a sharp, distinct focus identifying topic, task, and audience
  • Develop and analyze a topic with relevant, well–chosen, and sufficient facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic
  • Use precise language, domain–specific vocabulary, and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of a topic
  • Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone
  • Produce clear & coherent writing
  • Distinguish the viewpoint(s) from alternate or opposing viewpoints; develop claim(s) fairly, supplying evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both
  • Develop and strengthen writing by brainstorming, revising, editing & rewriting
  • Write with awareness to audience using program–specific vocabulary
  • Clearly convey with precision step–by–step work completed
  • Write fast–paced, accurate medical/dental reports
  • Use technology to produce, publish or share writing
Math Levels

    Numbers and Operations:

  • Grade 6 – Fluency in operations with whole numbers and decimals
  • Grade 6 – Representing negative values
  • Grade 7 – Percent and ratio problems
  • Algebra 1 – Problem solving with real world units, including conversions
  • Measurement:

  • NG – Units: Metric Precision: Nearest mm
  • Data and Probability:

  • Algebra 1 – Interpret data on various displays – use to make predictions
Theory Time
  • 1.5 hours/day
  • Homework
Lab Time
  • 4 hours/week
  • One theory test per week
  • One clinical test per week
  • Industry Certifications
    • OSHA 10
    • CPR/AED
    • PA Radiology Certification
    • Blood Borne Pathogens Certification
    • Infection Control Certification
    • Prepare to obtain Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)/Dental Assisting National Board Certification
  • NOCTI (mandatory for all CTE programs)
POS Academics and Electives Recommended
  • College Prep English & Math are a component of the DCTS program
Study & Other Skills
  • Excellent note taking & listening skills
Technology Skills/Knowledge
  • Navigate and use school–issued laptop
  • Web navigation
  • Email management
  • Perform basic computer applications including spreadsheets, presentations, and publishing
  • Navigate and use electronic medical databases
  • Navigate learning management system and instructional technology tools
  • Video conferencing
Certifications Offered
  • OSHA 10
  • PA Radiology Certification
  • Blood Borne Pathogens Certification
  • Infection Control Certification
  • Prepare to obtain Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)/Dental Assisting National Board Certification
Post–Secondary Options and Continuing Ed
  • Employment at a Dental Office
  • Post–secondary Dental Assistant Certificate
  • Assoc. Health Science Dental Hygiene
  • B.S. and graduate to become a licensed dentist